When your car drives itself, what will you do with the extra time?

  • Driverless cars could save Brits 13 days (13.4 days) a year on average
  • Brits are most likely to use the extra time reading (29 per cent), sleeping (21 per cent) and catching up on social media (21 per cent)
  • A third of drivers (35 per cent) would welcome the introduction of driverless cars

New research from Direct Line Car Insurance1 reveals how much time Brits could save if their car drove itself and no interaction from the human passenger was required. People currently spend an average of 13 days a year driving and as much as two years (2.1 years) during their lifetime2 behind the wheel. With travelling to see friends and family (81 per cent), going on days out (71 per cent), commuting (52 per cent) and doing the school run (18 per cent) being some of the main journeys made.

The survey asked Brits how they would spend their time in a driverless car, if they didn’t need to keep their eyes on the road or their hands on the wheel. The most common response was that they would take the time to read more (29 per cent). Others would take advantage of the extra time to get some more sleep (21 per cent), catch up on social media (21 per cent) and watch television (16 per cent). Parents on the school run would pay more attention to their family whilst travelling together (34 per cent) whilst commuters would take the opportunity to get on with some extra work (20 per cent).

Table one: How Brits would spend the extra time that would replace driving if using an autonomous vehicle

  How Brits would spend the extra time that would replace driving if using an autonomous vehicle (%)
Read 29%
Sleep 21%
Catch up on social media 21%
Pay more attention to family when travelling together 21%
Work 17%
Watch TV 16%
Do make-up 7%
Learn a language 6%
Other 9%

Source: Direct Line Car Insurance 2016

Men are more likely to use the extra time sleeping (24 per cent vs. 18 per cent of women) and catching up on their favourite TV programme (18 per cent vs. 14 per cent of women). While one in ten women (12 per cent) would use those extra moments to do their makeup.

The technology which enables cars to drive themselves is already here but how long it will be before legislative and other necessary changes are made to enable drivers to permanently take their hands off the wheel, remains to be seen. However, as far as the general public is concerned, on average, they believe that it will be 11 years before autonomous vehicles are seen navigating the UK’s roads.

Dan Freedman, director of motor development at Direct Line commented: “Driverless cars will not only give people the freedom to use their time more efficiently and enable them to do the things they’d rather do, but most importantly, they will reduce road accidents and emissions, both of which would have a significant impact on the nation’s quality of life.”

Freedman continues: “Some new cars rolling off the production line already have elements of driverless technology installed, allowing the car to take control of parking, steer drifting drivers back into the correct lane and apply the brakes on the driver’s behalf when a collision is imminent. With the technology essentially here, it may not be as long as some think until we see driverless cars on the roads.”

Notes to editor

1Research conducted by Opinium 18 – 21 October 2016 amongst a representative sample size of 2,004 UK adults.

2Calculation – hours spent driving each week x 52 weeks x 58 years

For further information please contact:

Direct Line

Started in 1985, Direct Line became the first UK insurance company to use the telephone as its main channel of communication. It provides motor, home, travel and pet insurance cover direct to customers by phone or on‐line.

Direct Line general insurance policies are underwritten by U K Insurance Limited, Registered office: The Wharf, Neville Street, Leeds LS1 4AZ. Registered in England and Wales No 1179980. U K Insurance Limited is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority.

Direct Line and UK Insurance limited are both part of Direct Line Insurance Group plc.

Customers can find out more about Direct Line products or get a quote by calling 0345 246 3761 or visiting www.directline.com

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