• DIY only thing, besides driving, male drivers think about more than female drivers
  • Millennials most distracted by their own thoughts when driving
  • Women more likely than men to think about childcare, work and life admin behind the wheel

Life admin, DIY, the future, money and meal planning are all piling a mental load on the UK’s drivers as new AA research* reveals what they really think about behind the wheel.

A third (30%) of drivers said they only think about driving and navigation when they are behind the wheel. Amongst millennials, this fell to just 14 per cent of 18-24-year-olds and 11 per cent of 25-34-year-olds. The over-65’s were the best at keeping their concentration with 45 per cent saying they only think about driving and navigation.

There was also a marked difference in the things that play on men and women’s minds when driving. Overall, the only thing, except driving, that plays on male drivers’ minds more than women’s is DIY. Women are more than twice as likely as men to think about meal planning and twice as likely to think about childcare arrangements when driving.

Which of the following, if any, do you regularly think about when driving?

All Men Women
Arriving on time 49% 45% 57%
Work 34% 31% 39%
Planning for the future 25% 23% 28%
Money 22% 21% 24%
Life admin 22% 19% 28%
Your social life 22% 21% 22%
Relationships 18% 17% 22%
Meal planning 17% 11% 27%
Car admin 13% 13% 13%
DIY 13% 15% 9%
Breaking down 12% 11% 13%
Your child (ren’s) social life 9% 8% 12%
Housework 7% 4% 13%
Childcare arrangements 4% 3% 6%
Other 5% 5% 6%
I only think about driving 30% 34% 21%


Londoners are most likely to think about arriving on time (52%), Welsh drivers are the most likely to think about future planning (27%) and those in the West Midlands are most preoccupied with money (25%).

The latest Government statistics show that in-car distraction contributed to 79 fatal crashes, distraction outside the car contributed to 13 fatal accidents and drivers distracted by their mobile phone contributed to 44 fatal accidents.**

The AA Charitable Trust has run high-profile campaigns highlighting the dangers of mobile phones distracting drivers. The campaigns included the award-winning Designated Driver video and a student-made video, Cadence.

Edmund King, Director of the AA Charitable Trust, said: “The AA Trust has run some hard-hitting campaigns in recent years highlighting the dangers of distracted driving through mobile phone use.

“But, while we can all make ourselves more aware of steps to take to minimise certain distractions, like putting mobile phones in the glove box, it is harder to switch our minds off day-to-day worries like childcare or work.

“So long as your thoughts aren’t so demanding that they overwhelm your ability to concentrate on the road then there is nothing wrong with a bit of thinking time in the car.

“Drivers can give themselves the best possible chance of keeping their concentration by making sure they are well-rested before they start a journey and take appropriate breaks on longer journeys.”

The AA has a handy video on its website highlighting steps drivers can take to keep their mind focused on the road: www.theaa.com/driving-advice/safety/driver-distractions