Is driving ruining your relationship? Here’s how to avoid an argument in the car

DRIVING can be stressful for even the calmest heads, especially with Britain’s frustrating traffic queues.

So it’s no wonder that the car is one of the most likely places for an argument with your significant other.

 The car is one of the most common places for an argument with your partner

Getty – Contributor

The car is one of the most common places for an argument with your partner

According to a study by carwow, around a quarter of Brits will get into a row with their significant other at least once a week while in the car.

And bickering on the road could be affecting relationships on a bigger scale, with around one in eight saying they often go more than a day before speaking to their partner again after a driving dispute.

But there are a few simple steps drivers can follow to make sure their time on the road doesn’t lead to a bust-up with a loved one.

The study took tips from Dr Sandi Mann, Senior Lecturer in Psychology at the University of Central Lancashire, to show drivers how to avoid an argument behind the wheel.

Tips to avoid an argument while out on the road

  1. Understand what sets you or your partner off: If directions are often the reason for arguments, make sure you map out the journey before you go to relieve stress along the way. And leaving discussions about important life elements until you get out of the car can reduce the chance of them becoming a major issue.
  2. Reduce stress: A small confined space like a car will already have people slightly on edge. For a long journey, reduce the chance of additional stress by allowing plenty of time, avoiding traffic hotspots and not cramping up the inside of your motor with excess clutter.
  3. Breathe: Simple calm breaths in the nose and out the mouth can help to diffuse a situtation if you feel an argument brewing.
  4. Music: Relaxing or fun music can instantly change the mood inside the car.
  5. Air con: If you are driving in summer, be sure to keep the car as cool as possible. If it starts to get uncomfortably hot, tempers will also start to rise.
  6. Take a break: Stopping at a services to stretch your legs and grab a coffee can also make everyone feel more relaxed.
 Arguments can erupt over small things like a missed direction or traffic levels

Getty – Contributor

Arguments can erupt over small things like a missed direction or traffic levels

Making sure you understand what frustrates you and your partner while driving is crucial to avoiding trouble on the road.

Minimising stress is also important, by planning out your route before you leave or avoiding traffic hotspots you can keep tensions low.

And simple things like taking deep breaths before you speak, listening to music and turning the air con on can really change the mood inside your car.

Dr Sandi Mann, from the University of Central Lancashire, said: “The triggers for an argument are far more prevalent in driving situations – your partner’s individual habits come to the fore; perhaps in their lack of willingness to ask for directions, their tendency to drive too fast, or aggression towards other drivers.

“And once an argument starts, neither of you can go anywhere until the journey is over.

“The ways to avoid arguing in a car are the same as anywhere else – one side can just stop talking as it’s impossible to argue with yourself.

“Or once you realise a row is brewing, you can take deep breaths and count to 10 before speaking again in an attempt to calm your thoughts.”


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