Your SlideShare is downloading. ×
Allianz Your Cover - The Secret Lives of Cars
Upcoming SlideShare
Loading in...5
×

Thanks for flagging this SlideShare!

Oops! An error has occurred.

×
Saving this for later? Get the SlideShare app to save on your phone or tablet. Read anywhere, anytime – even offline.
Text the download link to your phone
Standard text messaging rates apply

Allianz Your Cover - The Secret Lives of Cars

207

Published on

Want to plan your next holiday? Analyse your work colleagues? Find out who is part of your child’s social …

Want to plan your next holiday? Analyse your work colleagues? Find out who is part of your child’s social
influence network or decide what to buy grannie for Christmas? Then pick up your car keys and go for a
drive! In a recent Secret Lives of Cars poll by Allianz Your Cover Insurance, drivers revealed what they talk
about in their cars. With over half of family leisure car journeys taking more than an hour, there is a lot
of time which could potentially lead to useful conversations. Given the stresses of modern day living and
the pressure on ‘free’ time, the car offers a productive alternative environment to catch up with our loved
ones.
This report combines the Secret Lives of Cars poll with findings from in-depth semi-structured interviews
carried out by psychologists with over 40 families from around the UK. It focuses on the psychological
use, engagement and function of conversations held whilst on a car journey.

Published in: Sports, Business
0 Comments
0 Likes
Statistics
Notes
  • Be the first to comment

  • Be the first to like this

No Downloads
Views
Total Views
207
On Slideshare
0
From Embeds
0
Number of Embeds
1
Actions
Shares
0
Downloads
2
Comments
0
Likes
0
Embeds 0
No embeds

Report content
Flagged as inappropriate Flag as inappropriate
Flag as inappropriate

Select your reason for flagging this presentation as inappropriate.

Cancel
No notes for slide

Transcript

  • 1. EET TSH AC YF FAM IL IVES TL S R EC A S RETHE F C O
  • 2. INTRODUCTIONWant to plan your next holiday? Analyse your work colleagues? Find out who is part of your child’s socialinfluence network or decide what to buy grannie for Christmas? Then pick up your car keys and go for adrive! In a recent Secret Lives of Cars poll by Allianz Your Cover Insurance, drivers revealed what they talkabout in their cars. With over half of family leisure car journeys taking more than an hour, there is a lotof time which could potentially lead to useful conversations. Given the stresses of modern day living andthe pressure on ‘free’ time, the car offers a productive alternative environment to catch up with our lovedones.This report combines the Secret Lives of Cars poll with findings from in-depth semi-structured interviewscarried out by psychologists with over 40 families from around the UK. It focuses on the psychologicaluse, engagement and function of conversations held whilst on a car journey.CARS CREATE A POSITIVECOMMUNICATION ENVIRONMENTCars, and the journeys we undertake in them, are conducive to positive communication. The car journeyitself is an informal, comfortable and secure environment to converse with those closest to us and exploreand express ourselves. For example, when asked why some topics are easier to talk about in the car morethan one in three people in the survey admitted it was the more informal setting of the car environment. Whatwe say in the car is usually safe from prying ears, so remains slightly more psychologically confidential asa result. Psychologically the conversation stays in the confines of the car. When you open the door youopen the conversation, you shut the door and the conversation stays inside. For example one in threedrivers reported that they regularly discussed their outgoings whilst on journeys in the car.“When I think about it it’s quite weird really - I tend “We regularly discuss the family’s spending into gossip about things we’ve talked about at home the car” admitted one parent (mum of three fromor in the office but conversations I have had in the Cambridge) who was interviewed, “it’s the onlycar seem to stay there. Funny Now I think about it time my husband and I can be sure that smallI don’t know why I do that.” Stated one driver ears are not wiggling and that we get some(female, single, from Manchester) interviewed private focused discussion on the matter”.as part of the follow up focus group.The car journey lends itself nicely as a timeframe for conversation. Every journey has a beginning, middleand end and research has shown that people map their conversations to progress in the car. A longercar journey might lend itself to more ‘open’ conversations that might consider lots of information andviewpoints. For example, planning family holidays would lend itself nicely to this and the survey showedover 60% of families admit to planning their leisure trips whilst driving. Shorter car trips might encourageus to get to the point or come to a decision more quickly and be more focused. For example the surveyfound that one in three drivers planned their gift buying whilst driving.
  • 3. CARS CAN “I had a health scare recently – but felt so much better talking about it to my friend in the car. It just felt right to do it there – it felt private and safe” OFFER offered another driver interviewed (female, married two children from PRIVACY London). In this sense the car resembles something of a confessional, or a doctor’s office on wheels! For example younger children sit in the back seat, removed from the parent (confessor) by the barrier of a seat, and a head rest. However certain intimacy, with distance, is still ensured by logistics and geometry. The driver-parent in return is limited in the number of embarrassing visual or parental gestures that they can make. They also will probably avoid confrontational speeches as it is too distracting to their driving. The child is somewhat psychologically comforted by the feeling that they are ‘talking’ to a person who is there physically, but not entirely present. The other huge advantage car conversations offer children is that parents can’t hug awkwardly or give a painful judgemental parental stare!“If I’m worried about something I’ll usually tell mum or “There are just some things I can say to thedad in the car – there are some things I just don’t want back of my mum’s head that I can’t say toeveryone else to know about” stated one boy from her face to face” another male child fromLondon in the focus group. Devon offered.“I told my dad about my first boyfriend on the “If I had problems with friends or bullying then I’d ratherway to school – that way it was short and tell my parents in the car – there is something lesssweet and he had little time for advice and confrontational about doing it there. If its advice aboutembarrassing speeches!” revealed another homework etc then that’s better for indoors” admitted agirl from Nottingham in the study. teenager from London. CARS ENCOURAGE LESS EMOTIONALLY CHARGED SAFER’ TALKING ‘ Car journeys also provide an environment that suits non-confrontational conversations. Driver and passenger are sitting side by side. Psychologically, sitting next to someone is disarming as from a non-verbal point of view it suggests ‘we are on the same team’. Unlike in other non-confined environments, such as the home, conversationalists are not ‘faced against one another’, a non-verbal stance that promotes conflict and confrontation. Indeed nearly 50% of the drivers in the study admitted that they hold conversations in the car rather than at home due to ‘lack of eye contact’. The position of the driver and passenger would then encourage them not to engage in emotive conversations. The fact that the passenger is also helping the driver with directions and spotting potential risks also suggests harmony rather than competition. These unconscious signals are important in guiding what people talk about. This is supported by the fortunate (!) statistic that the survey found that under one in 10 drivers had used a car journey to break up with someone and that one in three admitted they would never discuss their relationships with their partners whilst in the car.
  • 4. “The shouting happens at home – there is no real effect of shouting at someone who isn’t even looking at you!” admitted one married female driver from London. “We just don’t do heavy conversations in the car “Funnily enough we tend to have our more – we don’t earn enough money to keep getting the productive conversations in the car” said car repaired!” said another married female driver one male in a long term relationship from from London. Hertfordshire “we leave the adrenalin fuelled stuff for when we can face one another indoors!”. SAFETY FIRSTAnother advantage of car conversations between fellow passengers is that they are far safer thanconversations over a hands-free in-car phone. Scientific research has clearly indicated that passengerconversations differ from in-car mobile phone conversations and require less cognitive input. “As a driver I do notice that I tend to dictate the topics of conversations in the car. Some topics require a lot of attention and that wouldn’t be so good when I’m trying to navigate this heavy moving object!” confessed one driver who was a mum of three from Kent.Psychologically this is because the surroundingtraffic not only becomes a topic of the conversation,helping driver and passenger to share situationawareness, but the driving condition also has a “Talk about holidays or what we might bedirect influence on the complexity of the conversation. doing over the weekend is good – it keepsIn other words passenger and driver are selective me alert, allows me to engage in someabout what topics of conversation they hold in the family planning but also lets me focus on thecar as they know the driver needs most of his/her driving. Politics, what I think of my boss andattention to drive safely! mother in law are definitely off limits!” offered one male interviewee from London. SUMMARYOverall this report suggests that car journeys can be a place where useful conversations are held. The pollfindings clearly indicate that drivers utilise their car journeys positively for useful communication. They aregenerally conscious of the topics that are acceptable/permissible for such trips and so aware of safetyissues. It would also seem that car journeys might actually suit certain discussions better. Certainly thefamilies and children interviewed seem to suggest that car conversations are less psychologically charged,due to concerns of driver distraction etc. For parents car journeys also offer an environment that doesn’thold too many other distractions for kids – there are usually no TV or no toys, so chats can be morefocused and less threatening for the parent/child interaction.The emotionally safe environment allows couples to discuss elements of their relationships calmly andeffectively. Any environment that encourages people to talk safely is good from a psychological perspective– it acts as a useful verbal venting system as well as building up our social bonds with who took part inthe survey said that conversations held during car trips brought their families closer together. Scientificevidence strongly suggests that these things can act as buffers to the negative effects of stress on ourpsychological and physiological wellbeing.
  • 5. TOP TIPS FOR HOLDINGCONVERSATIONS IN A CAR,BY DR SIMON MOORE PRINCIPLECHARTERED PSYCHOLOGIST, LONDONMETROPOLITAN UNIVERSITY 1 Think carefully about the issue that needs discussing and make sure you have the time to Try to match the pattern of your conversation do it justice within the confines of the length of with that of the journey – so that the beginning, the car journey. middle and end match that of where you are 2 driving to. 3 4 Car journeys are a great way of trying to improve your speaking ability. Get the driver to choose a topic and the passenger has to speak on that topic up until a defined point on the route. This Car journeys are also a good way to improve is an especially good way to get children confident in your listening skills. Many people think that they opening up and speaking in front of people e.g. you have to be able to be good at talking to be a good have to talk on ‘what do you like about our family’ until communicator, but you also need to be able to we pass the next petrol station. listen. You can learn as much about yourself just by listening, and this is a good safe exercise for 5 the driver.6 If the conversation starts to get heated there are a number of ways to diffuse awkward moments. Suggesting a break for coffee or a snack, Play fair! It’s not really good form to raise a topic of lightening the mood with a quick game of eye conversation that you know the driver can’t fully engage in. spy or changing the topic and agreeing to talk While the conversation might go your way – it will just create in more depth once you are out of the car may resentment and bad filling that will come back to haunt you all help. Pre-load your car’s music system with when the driver finishes driving! your partner’s favourite tracks and hit play if the conversation becomes too heavy! 7 If a conversation can’t be resolved during the course of the journey, suggest putting it to one side and continuing the discussion later when everyone has had more time to think. Remember that emotional conversations do not suit car journeys – they are too distracting.
  • 6. Research methodology and authorA research report was undertaken by Dr, Simon Moore, CPsychol AFBPsS of London Metropolitan University in September 2012. The researchteam spoke to 45 families from across the UK about their attitudes to conversations in the car. This was incorporated into the report with a surveyof 1000 UK car drivers which was carried out in August 2012 by 72 Point on behalf of Allianz Your Cover Insurance.Families were recruited via a combination of social network resources and opportunistic face to face recruitment. Interviews were either held over thephone (with conference call facilities) or face to face within the family home. All participants were informed that their responses would be anonymousand confidential and that they could withdraw their input from the research at any point. A set of semi structured questions that focused on generaldriving behaviour were asked to initially encourage families to start to think and discuss what they did on car journeys. The questions became morefocused as the interviews progressed. Families were interviewed together and random members of the family group were also interviewed alone (consentwas obtained by parents for the interviews with children). Thematic analysis was applied to the interview output in an attempt to identify the main themesemerging from the narratives.Dr Simon Moore is a Chartered Psychologist who is an official media spokesperson for the British Psychological Society. Dr Moore has over 15 yearsapplied research experience and has worked with such companies as Bupa, Sony, Universal Film Studios etc. He specialises in personality, emotionand human communication and has published books and journal articles as well as presented at International Psychology conferences.

×