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Sheepish passengers, “emergency ketchup”, children’s teeth and marriage proposals behind the wheel

Sheepish passengers, “emergency ketchup”, children’s teeth and marriage proposals behind the wheel

A sheep on the passenger seat, a driving instructor wearing a crash helmet and a motorist drinking a cup of tea are just a few the unusual sights encountered while driving, according to a new study from Aviva. 

The poll of 4,000 UK adults* including nearly 3,000 drivers, was carried out to support a new Aviva campaign which encourages people to celebrate the pleasantly surprising side of driving. 

Expect the unexpected: from sheepish passengers to naked ambitions 

The phrase “expect the unexpected” seems to be particularly apt while driving, with nine out of 10 drivers encountering unusual sights on the road. 

Nearly a quarter of motorists have seen pets in the driver’s seat (24%), more than a third (35%) have enjoyed watching people singing and dancing in other vehicles, while 6% of drivers claim to have seen naked people at the wheel. 

Other sights reported through the survey include a pig being taken for a walk at the roadside, a woman blow-drying her hair with the fan heater, and a rotary clothes dryer on top of a camper-van – with garments still pegged on it. 

Amongst the more shocking sights spotted were a mobility scooter on a slip-road to a motorway, people driving the wrong way around roundabouts and drivers reversing on motorways when they had missed an exit.

 Cat litter, kettles and cuddly toys (just in case) 

The study also discovered unusual sights can be found inside vehicles as well as out, with many people carrying things as good luck charms or ‘just in case’. 

Such articles include a mini-toilet, emergency sugar and tomato ketchup, cat litter (to deal with snowy roads in winter), a pair of roller skates, a kettle, a toy wombat and a leprechaun. One person even claimed to travel with a selection of their children’s teeth in their car. 

And among the more commonly found unusual items, 11% of drivers keep cutlery in their vehicles, 8% stash a spare toothbrush in their car, and 6% have a change of underwear at the ready. 

More than motoring… 

The study also revealed the majority of motorists use road trips for more than simply getting from A to B. More than a third of drivers (34%) use a journey as a chance to wind down and nearly a quarter (23%) have thought through a difficult decision while driving. 

One in four drivers have taken a job interview in a car (27%), while one in eight (13%) have used a trip as an opportunity to have an awkward conversation with another person in the vehicle. 

A romantic 9% of motorists have told someone they love them while on a car journey, and 4% of drivers have actually popped the question and proposed marriage while on a road trip.  

Nicki Charles, GI UK&I Customer & Marketing Director, Aviva says: “Our study is illuminating in terms of how people use their cars, what they keep in them and even the quirky sights they see while on the roads. It’s clear that so many people cherish their cars and relish their road trips, so we’d encourage drivers and passengers to embrace the unexpected and make the most of their journeys. 

“We’ve discovered some really heart-warming insights regarding the conversations people have in their cars. A journey isn’t always about simply getting from A to B. It can be an opportunity to connect with another person – maybe have a difficult chat you’ve been putting off or say the thing you’ve been wanting to say. And with four per cent of people actually proposing on a car journey, there are some pretty amazing conversations to be had!” 

To find out more about the Aviva campaign, visit: 

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