Yorkshire Times
Weekend Edition
12:00 AM 29th June 2024

Nearly Half Of UK Drivers Admit They Feel Anxious When On The Roads


For many people, driving is a significant source of anxiety, transforming a routine activity into a stressful experience. Whether it’s navigating busy highways, dealing with unexpected road conditions, or the fear of losing control, driving anxiety can severely impact daily life.

The research from car warranty provider ALA Insurance sheds light on the emotions experienced behind the wheel, and encourages Brits to seek anxiety reducing tactics to ensure they feel more confident, and calmer when driving.

Driving Anxiety in the UK

As part of the research the company surveyed 2,000 UK drivers to understand how motorists feel on the road. The study revealed that nearly half of UK drivers (44%) admit to feeling stressed or anxious when driving regularly.

The research found that women are more likely to feel stressed (49%) in comparison to men (39%) when driving. Likewise, younger drivers (18-24 years old) report the highest stress levels at 59%, while stress decreases with age, dropping to 38% for those 65 and over.

When analysing driving stress levels across the UK, it appears Manchester holds the most anxious drivers, where over half (53%) admit they feel stressed when on the road. In comparison, Edinburgh has the most confident drivers, as 72% said they never feel anxious when it comes to driving.

Which UK city has the most anxious drivers?
UK city% that said they feel  stressed when driving
Manchester 53%
Birmingham 52%
Newcastle 50%
London 47%
Norwich 44%
Nottingham 44%
Leeds 40%
Cardiff 40%
Southampton 37%
Glasgow 35%
Bristol 33%
Liverpool 32%
Edinburgh 28%

Finding the Least Stressful Roads

Choosing the right road can make a significant difference in reducing driving anxiety. As part of the research, ALA Insurance identified the least stressful roads in the UK by analysing 30 of the country’s largest and most popular motorways and A-roads, and scored them according to the following factors:

% satisfaction with road surfaces
% satisfaction in terms of feeling safe
Roadworks and delay alerts in the previous week (per 10km)
No. of service stations per 10km

The research identified the A303 as the least stressful road in the UK, followed by the A45 and the M40. Key factors in this ranking included surface quality, safety perceptions, and the presence of roadworks and service stations.

Top 10 Least Stressful Roads in the UK:

1. A303

2. A45

3. M40

4. A30

5. A19

6. M4

7. M5

8. A46

9. A38

10. A14

Tips For Reducing Anxiety When On The Road

Here are ALA’s top tips for staying stress free when on the road to support calmer more confident driving.

Listen to Calming Music

Music can be a powerful tool for reducing driving anxiety. Research suggests that music with a tempo of around 60 beats per minute can create a calming effect. ALA Insurance has curated a calming driving playlist on Spotify, featuring soothing tracks to help drivers stay relaxed on the road.

Practical Tips for a Stress-Free Journey

Preparation is key to minimising driving anxiety, which is why the company has provided a calmer driving checklist:

Comfort is key: Make any seating adjustments before setting off on your journey to make sure you are as comfortable as possible.

Ditch the layers: Remove any heavy restricting coats, jackets or jumpers before setting off on your journey.

Soundtrack for success: Plug in your favourite playlist of calming tunes, or a lighthearted podcast.

Plan for peace: Allow plenty of time for your journey, and plan ahead, researching any traffic delays or roadworks.

Tidy car, tidy mind: Keep your car clean and tidy on the inside to help you feel more at ease.

Breathe Easy: When facing stressful situations, take deep breaths in through your nose and out through your mouth, counting to five with each breath.

For more information, see the full guide to calmer driving