Millions of drivers get distracted and miss out on views and memories of trips

Research polling 2,000 motorists revealed 72 per cent have been known to turn up to their desired location with no real recollection of the route they took.

Research polling 2,000 motorists revealed 72 per cent have been known to turn up to their desired location with no real recollection of the route they took.

When it comes to making memories, worrying about how much fuel is left, engine noise and talking to passengers are revealed as other common distractions.

The research revealed one in four (26 per cent) motorists don’t pay as much attention to their surroundings when driving as they should - rarely taking time to notice the scenery they’re driving past.

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    The study also found 44 per cent agreed taking breaks is a sure-fire way to help you focus on driving and the journey more.

    Other ways are planning the route, or being familiar with it at least, talking to passengers and even making sure you’re well rested and fed beforehand.

    Which explains why 21 per cent feel driving an electric car would make a road trip more memorable.

    Because planning the route enables drivers to take a break and not only charge the car but refresh ahead of the next leg of the journey.

    Others agreed an electric car adds benefit to any potential road trip and memory making, with no changing gear and a nicer driving experience.

    Memories shape us

    Cognitive scientist, Dr Martha Newson, who partnered with Hyundai which commissioned the research as part of a new campaign said: “Part of what holds us together as families, communities or society are the memories that shape us and being able to reflect on our most defining experiences together.

    After years of lockdowns, the UK is making up for what feels like lost time. We have a deep need for memory making, reflected in the fact that 22 per cent of respondents shared that they want to be more present in the moment and make more lasting memories during their journeys – it’s not about getting from A to B but really experiencing what the journey has to offer in all its glory.

    These journeys across the UK are part of what is bringing us back together, both physically and psychologically.”

    It also emerged 34 per cent are more likely to remember a car journey when travelling with others – as opposed to being alone.

    With a third (33 per cent) also stating the most prominent memory from previous driving trips in the past have been who they have travelled with, beating amazing views (33 per cent), passing famous landmarks (30 per cent) and the destination itself (29 per cent).

    Making memorable journeys

    However, when asked about what sounds are most associated with a road trip, the sound of the engine (38 per cent) surprisingly beat the radio or podcasts (36%) and the sound of the sea (16%).

    Motorists are happy to sail along for just shy of two hours and 40 minutes before taking a break, with 69 per cent either planning or making impromptu stops in a bid to make their journey more memorable.

    Toilet breaks are a frequent stopping point for 51 per cent of those polled, with 37 per cent allowing a breather to stretch their legs.

    Whereas just 28 per cent will pull in for a rest up at scenic viewpoints, and one in four (26 per cent) will stop off at a nice café en route.

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    Dr Martha Newson's tips for a memorable journey

    Choose your car snacks wisely

    Opt for higher protein treats like nuts or cheese over sugary snacks or refined carbs, as regular sugar consumption is associated with poorer memory. Dark chocolate at least 70% in cocoa is the exception to this rule because it is rich in flavonoids, which are linked to increased blood supply to parts of the brain associated with memory. Anti-inflammatory foods including fruit, veg sticks, and certain teas are also ideal for optimum cognition, positively influencing neuronal signalling.

    Minimise distractions

    While the playlist might be important, other noises could distract you from remembering the journey itself. Distracting information, such as engine noise or a cluttered car environment, places a burden on our working memory. As the brain is busy processing the distracting information, our performance in other areas must decrease. So, if we want to support our visual memory to process beautiful scenery, it helps to have an uninterrupted journey with distractions minimised.

    Really stretch your legs when you have a rest break

    A brief bout of exercise, whether it’s some deep lunges, running on the spot, or a brief jog along the beach can help improve circulation and the secretion of neuroprotective proteins, associated with the growth and development of neurons. This acute form of exercise primes the molecular processes to encode and consolidate new memories. If you’ve got an electric vehicle that needs its battery recharging, then take this time to recharge your batteries too.

    The research, conducted via OnePoll, also revealed what motorists think makes up a memorable car journey including coastal roads, mountain views and good weather.

    As well as driving near lakes and rivers, passing through quaint villages and cruising through national parks.

    A spokesperson for Hyundai Motor UK who commissioned the research as part of a campaign to encourage Brits to consider switching to an electric vehicle to help aid making memories on the road this summer added: “Driving can either be truly enjoyable, or truly forgettable – it all depends on how you approach it.

    If you’re driving somewhere new this summer, treat it like an adventure and opportunity to see new things, try local restaurants and make new memories and be more present with the people you’re travelling with.”

    A significant fifth say they miss out on making memories on drives due to engine fumes and noise, easily solved by switching to electric. Electric vehicles enable fast charging, maximum driving range and lots of interior space to make the everyday journey as enjoyable as possible.

    Top 20 things that make a car journey memorable, according to motorists

    1. Driving along the coast
    2. Mountain views
    3. Good weather
    4. Driving near lakes and rivers
    5. Quaint villages
    6. Who you travel with
    7. Seeing a significant landmark i.e. Angel of the North
    8. Stopping at viewpoints
    9. Driving through a National Park
    10. Passing colourful fields
    11. Driving through forests
    12. Stopping at a beach
    13. Seeing animals in fields by the road
    14. Finding a country pub for lunch
    15. Driving through hilly areas
    16. Crossing a border i.e. England to Scotland
    17. Going over bridges
    18. Taking A/B roads over the motorway
    19. Hilly roads
    20. The amount of traffic

    Top 14 things that distract motorists from having a more memorable drive

    1. Lots of traffic
    2. Driving a route I’ve driven before/ I’m familiar with
    3. Bad road conditions
    4. Talking to passengers
    5. Following a sat nav/GPS
    6. Listening to the radio/podcast
    7. Trying to avoid roadworks
    8. Singing along to music
    9. Worrying about how much fuel is left
    10. Checking how economically I’m driving on the dashboard
    11. Unusual lane positioning
    12. Driving a manual/ changing gear lots
    13. Noise of the engine
    14. Smell of car fumes