Mom and Dad argue over maps and directions, play i-spy-style car games with the kids, and use wire hangers as spare antennas. This belongs to a bygone age of driving, according to a survey published today.
Research for Top Gear on family car driving over the past 40 years shows a seismic shift between generations and identifies the in-car travel experiences that could soon be recorded in the history books.
Setting up the car stereo, recording trailers and the plaintive screams “Are we there yet?” From listless children are also driving experiences that younger generations are unlikely to encounter.
The survey of 2,000 British adults aged 40 and over was commissioned by BBC Studios to mark the beginning of 30 years th Series of the flagship BBC One auto entertainment show Top Gear on Sunday March 14th.
At the start of the series, presenters Paddy McGuinness, Freddie Flintoff and Chris Harris drive their old family cars and remember their childhood memories of driving.
The Ten Best Family Car Travel Experiences Lost In History:
- Development of maps and arguments between parents about directions (54%)
- A CD or tape in the car that you had to listen to every time you went on a drive (53%)
- Plan routes in advance (39%)
- Use of a clothes hanger as a radio antenna (39%)
- Use of the cigarette lighter for the originally intended purpose (35%)
- Endless voting to get a radio signal (34%)
- Classic “in-car” games like “I Spy” (34%)
- Pick up hitchhikers (30%)
- The collective call “Are we there yet?” (24%)
- His and hers windshield stickers (sun protection strips) (23%)
Past experiences that just missed a top 10 position included changing their own spare tire (23%), discovering local radio stations recorded while driving through a hilly region (19%), and spending their free time drive for families on Sunday ‘(19%).
The survey also found that the countless hours spent driving a car in childhood are vivid and cherished family memories for the vast majority (68%) of UK adults.
They have also been named the most memorable “motor memories” of a bygone era (67%) in car games like I Spy and imaginative road sign recognition checklists, and although this may have been their parents’ worst nightmare, it has become the rally cry of “Are we there yet?” still has a place in Britain’s heart. Over half of respondents (56%) said this was one of their most vivid memories of family road trips.
Conversely, arguments between parents over directions (44%), endless searches for radio stations (43%), and arguments about which radio station to listen to (37%) are the experiences we miss the least.
Paddy McGuinness said, “Children now will never experience the joys of A to Z or the games of eye spy in a very warm car. It was great to go back in time for the new series in our old family cars. One thing we all remembered with great fondness was the warm conversations we had with our parents on those long car trips when we were growing up. “
The study, which was initiated before Mother’s Day, shows that more than half of us find it easier to have deep and meaningful conversations with family while driving. 53% of the respondents remember unforgettable heart-to-heart conversations with their mothers on the road, while 47% also dealt in depth with their fathers in the car. Six in ten respondents said they bonded most with their parents while chatting in the car.
Clare Pizey, Executive Producer of Top Gear, said, “As this new survey seems to prove, long car journeys used to be not always very comfortable – or indeed safe, as many of us didn’t have rear seat belts – what they had was a lot Family chats and games that brought back precious memories. Fred, Chris, and Paddy certainly felt like they were going back in time when they recently drove their fathers’ cars, and they all remembered just being very loving in the car with their parents. “
Further results showed that 59% of Britons identify satellite navigation aids as the number one modern technology they would not want to live without, followed by hi-tech entertainment systems (12%) and sophisticated security features (8%).
The new four-episode series of Top Gear, produced by BBC Studios, returns to screens this Sunday March 14th and will feature: A presentation team in titanium shoes driven by The Stig with their cars about a Scottish runway being pulled; a tribute to the most famous and least known Bond cars; Freddie drives against a jetpack man in the battery-powered Offroad-Extreme E; and a “Mid-Life Crisis Cars” episode featuring bikes, lycra and jet skis.
Top Gear launches this Sunday March 14th at 8pm on BBC One and BBC iPlayer