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easyCar reveal UK children suffer Backseat Brawl Syndrome


easyCar reveal that as 1.3 million* Brits are planning a family driving holiday this year, a new phenomenon, ‘Backseat Brawl Syndrome’ (BBS), is identified.

Research by car hire company reveals children last an average of just three hours and 15 minutes into a car journey before bickering begins and BBS kicks in with 12% failing to reach the 60 minute mark.

Backseat bickering aside, the ideal length of time for a driving holiday abroad has been identified as just over four days (4.25 days) before the arguments begin in earnest.

Although opinion is divided: while 29% admit they manage less than three days on the road before tempers start to fray, a jolly third (34%) never argue when on holiday.

Many recognise the benefits of cars over other forms of transport. Far and away the most preferred mode of transport for convenience, close to two thirds (64%) prefer the car over planes (21%) and trains (5%).

Road trips also rate high with UK families for safety with close to a fifth (17%) of easyCar respondents rating cars the safest way to travel, topping both trains (16%) and ferries (4%).

And for those wanting to keep a lid on squabbling siblings, 69% rate the car the least embarrassing way to travel – far more than the open quarters of a plane (7%), ferry (3%) or train (3%).

Bill Jones, CEO of, said: “Driving abroad shouldn’t be treated as just a way of getting from A to B, if you make each journey fun and interesting it becomes one of the most memorable parts of the holiday. Simple things like pointing out scenery, looking for landmarks or playing classic car games can make the trip enjoyable – and will keep BBS at bay.”

UK families have voted and the best game to keep children entertained is the classic I-Spy (favoured by 30%). Also popular is the number plate game (10%) followed closely by the perennial red car, blue car, yellow car (9%).

According to the findings, Lancashire families are the least able to keep the peace en route with one in three (36%) admitting they can’t last more than three days followed by holidaymakers from East Anglia (33%) and Yorkshire (32%).


Notes to Editors
All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 2062 UK adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 6-9th June 2008. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all UK adults (aged 18+).

* Figure based on assumption that there are over 11,112,749 UK adults with dependent children (ref Office of Statistics, parents aged 16-74 with dependent children, 2001), and 12% of the sample expressed plans to drive abroad.

About car rental was launched in April 2000 by Stelios, founder of and Chairman of the easyGroup. easyCar is now one of the leading international car rental brokers with a worldwide network of more than 2,400 car hire locations in over 60 countries, including the UK, USA, Australia and many countries within Europe, Africa and South America. easyCar offers a wide range of vehicles from super-mini and compact cars to MPV’s and luxury cars. In the UK, easyCar also offers Van Hire under the Brand.


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