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The mother of all driving problems

The mother of all driving problems

The mother of all driving problems “My mother-in-law has come round to our house at Christmas seven years running. This year we’re having a change. We’re going to let her in.”

Times have certainly changed since Les Dawson cracked jokes like the one above about that perennial object of fun, the mother-in-law. However, the concept that the mother-in-law is still causing problems for sons- and daughters-in-law has now crept into the world of insurance.

That’s because new research has been published by Direct Line today showing that more than a quarter of drivers have been distracted by their mother-in-law when driving.

The research suggests that tensions can run high when a mother-in-law is in the car with just over one in ten (11%) drivers reporting that they have been personally criticised by their mother-in-law while at the wheel. Indeed more than one in ten (11%) mothers-in-law refuse to be driven by their child’s partner and a further 10% have even experienced their mother-in-law demanding to switch places so they could take over and drive.

It seems that mothers-in-law feel they have licence to criticise their son or daughter-in-law’s driving with over a fifth (23%) reporting that their mother-in-law had commented on their driving being too fast. When in the car, they also take the opportunity to vent their feelings about their family. Drivers have had to sit through criticism of their father-in-law (20%) and even their own partner (15%). 

The in-car criticism comes despite the fact millions of drivers go out of their way to help their mother-in-law by acting as a chauffeur. More than a third (35%) of drivers who travel with their mothers-in-law have driven to help out and more than a quarter (26%) have driven out of their way just to please her. 

Of course behind it all is a serious message with the insurer reminding drivers who are struggling to concentrate to stop or continue the conversation at the end of a journey – or risk an accident that causes their insurance premiums to rise.

So if in doubt, just smile, nod and assume you’re wrong at all times.


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