Drivers miss out on views and precious memories as they’re too busy focusing on their sat navs, survey reveals

MILLIONS of drivers miss out on views and memories of trips as they focus on sat navs, traffic and avoiding roadworks.

A poll of 2,000 motorists revealed 72 per cent have turned up to their desired location with no real recollection of the route they took. 


Motorist using their iPhone as a sat-navCredit: Getty
Unforgettable routes for motorists in the UK


Unforgettable routes for motorists in the UK

Other common distractions include worrying about how much fuel is left, engine noise and talking to passengers.

It also emerged 26 per cent of motorists don’t pay as much attention to their surroundings when driving as they should, and often miss the scenery they’re driving past.

For 44 per cent, taking breaks is a sure-fire way to help them focus on driving and the journey more.

While others rely on planning or being familiar with the route and even making sure they’re well rested and fed beforehand.

Cognitive scientist, Dr Martha Newson, who has partnered with Hyundai, which commissioned the research, 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.”


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

The study found 34 per cent of those polled are more likely to remember a car journey when travelling with others – as opposed to being alone.

A third said the most prominent memory from previous driving trips in the past is who they travelled with, while the same number said the amazing views (33 per cent).

These came ahead of passing famous landmarks (30 per cent) and the destination itself (29 per cent).

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 per cent) and the sound of the sea (16 per cent).

It also emerged 21 per cent feel driving an electric car would make a road trip more memorable, as 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 think they add to memory making with no changing gear and a nicer driving experience.

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.


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

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

Just 28 per cent will pull in for a rest at scenic viewpoints, and 26 per cent will stop off at a nice café.

The research, conducted via OnePoll, also revealed coastal roads, mountain views and good weather are among the things motorists believe make a memorable car journey.

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

Using the top 20 things that make a car journey memorable, according to motorists, Hyundai has curated the top 10 most memorable drives in the UK for the nation to enjoy this summer.

A spokesperson for Hyundai Motor UK, which commissioned the research to encourage drivers to consider switching to an electric vehicle to help aid making memories on the road, said: “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.”


1. 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 per cent 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.

2. 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.

3. 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.

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