Being stuck in traffic is more stressful than a dentist appointment

Would you rather have a dreaded filling at the dentist or be trapped in your car for hours, crawling slowly down the motorway after a long day? It’s a tough choice.

Sitting in traffic on the M6 is more stressful than going to the dentist or on a first date, according to new research carried out by Virgin Trains alongside former Big Brother psychologist Professor Geoff Beattie.

Data from traffic analytics specialist INRIX shows that drivers can spend up to 17 hours a year (ouch) on the M6 stretch between Wolverhampton and Birmingham, causing frustration levels to be at an all-time high for motorists who use the road frequently.

Roadworks are also set to take place on the M6 over the next few years, so congestion problems will only continue to rise on this route.

When asked what innovations they would like to see to help ease traffic jam stress, 43% of drivers believe that roadside toilets would ease their stress and a third (32%) wish they had a traffic viewing periscope so they could assess the jam ahead.

And if you’re incredibly grumpy when you reach your destination, it’s because the impact of car travel stress can last for up to 2-3 hours in a day.

The biggest things that impact commuters’ state of mind are car travel being a restless affair (53%), they find the experience tiring (50%) and in some cases it makes them angry (37%).

Traffic can also affect commuters physically, with almost a third (32%) reporting headaches.

Instead of driving, people say they would rather spend time stuck in traffic either watching the TV or catching up on their emails.

Professor Geoff Beattie explains: “This research by Virgin Trains seems to show that travelling by car is sometimes a chore to be endured rather than enjoyed.

“Over half the drivers surveyed report that a stressful journey can impact their whole day with feelings of frustration, anger and even headaches.”

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