Is your partner literally driving you crazy? If so, join the club. According to a new survey, the vast majority of people are peeved by how their partner drives or behaves in the car.
The Couples and Cars survey, conducted by NetQuote, found that 65.5 percent of people said they were most aggravated by their partner driving too fast, 55.6 percent called out tailgating as their biggest annoyance, and 55.4 percent noted braking too hard as their primary pet peeve.
"We spend a lot of time in our cars and when that time is with significant others, pet peeves come up," said Cindy Glover, project manager at NetQuote.
The survey polled around 2,000 people across the U.S, ranging from ages 18 to 74, with the only criteria being that you had to be a driver, in a relationship, and regularly on the road with your dearly beloved.
I've told you now
The number one pet peeve, held by 71.4 percent of those surveyed, was feeling that their partner doesn't listen to their suggestions while on the road.
"This pet peeve was felt across the board — by men and women," said Glover, adding that the 52 percent of the respondents identified as female, and 48 percent as male. Less than 10 percent of those who responded were in same-sex relationships.
"Both genders found driving too fast to be troublesome, but women were more likely to be upset with tailgating, men by their [female partner] braking too hard," said Glover.
Turn it up and down
Other major sources of exasperation had nothing to do with driving technique. Almost 54 percent of people said they didn't like the kind of music their partner played, while 45.6 percent complained of music being played too loudly.
People were also frustrated by preference of car temperature (51.4 percent said their partners made the car too cold, while 50.6 percent said they made it too hot). Also upsetting was when a partner filled the car with clutter or trash (43.8 percent), took longer routes, or got lost (51.9 percent).
Marriage and living together apparently only makes couples more irritable in the car.
"When we asked couples if they found road trips together stressful, 37.2 of married couples said 'yes'," noted Glover, adding that 31 percent of unwed couples living together answered yes, as did 30.3 percent of engaged couples.
On one hand the study is meant to be "light and fun," Glover said, but it also looks to factor in safety. The report found that 30.9 percent of women have feared for their life as passengers with their partners behind the wheel, as have 26.7 percent of men; 30.5 percent of women said they've grabbed the safety handle while riding shotgun, compared with 23.4 percent of men.
Bill Van Tassel, manager of Driver Training at AAA, points out that often passengers are more prone to feeling fearful than the driver.
"What may not be a surprise to a driver can come as a surprise to the passenger," said Tassel. "It's a different perspective from the passenger seat. In this case, [for those who claimed they were fearful], there may have been some recent maneuver they experienced that got them pretty scared."
While NetQuote's survey did not consider whether people were voicing or disputing their pet peeves in the car, Tassel speculates that in many cases, people are airing their grievances while in the car, which is a risk in itself.
"'Fighting in the car happens and it absolutely should not," said Tassel. "It's distracting to the driver, takes their mind off the road, and could delay decisions or responses."
While it "seems unnatural to have the conversation after the drive," Tassel said, at home is the best place to have it. And hey, maybe by then you may have cooled down and can actually look at the situation clearly, and save your relationship. Then again, the study found that some people are so annoyed by how their partner drives or acts in the car, they've considered breaking up with them.
The pet peeves seem to stress out Generation Xers the most, with 11.9 percent of this demographic stating they've had a argument about driving that was so bad it threatened their relationship. This group is followed by baby boomers (11 percent), younger millennials (9.9 percent), and then older millennials (8.4 percent).
"Whomever is receiving the [negative] input should take the emotion out of it and think it through in the longer term," advised Tassel. "Think of it this way: Any habit, like tailgating, can be changed, even if it takes a few months. If you can change it, it's probably worth it."
Tassel also reminds couples that even if they're irked, "two sets of eyes on the road are always better than one." So, look on the bright side!