Driving home for Christmas

Almost 10% of males drive to avoid staying with in-laws

24 December 2008

christmas decorations

Almost one third (29%) of drivers would drive up to 100 miles to avoid staying with family and friends over Christmas according to an AA Populus poll of 7,388 members. Almost ten per cent of males (9%) specifically said that they would drive in order to avoid an overnight stay with their in-laws.

11% of respondents would even drive 100 miles or more to avoid staying with family or friends. Almost twice as many men (12%) would be prepared to drive more than 100 miles rather than stay over compared to women (7%).

However, 45% say they prefer an overnight stay with family and friends rather than drive, even relatively modest distances, at Christmas1.

From this research the AA predicts that during Christmas and New Year 2008, roads look like being fairly quiet because in addition to the overnighters, a further 16% in the survey said they do not drive at all over the holiday season.

The quietest day will be New Year's Day followed by Christmas Day.

Survey results

Day Percentage driving
more than 20 miles
not driving
Christmas Eve 22 78
Christmas Day 15 85
Boxing Day 24 76
New Year's Eve 16 84
New Year's Day 13 87

AA comment

AA President Edmund King said: "Some drivers seem determined to drive long distances to avoid staying with families or friends at Christmas. The old 'mother-in-law' joke may have some credence with nine per cent of males. As long as these drivers are not driven to drink this might be a sensible move.

"Almost one quarter of drivers will drive for more than 20 miles on Boxing Day but New Year's Day will be quiet with only 13% saying they will be taking to the roads.

"A good proportion of those saying they would be out on the roads over Christmas and New Year are in the younger age groups. On New Year's Eve the survey found that 18 to 24 year olds are most likely to be on the road (22%) which could pose safety concerns about potential drink / drug driving or distraction caused by a car full of reveller passengers".


1AA Populus survey of 7,380 motorists conducted between 21and 28 November 2008.

Variation by age group

(Percentage driving more than 20 miles)

Day 18-24
Christmas Eve 26 30 24 22 19 14
Christmas Day 14 20 16 14 12 13
Boxing Day 21 32 26 23 21 18
New Year's Eve 22 21 17 16 13 11
New Year's Day 12 17 12 13 13 10

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24 December 2008