Who would make the perfect passenger?

08 November 2008

Lewis Hamilton – perfect driver but not perfect passenger, according to AA Populus poll

Just three per cent of AA members selected Lewis Hamilton as their ideal passenger for a 100 mile journey, according to an AA Populus poll of almost 8,000 drivers.

The majority of drivers (60%) showed family loyalty by selecting their wife, husband or partner as their ideal passenger in a poll conducted to find out how willing people are to car share.

Timed before the new series of Top Gear began, Jeremy Clarkson, was second most popular with 13% of the vote. However males were more likely to vote Clarkson (15%) than females (11%).

Almost a quarter of younger drivers, those aged 18 to 24, (23%) opted for Clarkson as compared to just 3% of drivers over 65 years of age who instead would prefer an expert navigator or map reader in the car (13%).

The top ten ideal passenger ratings were:

  • Wife/husband/partner – 60%
  • Jeremy Clarkson – 13%
  • An expert navigator – 8%
  • A super model – 6%
  • An AA patrol – 5%
  • Lewis Hamilton – 3%
  • A police officer – 2%
  • A nurse – 2%
  • A priest – 0% (37 votes)
  • A boxer – 0% (16 votes)

Ten per cent of males opted for a supermodel but no females made this choice.

The AA patrol was almost three times as popular with females as males possibly due to males thinking they know how to fix cars.

Males were more likely to opt for a priest in the front seat but very few thought they needed divine intervention. Only 16 drivers surveyed opted for their own in-car protection in the form of a boxer and only 2% would prefer to have a police officer in the seat next to them.

The fact that just 8% opted for an expert navigator or map reader suggests that most drivers rely on Sat Navs or indeed their partners for putting them on the right route. Older drivers were more likely to need the map reader.

Having a trained medical person such as a nurse in the front seat only appealed to 2% of drivers and showed no differences between the sexes.

Regional differences

Jeremy Clarkson was most popular in Northern Ireland and the South East.

Lewis Hamilton was most popular in London.

A super model was least popular in the South West and Northern Ireland but most popular in Scotland.

Drivers in the North West were most likely to opt for a police officer.

The AA patrol was most likely to be needed in Northern Ireland, the Midlands and the North West.

A previous AA survey found that almost half (47%) of the population are now considering car sharing, despite only one in ten (11%) people admitting to currently doing so more than once week.

AA comment

Commenting, Edmund King, AA president, said; "Lewis Hamilton is probably the perfect driver but few choose him as the perfect passenger. At first we were surprised that only 3 per cent opted for the Formula One World Champion, Lewis Hamilton, as a passenger but on reflection most people would rather have him as a driver and perhaps would feel intimidated being observed by the best driver in the world.

"Car sharing is great in principle but many drivers still express a reluctance to share their personal space with anyone outside of the close family. For car sharing to increase we need more incentives such as preferential parking at work, high occupancy vehicle lanes in the right places and more workplace travel plans."


Populus interviewed 7,971 drivers between 19 – 28 September 2008

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8 November 2008