New research from one of the country’s car insurance firms has revealed how much time UK drivers could save if their car drove itself.

People currently spend an average of 13 days a year driving and as much as two years during their lifetime behind the wheel, with travelling to see friends and family (81 per cent), going on days out (71 per cent), commuting (52 per cent) and doing the school run (18 per cent) being some of the main journeys made.

Direct Line asked UK drivers how they would spend their time in a driverless car, if they didn’t need to keep their eyes on the road or their hands on the wheel and the most common response was that they would take the time to read more (29 per cent).

Others said they would take advantage of the extra time to get some more sleep (21 per cent), catch up on social media (21 per cent) and watch television (16 per cent). Parents on the school run would pay more attention to their family whilst travelling together  (34 per cent) whilst commuters would take the opportunity to get on with some extra work (20 per cent).

Men are more likely to use the extra time sleeping (24 per cent compared to 18 per cent of women) and catching up on their favourite TV programme (18 per cent compared to 14 per cent of women). While one in ten women would use the freed time to do their makeup.

The technology which enables cars to drive themselves is already here but how long it will be before legislative and other necessary changes are made to enable drivers to permanently take their hands off the wheel remains to be seen. However, as far as the general public is concerned, on average, they believe that it will be 11 years before autonomous vehicles are seen navigating the UK’s roads.

Dan Freedman, director of motor development at Direct Line, said: “Driverless cars will not only give people the freedom to use their time more efficiently and enable them to do the things they’d rather do but most importantly they will reduce road accidents and emissions, both of which would have a significant impact on the nation’s quality of life.

“Some new cars rolling off the production line already have elements of driverless technology installed, allowing the car to take control of parking, steer drifting drivers back into the correct lane and apply the brakes on the driver’s behalf when a collision is imminent. With the technology essentially here it may not be as long as some think until we see driverless cars on the roads.”

James Ash


Content Marketing Executive at

November 4, 2016