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Fading memory lane motoring experiences

A new survey by BBC’s Top Gear has highlighted the top family motoring memories that could soon be lost to history.

Classic in-car ‘I-Spy’ style games, parents bickering over directions and children’s cries of ‘are we there yet’ are now all part of a bygone age of motoring, claims the study.

The research, commissioned to mark the start of the 30th series of Top Gear on March 14, reveals that six in 10 (63%) adults aged 40 and over cherish childhood memories of family outings by car.

The first episode sees presenters Paddy McGuinness, Freddie Flintoff and Chris Harris drive their old family cars.

“Kids now will never witness the delights of an A to Z or the games of eye spy in a very warm car,” said Paddy McGuinness.

“It was great to take a drive down memory lane in our old family cars for the new series. One thing we all recalled with huge affection was the heartfelt chats we had with our parents on those long car journeys when we were growing up.”

Top 10 family car travel experiences which have been lost to history

  1. Unfurling of maps and arguments between parents over directions (54%)
  2. One CD or tape in the car that you had to listen to every single time you went on a drive (53%)
  3. Pre-planning routes (39%)
  4. Using a coat hanger as a radio aerial (39%)
  5. Using the cigarette lighter for its original intended purpose (35%)
  6. Endless tuning to get a radio signal (34%)
  7. Classic ‘in car’ games such as ‘I Spy’ (34%)
  8. Picking up hitchhikers (30%)
  9. The rallying cry of ’are we there yet’ (24%)
  10. His and hers windscreen stickers (sunscreen strips) (23%)

Bygone experiences which just missed out on a top 10 placement included changing your own spare tyre (23%), the discovery of local radio stations being picked up as you drive through a hilly region (19%) and going for a Sunday family ‘leisure drive’ (19%).

The survey also revealed that the countless hours spent on childhood car journeys hold vivid and cherished family memories for the vast majority (68%) of British adults.

Top Gear presenter Freddie Flintoff

In car games such as ‘I Spy’ and imaginative checklists to spot road signs were also named as the most fondly remembered ‘motor memories’ of a now bygone era (67%) and whilst it may have been their parent’s worst nightmare the rallying cry of ‘are we there yet’ still has a place in Brit’s hearts with over half of those surveyed (56%) saying it was one of their most vivid family road trip memories.

Conversely, arguments between parents over directions (44%), endlessly tuning to find radio stations (43%) and arguments over what radio station to listen to (37%) are the experiences we miss the least.

Further findings revealed that 59% of Brits now identify satellite navigation aids as the number one piece of modern tech they would not want to live without followed by hi-tech entertainment systems (12%) and sophisticated security features (8%).

About Gareth Herincx

Gareth is a versatile journalist, copywriter and digital editor who's worked across the media in newspapers, magazines, TV, teletext, radio and online. After long stints at the BBC, GMTV and ITV, he now specialises in motoring.

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