Breakdowns, booze and boredom driving us away from family Christmas

Fewer people are driving home for Christmas than they were 10 years ago.

Fewer people are driving home for Christmas than they were 10 years ago. - Credit: supplied

Brits are less likely to drive to visit family this Christmas than they were 10 years ago.

And almost a fifth choose not to drive to relatives just because they won't be able to drink alcohol.

And 25% choose not to visit family to avoid dull or awkward conversation, and 14% are simply put off by the fear of dangerous drivers on the road – double the proportion who said the same thing in 2005.

In a wide-ranging survey by breakdown cover provider Green Flag, it was also revealed that the most popular time to start the drive 'home' for Christmas is between 10am and 11am on Christmas Eve.

Since 2005 Brits have seen an increase in the average number of days they have off work over the festive period, but do not visit relatives for any longer than they did 10 years ago.

Richard Woolfson, family psychologist, said: 'It is evident in the results that a vast majority are finding an excuse not to visit their family over the Christmas break and that confirms the stresses and strains of everyday life often relegate family gatherings to second place.

'That's a pity because if you do make a special effort to drive home for Christmas, the chances are you'll find it much more psychologically rewarding than you anticipated. The warmth of family life, and the excitement of catching up with everyone's news, will give you a much more positive emotional experience than you imagine.'

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Neil Wilson, Green Flag's head of rescue and motor claims response, said: 'It's no surprise that long distances and traffic top the reasons why we are reluctant to drive to see our families. Breakdowns unfortunately do happen over the Christmas period – with stress levels high on the roads and in the home.

'While we can't fix breakdowns in the home, we can help with those on the road.'