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Motoring habits that give you the ick

What really drives you mad behind the wheel? Is it loud exhausts, those novelty stick-on eyelashes or a car with lowered suspension?

Find out the most infuriating ‘icks’ of British motorists and how to avoid invalidating your car insurance policy through vehicle modifications.

Double car exhaust pipes on white car with exhaust gases coming out

Everybody has that one thing that gives them the ‘ick’ – a turn-off that they just can’t overlook. It’s the feeling of instantly cringing at a habit or behaviour. If you come down with a case of the ‘ick’, there’s little chance you’ll recover.

British motorists and their top 10 icks

Research shows that car stickers, noisy exhausts and pink cars are some of the most likely things to give UK motorists the ‘ick’.

Our new study of 2,000 UK drivers outlines outdated trends, accessories and car mods that make motorists recoil in horror.

Top 10 images of car habits that give you the ick

1. Car stickers

Are you guilty of this one? Whether it’s ‘baby on board’ or ‘honk if you’re horny’, car stickers are everywhere and more than 4 in 5 (81%) UK drivers can’t stand them. The biggest offender is the ‘honk if you’re horny’ sticker, which almost 1 in 5 (17%) motorists said they find annoying to see on the road.

If you’re in Scotland, stay clear of the ‘Dad’s taxi’ sticker. One in 10 (10%) Scottish drivers said they loathe this more than any other sticker. Living in Wales? Make sure you don’t choose a ‘powered by fairy dust’ sticker. That’s because more than a quarter (28%) of Welsh drivers chose this as their biggest ‘ych a fi’.

2. Loud exhausts

Move over Vin Diesel. Our survey found that loud exhausts give more than half (57%) of female drivers the ‘ick’. And it seems that the feeling is mutual across the UK, with all individual regions also voting this as their top annoyance.

Drivers in Wales are most likely to be bothered by loud exhausts, with more than 7 in 10 (76%) of those surveyed finding them irritating.

In the UK, there are limits to the amount of noise cars can make on public roads. It’s also illegal to change the exhaust system after safety standards have been met. If you’re unsure, have a chat with your local mechanic.

3. Loud music

We all love singing along to the radio or our favourite playlist when we’re in the car. But almost half (44%) of UK motorists find this one of the most irritating behaviours on the road. Also, drivers who play their music too loud when their vehicle has stopped are found to be frustrating too. Nearly 5 in 10 (49%) motorists said this was a behaviour that gives them the ‘ick’.

4. Lowered suspension

No, we’re not talking about those cool low riders from the Hollywood films. We’re talking about that aftermarket suspension on your neighbour’s Vauxhall Corsa. More than 2 in 5 (45%) UK motorists said that lowered suspension on cars give them the ‘ick’.

5. Large spoilers

Aftermarket spoilers on ordinary cars are loathed by more than 2 in 5 (44%) UK motorists. While they may add a little bit of downforce and traction, they certainly aren’t doing your street cred any good. They could increase your car insurance costs too.

Nearly 6 in 10 (59%) East Anglian drivers said that large spoilers give them the ‘ick’. This was followed by the East Midlands (55%) and London (52%), while more than half (53%) of Welsh drivers share the same sentiment.

6. Smoking/vaping

Four in 10 (40%) British motorists say that being in a car where someone is smoking or vaping is one of their biggest ‘icks’. Since 2015, it’s been illegal to smoke in a car with anyone under 18. However, there are currently no laws around vaping in a car with a child present.

7. Steering wheel covers

Whether they’re fluffy, wooden, or brightly coloured leather - it’s time to ditch the novelty steering wheel covers. More than a third (35%) of British motorists find these interior accessories annoying.

More than half (56%) of drivers in Wales and more than 2 in 5 (44%) drivers in Scotland are likely to find steering wheel covers a turn off.

8. Fluffy dice

You know those fluffy dice hanging from your rear-view mirror? A third (33%) of British motorists loathe them. Unlike many other car accessories though, fluffy dice have a pretty interesting history. The use of the dice is believed to be traced back to World War II and American fighter pilots. They would hang the dice above their instruments for good luck.

More than 4 in 10 (43%) drivers in the South West, and nearly half (46%) of motorists in East Anglia find fluffy dice irritating.

Drivers could be breaking the law too with their hanging accessories. While not illegal to hang dice or air fresheners, it is against the law to block your view out of the windscreen.

9. Pink cars

Yellow? Orange? Brown? No, it’s pink cars that turn off UK motorists the most. More than 1 in 5 (21%) motorists chose pink as the colour that drives them round the bend.

If you’re planning on changing the colour of your car, you need to let your insurance company know as soon as possible. That’s because any modifications will mean the data on file doesn’t match that of the vehicle. Changing the colour could also make your car a higher insurance risk and seem more attractive to thieves.

Although, drivers in Yorkshire are most likely to not care about car colours. More than 4 in 10 (41%) Yorkshire motorists said they don’t mind what colour a car is.

10. Headlight eyelashes

Do you dislike eyelashes on the front of car headlights? You’re not alone. According to our research, 1 in 7 (14%) British motorists don’t like them either. The history of motoring eyelashes can be traced right back to 1966, and the Lamborghini Muira. On this car, the lashes were integrated into the vehicle’s retractable headlights. However, they were dropped from later models.

Drivers in the North West are most likely to be turned off by headlight eyelashes, with 1 in 5 (20%) saying it's the worst motoring habit.

Will car modifications affect insurance?

Louise Thomas, car insurance expert at Confused.com comments:

“It’s clear from the latest research that some driver habits really grind the gears of other motorists, whether it be additional exterior touch ups or driver behaviours.

“If you’re looking to modify your car, it’s important to talk to your insurer before you decide to spend any of your hard-earned money. If you don’t, you could find yourself paying out more on your car insurance as well. This is because some modifications impact the power or performance of the car, while others could increase the risk of theft.

“Insurers usually have a list of modifications they automatically cover and a list of those they might charge for. Although, make sure you do your research when it comes to modified car insurance as some alterations could reduce your costs too.

"If you've recently modified your car, but haven't spoken with your insurer, you should do so as soon as you can. Modifying your car could mean a difference in your insurance costs. However, speaking with your insurer will clear up any confusion."