- 7.23pm on a Saturday is the new rush hour as Brits race home for Strictly and X-Factor –
Thursday 24th November 2011: New research out today reveals that nearly one in five Brits (19 per cent) have sneakily cut short a social engagement in order to rush home to watch Saturday night TV shows, such as Strictly Come Dancing and X-Factor.
The new study(1) by esure car insurance found that a quarter of Brits (26 per cent) plan their weekend around TV listings with 14 per cent admitting they would leave a party in order to watch Saturday night TV, such as Strictly Come Dancing or X-Factor. More than one in ten men (12 per cent) would leave a football match early in order to make it home in time.
One in three motorists on the road on a Saturday evening are rushing home to watch TV. At 7.23pm on Saturday there is a peak of 2,011,326 cars on British roads, but this drops to just 670,442 cars at 8.43pm(2).
Alarmingly, six per cent of those polled even said they would resort to breaking the law by speeding or jumping a red light - just to make it back home in time. A further six per cent also said they have started to develop road rage while trying to make it home in time to watch their favourite TV show, while nine per cent admitted to feeling anxious behind the wheel.
As a result, Brits’ social lives are not the only casualty of the Saturday night ratings war as five per cent of Brits surveyed say they have had a near-miss or an accident while driving home to watch Saturday night television.
In these austere times, the need to save money has replaced ‘washing my hair’ as the top excuse for staying in to watch TV with nearly a fifth of Brits (19 per cent) admitting to employing a ‘can’t afford to go out’ excuse. 18 per cent of Brits polled have even pretended to not feeling well, while 13 per cent have fibbed that they have another social engagement to attend.
Despite 60 per cent of Brits owning digital recorders the digital age has stripped out this `convenience by making us too quickly aware of the outcome. A fifth of Brits (21 per cent) said that they have to watch their favourite shows live so that no one can spoil what happens. More than one in ten (12 per cent) said that they had even shut themselves off from the outside world after missing their favourite programme, so as not to read commentary on social networking sites such as Facebook or Twitter.
Despite Strictly Come Dancing attracting a weekly audience of over 10m viewers(3), only five per cent of Brits go ballroom dancing themselves each week.
Mike Pickard, Head of Risk and Underwriting at esure car insurance, said: “It seems that more of us are fans of Saturday night television than we would like to admit, but whether you watch the shows openly or in secret, there is no excuse for reckless driving that could put your life and that of other road users at risk.
Road safety is essential at all times, no matter how much you want to make it back in time for the latest show. Motorists should plan ahead and allow plenty of time for their journey home.”
Brits aged between 25 and 34 were the most avid fans of Strictly Come Dancing and X-Factor. 29 per cent said they would sneak away from a social engagement to watch their favourite TV shows without telling anyone what they were up to, while 17 per cent have shut themselves off from the outside world until they had seen their favourite show.
Londoners may think they have the most events to visit at the weekend, but a third (33 per cent) said they check the TV listings when they planned their weekend, which was the highest in the country. Nearly a quarter (23 per cent) of Londoners polled also said that they have pretended to have another social engagement in order to head home and watch TV.
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Notes to Editors: (1) esure used the independent online research company FlyResearch who surveyed 1,025 motorists from across the UK between 25 and 26 October 2011. FlyResearch is an online market research company. Its researches are members of the MRS, PRCA, BPC and Esomar, and abide by their guidelines. Further information is available at www.FlyResearch.com
(2) 2,011,326 and 670,442 are estimations based on six and two per cent of the total UK motoring population based on DfT Transport Statistics, which show that there were 33,522,106 motor vehicles currently licensed in 2006. This is a projected figure based on the 1,025 motorists surveyed. (3) http://www.barb.co.uk/report/weekly-top-programmes-overview