More than half a million people in the UK are seeing their work suffer due to the stress of driving to work, according to new research.
In a nationwide study of commuters, two-thirds of respondents said that the daily slog on the roads left them stressed and less motivated when they arrived at work. And one third – more than 550,000 – said the levels of stress directly affected their work.
The study used Department for Transport data to identify the most congested stretches of road per region across the country and found that 1.68 million drivers were using them to get to and from work each year.
The worst routes include obvious suspects such as the M25 and M4, along with the likes of the M8 in Glasgow, the A1 near Gateshead and the M1 around Leeds. The stretch of M25 between junctions 13 and 14 alone sees 205,239 vehicles per year, with most of the other congestion hotspots carrying between 120,000 and 155,000 annually.
A separate study earlier this year found that the average British driver spends 32 hours a year stuck in traffic. London suffered the worst congestion, according to data from traffic information firm Inrix, followed by Manchester, Aberdeen, Birmingham and Edinburgh. Inrix also revealed that 12 months from September 2016 there were a total of 1.35 traffic jams around the UK.
Suzy Reading, a chartered psychologist, specialising in wellbeing and stress management commented: â€œStress is bad for us in the morning because the cascading of stress hormones released can leave us feeling frazzled, reactive, anxious, low in mood and energetically depleted before the demands of the work day has even begun.
â€œBecause stress has an impact on mood, subjective energy levels and mental clarity, this can have a significant effect on all aspects of work performance. It potentially impacts the quality of decisions made, work output and can add strain to relationships in the workplace.
The commuter study, conducted by Coopers BMW, found that despite the pressures of their usual commute, almost half (46 per cent) of drivers stuck with it rather than trying to find an alternative route. Helpfully, the dealer network has come up with a list of alternatives to the DfTâ€™s congestion hotspots, offering a glimmer of hope for those caught in daily motoring madness.
UK’s most congested roads by region
Region Local Authority Road Start Junction End Junction Vehicles per year East Midlands Leicestershire M1 21 21A 147,854 East of England Hertfordshire M25 18 19 177,996 London Hillingdon M4 4 3 150,674 North East Gateshead A1 A184 A692 111,419 North West Salford M60 13 12 179,596 Scotland Glasgow City M8 16 15 156,821 South East Surrey M25 13 14 205,239 South West South Gloucestershire M4 20/15 M4/M5 19 M4/M32 128,516 Wales Newport M4 27 26 121,526 West Midlands Solihull M42 5 6 153,495 Yorkshire and the Humber Leeds M1 42 43 154,345