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The surprising and very dangerous place couples argue, and how to stop it
Couples are very likely to argue in the car, especially when they're angry about relationship issues. Here's how couples can turn that around. - photo by Herb Scribner
The worst person to have with you in the front seat of your car may also be the first person you want in the front seat of your life.

A new survey from Done Deal, a classifieds website in Ireland, found that one in three drivers found their partners to be the most stressful person to have in the front seat of their car while driving, according to the Independent.

Because there is nothing, we repeat nothing more irritating than an overly involved front-seat passenger especially if that passenger happens to be your smug other half,, a website for Irish women, wrote about the study.

Couples who fight in the car arent uncommon, according to The Wall Street Journals Elizabeth Bernstein.

Sure, road trips can be romantic, but the car is often the last place where we have to relinquish full control in a relationship, according to WSJ. And that can make the ride, well, emotionally bumpy.

Partners will often argue about whos going to drive, where theyre going and how fast theyre driving, WSJ reported.

This can be especially dangerous as it may take ones attention away from the road and put couples in a variety of dangerous situations, WSJ reported.

Couples especially argue about directions since men and women give out directions differently. While men use distance and simple directions, women are more likely to use landmarks when navigating, WSJ reported. The conflicting styles cause couples to clash in the car.

Americans also told WSJ that car rides often become the center point for "power struggles and personality clashes going on elsewhere in our relationships."

But thats not always the case. Cars can present a sort of romanticism for young couples they can go anywhere and be free and are also a place where couples can have long, deep discussions, WSJ reported.

Remember when cars were romantic? As teenagers, they represented freedom and first kisses. And as adults, many couples say they have their most intimate discussions on long drives, because they are trapped together yet not forced to face each other directly.

So whats WSJs solution?

Fly. It worked for one friend of mine, Bernstein wrote. Last Christmas, she packed her three kids in the car for the six-hour drive from New York to New England and let her husband, who was stuck at work, take a plane.

But couples cant always fly to the supermarket. To avoid arguments for shorter drives, Suzanna Phillips, a psychologist and writer of the Healing Together for Couples blog at Psych Central, said couples should make sure they understand whether their partner wants them to help with navigation or not. This will cut down on much of the arguing, she wrote.

Partners should also look to recognize the signs that their partner may be upset so that they can do their best to limit further conflict, according to Psych Central.

Some partners who are suppressing feelings might grip their wheel tighter, and partners who are upset will suddenly start driving somewhere else or show impatience with other drivers.

Partners who are more accepting of the situation will act passively, Phillips wrote. But conflict could arise later when theyre out of the car.

Most importantly, Phillips suggests couples plan for potential conflicts ahead of time by figuring out whos going to drive, printing out maps so they have a good set of directions and even bringing some music or audio books along to help reduce the stress of traffic or the strain of long distance driving.

Couples should observe their partners space when driving so that they dont find themselves in a potentially life-threatening situation, Phillips wrote.

Give each other psychological space, Phillips wrote. If one or the other says they really cant talk about something upsetting this is the time to listen. Postponement of discussion, even silence, may be a constructive step toward diffusing feelings in the car not a dismissal.
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