Rudeness, poor hygiene and bad driving: The top 10 first date turn-offs that really grind our gears

13 August 2015


Forget flowers and chocolates, it would appear that the surest way to woo a potential love interest is to grab the L plates and brush up on driving skills as a new survey reveals the UK’s biggest first date turn-offs.

Whilst rudeness scored highest in the list, with 81% of Brits citing bad manners as the worst thing a suitor can do, driving is a three-point turn off as nearly half of the 10 worst offences happen in the car before the date has even begun.

The research, conducted by the UK’s leading independent road safety charity, the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM), found road rage to be the worst first-date faux pas for almost half (46%) of people, whilst a similar number say texting at the wheel leaves them wanting to put the brakes on the date.

Talking on a mobile whilst driving appeared at number seven in the list, grinding the gears of 44 per cent of those questioned. And it’s best to bin those crisp packets as nearly a quarter (23%) finds a dirty car unappealing.



Top 10 first date turn-offs

  1. 1. Rudeness (81%)
  2. 2. Bad personal hygiene (80%)
  3. 3. No sense of humour (70%)
  4. 4. Being self-obsessed (69%)
  5. 5. Road rage (46%)
  6. 6. Texting whilst driving (45%)
  7. 7. Talking on a mobile whilst driving (44%)
  8. 8. Bad dress sense (40%)
  9. 9. Sweaty palms (25%)
  10. 10. Dirty car (23%)

Top 10 first date turn-ons

  1. 1. Sense of humour (81%)
  2. 2. Politeness (77%)
  3. 3. Good personal hygiene (69%)
  4. 4. Good dress sense (50%)
  5. 5. Looks (44%)
  6. 6. Confidence (44%)
  7. 7. Generosity (29%)
  8. 8. Good driving skills (11%)
  9. 9. Great shoes (9%)
  10. 10. Nice car (7%)

A further one in 10 (11%) are irritated by someone who takes 15 minutes to park, whilst an eighth of Brits (13%) find overly cautious drivers who go under the speed limit off-putting.


Other turn-offs include bad personal hygiene, which causes four in five (80%) of us to lose interest, and no sense of humour which shirks nearly three quarters (70%) of singletons. Being self-obsessed (69%) and sweaty palms (25%) also scored highly in the list.


On the flipside, more than one in 10 (11%) Brits say good driving skills get their motors running on a first date – beating a nice car (7%) and great shoes (9%).



The IAM’s chief executive, Sarah Sillars said: “Bad driving not only has an impact on the safety of our roads, but can also affect your chances of romance. Being able to manoeuvre properly and drive carefully should be much higher up on peoples dating priorities.”


The research revealed that Brits pick up on the driving skills of a date – good or bad - within the first 65 seconds of getting in the car, with half picking up on their potential partner’s prowess behind the wheel in just 20 seconds.


Singles can improve their driving skills – and chances of romance – by signing up for a free IAM driving assessment worth £39 at See if you can improve your ‘pulling’ power today.


For more information, please contact:

Livvy Brown: 020 3206 9977 /

Natalie Stewart: 020 3206 9978 /


Notes to editors:

The IAM is the UK’s largest independent road safety charity, dedicated to improving standards and safety in driving and motorcycling. The commercial division of the IAM operates through its occupational driver training company IAM Drive & Survive. The IAM has more than 200 local volunteer groups and over 90,000 members in the UK and Ireland. It is best known for the advanced driving test and the advanced driving and motorcycling courses. Its policy and research division offers advice and expertise on road safety.






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