Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Paris Hilton ate my Funyuns, leading to a traffic jam

Here at 19 Minutes World Media Headquarters, we continue to keep you apprised of new developments in driving research; specifically, research into techniques that make you a more attentive, stress-free driver.

(Notice I say "make you". As long as there are Arizonans on the road, it's unlikely I'll ever become a stress-free driver.)

You'll recall that earlier this month, we featured cutting-edge British research into what songs help keep drivers awake ("They Can't Take That Away From Me", by Frank Sinatra), and which songs put them to sleep (Elgar's "Pomp and Circumstance March No. 1", anything by Percy Faith).

Today, the PR industry checked in with its own research about how Americans can be better drivers, especially over Labor Day weekend. And thanks to a survey commissioned by AIG auto insurance, we have definitive proof that most Americans don't believe their driving-related stress would be abated by having Pamela Anderson, George Clooney, or Paris Hilton in the car with them. (Really.)

Instead, the survey finds that a majority of respondents would rather have their spouse along for the ride, though in the case of women, the responses were nearly split evenly between spouses and best friends (which the survey believed to be mutually exclusive categories).

Someone named Elise Martin with AIG cut to the chase:

"Almost one quarter of adults feel stressed when holiday traffic cuts into weekend plans. We found that good music, good company and scouting out the course ahead of time, can ease traffic jam tensions and help everyone enjoy the ride."
Here at 19 Minutes HQ, we're only sorry we couldn't have been along for the ride with the pollster:

POLLSTER: Hello, I'm taking a survey about driving and stress.

RANDOM MAN ON THE STREET: Well, make it fast. I'm trying to beat the traffic home today.

POLLSTER: Okay, first question... If you were stuck in traffic, would you rather have your wife or George Clooney in the car with you?

MAN: Um.

POLLSTER: Or Paris Hilton. You could have Paris Hilton in the car with you.

MAN: Would my wife be in the car, too?
Unfortunately, the information that reached the 19 Minutes inbox only mentioned Paris Hilton, Pamela Anderson, and George Clooney, so there's no telling whether Americans would simply have preferred to ride with other celebrities, such as Jamie Farr, Sarah McLachlan, Russell Means, or Chamique Holdsclaw, or whether they're afraid celebrities in general would eat too many Funyuns.

Regardless, based on the research of scholars on both sides of the Atlantic, it's safe to say you should avoid the Pamela Anderson rendition of "Pomp and Circumstance" when you're stuck on the Tappan Zee Bridge this Labor Day.

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