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Road Rage: Who’s more likely to lose their cool?


We’ve all heard that women are better drivers, which I am not bragging about because I am a woman, but based on reports by several car insurance companies.

This is also the reason women pay less than men for their premiums. These companies have come to the conclusion that men are more likely to speed, run a red light, engage in reckless driving, and drive under the influence. But who is more likely to turn into the Incredible Hulk behind the wheel? The answer, women.

Arrive Alive describes road rage as “incidents of angry and aggressive driving”. Recent studies show that women are more likely than men to get involved in road rage while driving. If you looked at the news making headlines this week, this fact should not come as a surprise.

This week, a 28-year-old Californian woman was arrested after pointing a gun at a motorist in a road rage incident, and last week, a Texas woman pointed a fake gun at traffic in order to get through; this road rage incident was caught on camera. There are countless road rage incidents every day, in the US, like everywhere in the world, including South Africa. 

Evolutionary traits of women

The UK study on road rage among the sexes conducted in partnership with Hyundai concluded that women are the angrier drivers after investigating 1 000 drivers. Researchers placed sensors on the hands of motorists and further gathered information using webcams.

Previous studies showed that men were more likely to get enraged behind the wheel, but women are 12 percent angrier while driving. The results were also based on the evolutionary traits of women and their defensive instincts.

The behavioural psychologist who led the study noted that women score higher than men on verbal and emotional intelligence as well as on the personality trait of neuroticism - and this played a part in their road rage. 

Some general observations were also made during the study. More than 60 percent of respondents experienced anger when they were stuck in traffic or driving slowly - (I expected this number to be much higher than 60. Are we not all guilty of this? Seems not). It also showed how driving stress and anger gets worse the longer you are in the car. 

Angry driving = risk-taking behaviour

The studies proved that an angry driver showed more risk taking behaviour, such as dangerous overtaking, driving too close to the vehicle ahead, drive aggressively, losing control, become physical and verbal and violate the rules of the road.

Another study showed just how close the road rage between men and women are. It’s the men who are more likely to hoot at someone for driving too slow in front of them, but the women are more likely to swear at traffic with kids in the car and show the middle finger to someone. Surprisingly, women are more likely to brake check a car following too closely but also tailgate someone on purpose for driving too slow.

Men, on the other hand, speed up to prevent someone from overtaking, drive in the emergency lane, drive to the front of a merge lane and cut in, turn on their brights at oncoming traffic just because, and keyed someone’s car at least one time. Both sexes are equal when it came to knocking someone’s car in a parking area.

Having read the study, it's still hard to believe that women are the angrier sex behind the wheel. The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety provides tips for avoiding aggressive driving. They provide three basic tips, 'don’t offend', 'don’t engage' and finally 'adjust your attitude' - ladies it’s never too late to use these tips especially as we’re still celebrating women’s month.


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Article written by Laykin Rudolph
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