Who’s more angry on the road – men or women?
The female driver stereotype would lead you to believe that women drive slowly, park badly, make erratic mistakes and generally aren't very assertive behind the wheel. On the other hand, men supposedly drive more aggressively.
Never one to allow a stereotype to stand, we found a new study that Hyundai has comissioned highly interesting.
While some of those supposed traits might be true of some drivers, one thing is now being questioned: are men really more angry on the road?
Behavioural psychologists from Goldsmiths University in London looked at how stimulating different senses affected emotions while driving. Using facial coding technology, eye tracking analysis, skin responses and a heartrate monitor, a Driving Emotion Test (DET) score was worked out for each subject.
Two things stood out: the happiness drivers feel from the sense of freedom driving gives them, and the anger experienced when they feel out of control.
The study suggests it's actually women who react more angrily to situations like being undertaken, beeped at or directed by a backseat driver.
Why are women angrier on the road?
Now, I would argue that women have to deal with a lot more aggression and sexism on the road and might therefore react worse when someone treats them badly - but the study's lead, Patrick Fagan, had more of a science-y take on it:
"Psychologically, women score higher than men on emotional and verbal intelligence, and on the personality trait of neuroticism. Evolutionary theory suggests our early female ancestors had to develop an acute sense of danger for anything that threatened them and their young if their cave was undefended while men were out hunting. That ‘early warning system’ instinct is still relevant today, and women drivers tend to be more sensitive to negative stimuli, so get angry and frustrated quicker."
Which is actually pretty flattering to the ladies, although it would also explain the higher incidences of anxiety problems in women. From an evolutionary stand-point, female drivers are doomed to being more emotionally affected by bad situations than men.
Being angry or upset is super distracting. If you do feel really affected by something while you're driving, pull over for some deep breaths before you go on.