When it comes to stereotypical gender traits, men typically get the rap for being more likely to speed or drink and drive. When it comes to getting wound up on the road, however, women’s gears tend to run a bit tighter than men’s. In a poll of nearly 4,000 motorists conducted by Harris Interactive, 61 percent of women admitted to having road rage.
That’s not to say that men came off looking like easy riders. Males reported road rage at 56 percent. But while this 5-point difference may not seem like a lot, it is outside the study’s margin of error (translation: the results are legit).
Why women are more prone to road rage
According to some experts, this gender divide isn’t a random occurrence. Rather, it likely stems from women’s possible subconscious need to break free of society’s expectations (well … of course).
In case your eyes just glazed over like Krispy Kremes, let’s rephrase in plain English. Essentially, they’re saying women might feel forced into a nurturing, non-aggressive role in public. This can result in pent-up frustration — frustration that comes out behind the anonymity of the wheel.
More road rage statistics
Harris Interactive’s poll doesn’t just focus on gender differences. Here are some other road rage patterns the study revealed.
Road rage by age
If you’re stressed about getting older, here’s one thing you can look forward to: a much cooler temperament behind the wheel. Only 47 percent of those 55 or older admitted to having road rage (making them the most Zen age group overall). Meanwhile, drivers between the ages of 25 and 34 appear much shorter-fused — 68 percent of them reported incidents of anger on the asphalt.
Road rage and commute time
Taking the “Most Obvious Conclusion” award is this: driving stress gets worse the longer you’re in the car. But anyone who’s ever sat in traffic could tell you that.
What might surprise you, though, is just how little extra time it takes for tempers to flare. For instance, only 37 percent of drivers with commutes of less than 5 minutes reported road rage. But that number jumps to 54 percent by extending the commute just 5 minutes more (sheesh)!
Summer’s effect on driving mood
Could road rage be seasonal? According to Harris’s poll … possibly. Seventeen percent of motorists believed their freeway fury went down as the mercury rose. This is compared to only 10 percent of drivers who thought summer worsened their stress. (To venture a guess, we’d say the latter group does not have working AC.)
Road rage and your car insurance
Whether road rage is a result of gender, season, or age, one thing remains true — it’s always a no-no. Not only can it be extremely dangerous — 9 percent of those polled said they actually had physical brawls with other drivers(!) — it can also be bad for your car insurance.
Drivers convicted of road rage (a criminal offense in many states) are typically viewed as high-risk by car insurers. Find out how road rage can affect your car insurance rates here.