New Study (Politely) Suggests Women Are More Prone to Road Rage

Women. Delicate flowers or lean, mean, road-raging machines?

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.

Related link

How to defuse aggressive, road-raging drivers

5 Responses to “New Study (Politely) Suggests Women Are More Prone to Road Rage”

  1. Robin Smith
    August 22, 2012 #

    A man writing about women having road rage. Now, that is ironic. LOL.

  2. amy
    August 24, 2012 #

    citing as fact a self-report study without backing up your conclusions with any sort of data about road rage related accidents? well. now that is some strong evidence. anyone who’s ever looked at statistics knows that self reports are the MOST reliable! i guess i’m prone to being snarky, though. i’m one of those silly little girls who’s frustrated from having to appear so non-aggressive in public.

  3. Devalina
    September 3, 2012 #

    The methodology for this study is so deeply flawed, on so many different counts, that I can only assume that the insurance industry stands to gain in some way from it. Higher premiums from women would be one direct manner of gain.
    Ma’am you have to pay 10.67% (or x amount) more premium’
    ‘Why’?
    ‘Because studies have shown that women drivers are more prone to road rage, so we are expecting more accidents’
    Neat, isn’t it? Taking advantage of the fact that women are socialized to be intimidated by both figures and authority.

    • Jessica Guerin
      September 4, 2012 #

      Thanks for your comment. The goal of this post was to report the findings of Harris Interactive’s poll, but we welcome discussion (and debate). Harris Interactive used a sample of 4,000 people, and though their findings are interesting, they certainly aren’t meant to be a blanket statement about female drivers. As an insurance company, we’d be the first to point out that women (in fact) typically pay less for car insurance than men (http://blog.esurance.com/gender-and-car-insurance/). As people, we’d just say, “nothing but respect for the ladies.”

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