Driving takes up a lot of our time. We have places to go and people to see, and according to this survey by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety and the Urban Institute, women are behind the wheel far more often than their male counterparts.
But, a question that has been on everyone’s lips of late is who is happier on the road?
According to Wheels24, fresh research has revealed a somewhat unexpected answer - women are in fact the angrier drivers! Patrick Fagan, a behavioural psychologist from Goldsmiths University London, recently conducted an experiment in conjunction with Hyundai, which looked at how sight, sound, smell, taste and touch induced emotional reactions in various driving scenarios.
The results showed that the two most dominant emotions were happiness (which was linked with a sense of freedom), and anger (which was associated with a loss of power).
Women were found to be 12% angrier than men while driving.
Apparently, this has a lot to do with evolution. When women had to deal with things like being hooted at, coping with a backseat driver, or another driver who neglected to indicate, their “defence” instincts from when humans were hunter gatherers kicked in.
Fagan says that female drivers tend to be a lot more sensitive to negative interactions and tend to anger faster than men because our ancestors had to be - while the men were out hunting and, women were the ones defending their young.
But does this mean that previous research is now disproved? Car insurance firm Sheila’s Wheels highlighted that, during summer in particular, women are more focused and tranquil drivers than men. Men are more visually orientated, which causes them to be more easily sidetracked on the road. In addition, thanks to their higher testosterone levels, men are more susceptible to aggression and road rage.
Cheapinsurance.com confirmed this, and explained that hormonal dissimilarities between the sexes, led to differing responses to tension and challenges. When faced with a sticky situation whilst driving, women are more likely to keep their composure than men, who have been reported to out of anger, get involved in physical fights with other drivers.
Women are also seen as a lower insurance risk and therefore have lower premiums, as discussed in a previous W24 article. Women have higher risk-aversion and vigilance whilst driving. They are more likely to follow road rules such as speed limits, and less likely to indulge in booze before driving.
One set of research says we’re angrier, while another says we’re better drivers who are safer on the roads. But which set of data do we actually believe?
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