Far out Friday: We’re angrier drivers these days

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We’re angrier drivers these days, and there are surveys to prove it – so keep this in mind when rushing home this Friday.

A recent survey of 1,000 adults, commissioned by Insurance.com, asked about their rude driving behaviour. It found women were more likely to respond to driving frustrations by swearing, brake-checking or “flipping someone off” than men were.

But men have their own anger issues.

The survey found they are twice as likely as women to key someone's car or flash drivers with their high-beams just to be mean.

Swearing and bird-flipping behaviours are most likely confined to the car, Insurance.com notes, quoting psychology professor Leon James of the University of Hawaii, who has researched driving behaviours.

“Different rules apply to different places,” he says. “The car gives us the illusion of being alone and safe in our fortress. If we do something ugly or inconsiderate we can always get away. (It's) different when standing in line with others who are right there next to us.”

But if you want to target one specific group of drivers for rude driving – there are two other studies that point to BMW drivers being, well, jerks.

A couple of studies from the US and UK appear to provide statistical evidence that BMW drivers are less likely to come to a full-stop where mandated and more likely to contribute to road-rage incidents.

In the older study, by researchers at the University of California, BMW drivers were far less likely to stop for a pedestrian who had just entered a crosswalk. “Fancy cars were less likely to stop,” researcher Paul K. Piff told the New York Times, adding, “BMW drivers were the worst.”

Drivers of BMWs and other high-status cars (including Prius hybrids) were also more likely to cheat at four-way-stop intersections, according to the research. 

Here's what drivers admit to, with results broken down by gender:

Honked at someone driving too slowly: 41%

(Women: 39%. Men: 43%.)

Swore in front of the kids while driving: 37 % 

(Women: 44 %. Men: 30%.)

Flipped someone off while driving: 29% 

(Women: 31 %. Men: 27%.) 

Sped up significantly to prevent someone from passing you: 26 % 

(Women: 25 %. Men: 28%.) 

Tailgated someone on purpose because he or she was going too slowly: 18 % 

(Women: 21 %. Men: 16 %.) 

Driven to the front of a merge line, then swerved and cut in: 12 % 

(Women: 11 %. Men: 13 %.) 

Stolen a parking spot someone else was waiting for: 11 % 

(Women: 9 %. Men: 13 %.) 

Driven in the breakdown lane around traffic: 10% 

(Women: 8 %. Men: 13 %.) 

Sped up to block another car with its signal on: 9% 

(Women: 8 %. Men: 10 %.)

Chased after a car that cut you off so you could glare at/flip off the other driver: 9 % 

(Women: 7 %. Men: 11%.) 

Dinged someone's car in a parking lot and driven away: 8% 

(Women: 8 %. Men: 8%.) 

Turned on your high beams at an oncoming car just to be mean: 7 % 

(Women: 4 %. Men: 11 %.)

Keyed someone's car: 5 %

(Women: 3 %. Men: 7 %.)

  • Jon Harding on 27/09/2013 9:38:45 AM

    If someone stole my parking place whilst I was patiently waiting, I can guarantee they will wish they were never so rude. I drive a Toyota.

  • Pat on 27/09/2013 9:47:32 AM

    Wow, Jon. Would you rouse on them? Give them what for? Key there car?

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