The Road Rage Pandemic

And how it makes you uglier to the opposite sex. 

If you are a driver, and most of us are, barely a day will go past when you can gaily drive through leafy lanes, enjoying the late afternoon sunshine, without some other loutish driver blaring his horn at you, shouting profanities or gesticulating various fingers at you in a boorish fashion, or you feeling the urge to do the same to some other innocent (ish) road user.

A recent survey conducted by the American Automobile Association (AAA) would indicate that road rage, at least in US of A , has become a feature of modern driving, with nearly 80% of those polled admitting to expressing “significant anger” a.k.a. Road Rage in the past year.

One bad Granny.

What was worse, some 50% of drivers admitted to tailgating, driving too close to the car in front on purpose and almost the same amount admitted to shouting at another driver; some 45% also used their horn to express their displeasure. The loutish behaviour doesn’t stop there, with some 24% of all drivers admitting to varying their speed to block another driver from changing lane.

These statistics are based on the American experience, but if you drive around any congested city they will not come as a big surprise. There are also even more extreme behaviours listed: at least 33% of drivers will make rude hand gestures and some 4% will get out of their vehicle to confront other motorists whilst 3% have actually rammed another vehicle in disgust. That may sound like a relatively small number but when you consider that is some 5.7 million drivers, it does start to make you wonder.

Perhaps not surprisingly, age does matter, with men between 19 and 39 much more likely to be affected by road rage and of course there is also a gender gap, with men three times more likely to get out of their vehicles or ram another vehicle than women. Some 90% of drivers in the US of A believe that road rage is a serious threat to safety, and in a country with such lax gun laws, we are inclined to agree with them…yet the driving public still seem to be willing to engage in such activity.

It is a surprise, as the UK’s Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) says that bad driving will make you less attractive to your partners by at least 50%; in fact, 80% of women in the poll actually said that bad driving, including road rage, was an absolute turn-off. This particular survey carried out by Jo Hemmings, a behavioural psychologist, measured the pulse rate, pupil dilation, blink rate and body language of human guinea pigs when they were shown videos of incompetent driving and the results were emphatic.

For the women in the survey, the top turn-offs were road rage, illegal overtaking and texting whilst behind the wheel. For the men, there was a similar list, with taking selfies whilst driving being a key turn-off, and three point turns, texting and bad parking also featuring on the list.

When it came to the degree of “turn-offness”, it would appear that the men were more forgiving, with only 28% reporting negative feelings whilst the women recording 84% negative feelings and attractiveness dropping from 4.8 to 2.8. So, please consider this: if you are thinking about taking the future Mrs Right on a date tonight, drive calmly, as 46% of the ladies stated that road rage is the worst of all first date turn-offs.

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