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Road Rage: Are Men or Women Angrier on the Roads?

2 minute read

Road rage defines aggression on the roads between strangers. Shouting, flipping the finger and honking among other acts to show annoyance are types of mild aggression. Violent driving behaviour, on the other hand, is purposeful behaviour meant to inflict harm to other road users and can include everything from aggressively tailgating to deliberately ramming into a vehicle.

With 70% of Australians surveyed in 2020 saying they had experienced road rage directed at them within the past year, it seems road rage has almost become the norm. Although a rude gesture can be brushed off easily, a quick Google search of ‘road rage Australia’ shows how serious road rage can get.

Earlier this year in June, a young woman in Adelaide was tailgated by a drunk, male driver who then rammed his car into hers while issuing terrifying death threats. In September, a 20-year-old Queensland man was charged with murder after killing a man in an act of alleged road rage – the two men were reportedly driving aggressively before the incident.

So, are men or women angrier on our roads?

While women and men experience similar levels of mild aggression on the roads, young men are more likely to act on this aggression leading to violent driving behaviour, particularly when another young male is involved.

Revealed in a 2020 survey, nearly 80% of Americans show aggressive behaviours when driving. More than 35% of men honked or flipped the bird at another driver with 28% of women admitting to doing the same.

In the UK, dashcam manufacturer Nextbase’s research found that 49% of women had experienced road rage from the opposite sex – 17% of women said gender was specifically referenced during the confrontation. For males, the numbers dropped with 37% of males experiencing road rage from the opposite sex and less than 10% had a road rage incident where gender was referenced.

The situation may not be very different in Australia.

A 2021 study found that 82% of females in Australia thought that police should do more to combat road rage compared to 75% of males thinking the same. The number of females and males admitting to having experienced road rage was similar with females slightly more likely to be on the receiving end of violent acts of road rage.

Drivers around the world experience road rage. With research linking factors like increased stress to a great deal of road rage, the question lies in how to maintain emotional regulation when behind the wheel.

What do you do? Share your tips on how to stay calm behind the wheel.

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