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UK study finds women are angriest behind the wheel

Hyundai Motor UK has found women tend to be angrier drivers than men in a research study of 1000 UK drivers.

On average women are 12% angrier behind the wheel than men, a trait linked to ancient human hunter-gatherer behaviour as part of our evolutionary instincts when tested.

Researchers discovered that when undertaken, offended against by other drivers, or were being instructed by ‘back-seat drivers’, women were more likely to respond with anger than male counterparts.


R-L: Patrick Fagan, Goldsmiths University London, stinks up the car. Enough to make anyone mad.

Lead experimenter, behavioural psychologist Patrick Fagan from Goldsmiths University London, performed ‘sense tests’ on the 1000 driver subjects including sight, smell, taste, touch and hearing to provoke emotional responses in a variety of driving situations.

The study found happiness (felt by the freedom of driving) and anger (the lack of control) were the two dominant emotions. Other conclusions included the primary reason for our enjoyment of driving was the freedom and independence it instill in us, 54% of British subjects found happiness is best found while driving by singing, and that “empty roads”, “countryside” and “seaside” make us happy behind the wheel.

“Psychologically, women score higher than men on emotional and verbal intelligence, and on the personality trait of neuroticism,” he said. “Evolutionary theory suggests our early female ancestors had to develop an acute sense of danger for anything that threatened them and their young if their cave was undefended while men were out hunting. That early-warning system instinct is still relevant today, and women drivers tend to be more sensitive to negative stimuli, so get angry and frustrated quicker.”angry-women-drivers-3

Hyundai and Fagan’s research data has been used for cutting-edge technology such as facial coding, eye-tracking analysis galvanic skin response and a heartrate monitor to record specific stimuli while we’re driving to develop a Driving Emotion Test (DET). The data feeds software that generates a score.

Take the online version of the DET here.