Angry Driver with Road RageEnlarge Photo
It's funny how terrible drivers suddenly become experts on terrible driving when they get behind the wheel. We may be drifting out of our lane, our turn signal may have been blinking for the past five miles, but when we're driving, everyone else is an idiot.
This peculiar brand of egomania has a tendency to make motorists mad -- sometimes, very mad. How do we respond to the schmucks whizzing by us or putt-putting along in the passing lane? Do men and women behave differently when they become aggressive? And do they regret their behavior later?
The folks at Insurance.com surveyed 500 men and 500 women to find out. And just to make things interesting, they only surveyed adults with children 12 and younger.
The interesting thing is that, yes, men and women do respond differently to other drivers. According to the survey, here are the things that women do more often than men:
Swore in front of the kids while driving
Flipped someone off while driving
Brake-checked a car following too closely
Tailgated someone on purpose because he or she was going too slowly
On the whole, however, men had a wider array of responses to other drivers. And while we wouldn't necessarily say that men seemed meaner than women, they tended to be somewhat more aggressive. Here are some of the things that male respondents admitted to doing behind the wheel:
Honked at someone driving too slowly
Sped up significantly to prevent someone from passing you
Gone when it wasn't your turn at a four-way stop
Driven to the front of a merge line, then swerved and cut in
Stolen a parking spot someone else was waiting for
Driven in the breakdown lane around traffic
Sped up to block another car with its signal on
Chased after a car that cut you off so you could glare at/flip off the other driver
Swore in front of elderly in-laws while driving
Turned on your brights at an oncoming car just to be mean
Keyed someone's car
There was, however, one thing men and women did equally often: eight percent of women and eight percent of men had "dinged someone's car in a parking lot and driven away".
As far as regrets are concerned, well, that's a curious subject. Respondents seemed to be most remorseful when they had offended someone in their own car, or when they caused physical damage to another vehicle.
For example, 75 percent said they they'd regretted swearing in front of their kids, and 51 percent said they'd regretted getting potty-mouthed in front of the in-laws.
Another 62 percent said that they'd later felt bad about dinging someone's car and driving away, while 56 percent said they'd regretted keying someone's vehicle.
The least-regrettable actions were typically just rude, with no physical consequences. Some were also the sort of thing that could've been construed as unintentional, if a real confrontation had arisen.
For example, just 34 percent of respondents regretted brake-checking a vehicle that was following too closely. If confronted by the other driver, the respondent could've easily said that they hadn't noticed the person behind them, or that they'd braked to avoid a squirrel. (We've all done that, right?)
Of course, some people refused to feel sorry for their actions. In fact, a brazen 25 percent of respondents said that they had no regrets at all. So there.