According to a survey conducted by the American Automobile Association (AAA), men drive more aggressively than women. The survey found that men outpace women in nearly every aggressive driving category – excessive speeding (52%), tailgating (37.8%), aggressive hooting (35.4%), running red lights (32.2%) and dangerous lane switching (31.5%) – but women are not completely blameless.
1st for Women recently conducted its own survey to gauge if and how South African women keep their cool on the road, and the results were strikingly similar to the AAA survey.
“Our research revealed that women frown upon reckless activities such as tailgating (8.3%), running red lights (11.1%) and dangerous lane switching (2.8%) but do admit to speeding (47.2%) and aggressive hooting (25%),” says Seugnette van Wyngaard, Head of 1st for Women Insurance.
To keep their cool on the road, women tend to leave earlier so they have more time to get to their destination (58.3%) and ignore aggressive drivers (50%). The majority of survey respondents found that listening to Gospel or R&B music helps soothes flaring tempers.
“Speed is a factor in approximately one-third of fatal crashes on South African roads. Speeding not only increases your chances of having an accident but it also drastically increases the severity of a crash and injuries when it happens. We urge South African motorists – both men and women – to stick to the speed limit at all times,” says van Wyngaard.
Here are some of 1st for Women Insurance’s essential tips for avoiding road rage:
- Get enough sleep. The National Sleep Foundation found that tiredness is a contributing factor to road rage and makes us more prone to anger and annoyance. In addition, the foundation also states that going just 18 hours without sleep is comparable to having a blood alcohol content of 0.05%
- Don’t rush. Do you often whiz through your morning routine chaotically hoping to get to work just in time? If so, then give yourself some extra time to actively plan, to get dressed, prepare those school lunches, fill up the fuel tank in time and make your appointment. More time means calmer driving.
- It’s not a tank. Remember that your vehicle is a mode of transportation, not a weapon. Driving a car makes people feel more protected, allowing them to act in ways they normally wouldn’t. So when another driver swerves into your lane on their cellphone, respond as though you’re not in a car.
- Listen to mood music. It makes sense that classical music, relaxing tunes or even comedy will reduce your stress. You can even try an audiobook to tune out the rat race outside your car.
- “Just breathe” really works. Relax that grip on the steering wheel and unclench your teeth. Some deep breathing exercises and even stretching behind the wheel can cool off a hot temper.
- It’s not about you. The fact that someone else is driving badly is not a personal attack. Hostility is toxic for your health so no matter how much someone has angered you, try and let it go.
- Analyse your own behaviour. Do you speed? How often do you text and drive? Do you often swear while driving? If so, you might be the aggressive driver.
- Practice kindness. Follow the “do unto others” rule.