WHAT IS THE GENERAL LEVEL OR INTENSITY OF AGGRESSIVE DRIVING IN THIS HAWAII SAMPLE?
IS THERE A GENDER DIFFERENCE?
If you conceptualize aggressiveness as a continuum from
very "slight" (1) to very "strong" (10) you can place yourself
somewhere in between, depending on how you perceive yourself and how you wish to represent
yourself. In terms of an overall self-rating on aggressiveness (question 2), the women
drivers are at the middle range (4.9) of the 10 point spread. The men drivers are slightly
above the middle point (5.8). This difference is not statistically significant with this
small sample of 12 men and 13 women. If you look at the whole sample, men and women
drivers, the mean aggressiveness rating is 5.4 which is close to the national average of
If you look at the occurrence of hostile emotions (question 5), some of these appear to
be more severe than others. Extreme anger and rage occurs with a surprising degree of
regularity for both men and women (4.9), or about half way to the maximum. The men admit
to anger and rage slightly more frequently than women (5.1 vs. 4.4), but the difference is
not statistically reliable. It could come up the opposite in another sample. Still, the
lack of gender difference shows that women drivers are not experiencing LESS rage than
men, though they may express it differently or less overtly. This is another issue to be
Men admit to enjoying fantasies of violence significantly more than women (3.9 vs.
1.3). Men feel more competitive than women drivers (4.8 vs. 4.0) but they feel equally
impatient (5.5). Men want to drive more dangerously than women (2.4 vs. 2.1), but this is
not significant. On the other hand, men feel more compassion (5.9 vs. 5.4), but this is
not significant. Women experience more fear for self and family (4.2 vs. 3.7), but they
are also experiencing less stress than men (4.7 vs. 5.4).
There are also positive things drivers feel toward one another and I think it's very
important to bring this out because it can form the basis for driver improvement and
personal standards. These positive feelings can form the motivation for improvement. They
act as inner incentives for being more supportive rather than merely hostile. For
instance, these drivers report that feeling compassion for another driver occurs more
regularly (5.5) than feeling competitive (4.6) or extreme anger (4.9). Women feel more
level headed and calm while driving than men do (7.2 vs. 6.5).
Obviously women are experiencing more trouble than men with the hostile driving
environment. Besides being unable to feel peace and serenity behind the wheel, the women
also experience fear for self and family in the car on a regular basis (4.2), while the
men seem to feel less of this (3.7). Assuming that fear acts as a deterrent to risk
taking, the women are less likely to drive aggressively than men, though this is only a
hypothesis right now. See here for further research on gender differences in driving.
These results on the kind of thoughts and feelings behind the wheel that men and women
report, are confirmed by looking at the overt acts drivers admit to doing. The survey
groups these acts into three types of aggressive behaviors:
Mild Road Rage or Impatience (Questions 9-16)
Serious Road Rage or Hostility (Questions 18-25)
Severe Road Rage and Violence (Questions 27-33)
Mild forms of road rage are reported more regularly by women than men (40% vs. 28%),
while more serious forms of road rage are reported about equally by men and women (8% vs.
7%). The women are more aggressive than the men, with respect to milder forms (lane
hopping, illegal turns, following very close, swearing, failure to yield, and going over
the speed limit by 15 mph).
Considering all forms of aggressive driving (combined), men admit to doing it with
greater regularity than women (3.9 vs. 2.1 on the 10-point scale).
When it comes to rating other drivers on their aggressiveness (question 6), men see
others as more aggressive than women see others, though the difference is not signficant
(5.6 vs. 5.1). Note that women see other drivers as more aggressive (5.1) than they see
themselves (4.9). It is the reverse for men. They see themselves as more aggressive (5.8)
than other drivers (5.6). This is a fundamental difference and needs further research.
Note that men rate themselves (question 1) higher on driving excellence (7.3) than women
rate themselves (7.1). This is not a statistically significant difference and we need to
see if this finding will be replicated in future samples.
In terms of attitudes towards law enforcement, driver ed, and insurance rebates, men
and women drivers differ in specific ways. Women are in favor of stronger law enforcement
(6.0 vs. 5.5 for men), more electronic surveillance (5.0 vs. 4.5 for men), tougher
licensing (7.8 vs. 6.8 for men) and more insurance rebates (8.3 vs. 7.9 for men).