AAA: Men Really are More Aggressive Behind the Wheel

New research shows differences between men and women drivers

PORTLAND, Ore., – Data gathered by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety confirms the perception that men tend to speed, tailgate, merge dangerously, and make rude gestures or honk at other drivers more than women. The survey finds that women also admit to some dangerous driving habits, such as running red lights. With everyday stress already compounded by the global pandemic and now the holiday season, which can elevate tensions on the road, AAA urges drivers to keep their cool and avoid dangerous driving habits.

Aggressive Driving Behaviors among Male and Female U.S. Drivers, 2019                                                                                                                                  

  Male Female
Drove 15 mph over the speed limit on a freeway 52.0% 44.6%
Followed the vehicle in front closely to prevent another vehicle from merging 37.8% 29.3%
Made rude gesture/honked at another driver 35.4% 28%
Drove through a red light 32.2% 30.0%
Drove aggressively by switching lanes quickly and/or very close behind another car 31.5% 21.4%

AAAFTS Aggressive Driving 12-2020

Research from the AAA Foundation for traffic safety also finds that:

  • 32 percent of drivers (70.7 million estimated) made rude gestures or honked at other motorists at least once in the previous 30 days.
  • 31 percent of drivers (68.5 million estimated) drove through a red light at least once in the previous 30 days.
  • Overall, younger male and female drivers tend to be more aggressive than older drivers.

Find the report here.

AAAFTS Aggressive Driving 12-2020

Regardless of gender, nearly 8 in 10 (79%) American drivers demonstrate aggressive behaviors when behind the wheel. Speeding tops the list, with men being the biggest culprit, though women are not far behind.  Contrary to common perception, speeding does not save time on the road. The average amount saved on a 5-mile trip, driving 65 mph on a 45 mph posted road, is only 1.9 minutes.

“Speeding, red-light running, and cutting other drivers off can not only kill you and your passengers, but can put everyone sharing the road at risk,” says Marie Dodds, public affairs director for AAA Oregon/Idaho. “When you get behind the wheel, try to be patient and kind, and comply with traffic laws so that everyone can get home safely.”

AAA advice for drivers:

  • Follow posted speed limits.
  • Maintain an adequate following distance—don’t get too close to the vehicle in front of you.
  • Use turn signals.
  • Allow others to merge.
  • Use your high beams responsibly.
  • Be considerate in parking lots—park in one spot, not across multiple spaces. Be careful not to hit cars next to you with your door.

A driver may be stressed or react wrongly to another driver’s action on any given day, and the holidays can create additional pressures and anxiety. Add the worries and concerns tied to the coronavirus pandemic, and even the calmest, most safety-conscious drivers can find themselves frustrated by other drivers.

“If you encounter an aggressive driver on the road or find your own temper rising, take a deep breath and safely create distance between you and other drivers. Aggressive drivers are likely not thinking about their potential impact on others until it’s too late,” says Dodds.

AAA offers these tips to help drivers manage aggressive driving scenarios:

  • Don’t Offend: Never cause another driver to change their speed or direction. That means not forcing another driver to use their brakes or turn the steering wheel in response to something you have done.
  • Be Tolerant and Forgiving: The other driver may just be having a really bad day. Assume it’s not personal.
  • Do Not Respond: Avoid eye contact, don’t make gestures, maintain space around your vehicle, and contact 9-1-1 if needed.

AAAFTS Aggressive Driving 12-2020

For more information, visit www.aaa.com/preventroadrage

AAAFTS Aggressive Driving 12-2020

AAA news releases, high resolution images, broadcast-quality video, fact sheets and podcasts are available on the AAA NewsRoom at NewsRoom.AAA.com.

Find local news releases at https://oregon.aaa.com/community/media/media-contacts.html

For more info go www.AAA.com.  AAA Oregon/Idaho provides more than 820,000 members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services, and is an affiliate of AAA National, serving more than 60 million motorists in North America.