A new Driving Emotion Test has been designed by psychologists to enable drivers to find out how likely they are to get wound up in their car. Using technology that monitored people’s facial reactions, where their eyes were looking, and their heart rate, 1000 drivers were tested. The researchers from Goldsmiths, University of London fed the data into a computer using specially created software.
The result gave each participant an individual score and the results revealed that women drivers tend to get angrier than men. If you dispute this, you can have a go using a version of the Driving Emotion Test on a special website set up by car company Hyundai which commissioned the research.
What did the Driving Emotion Test find?
The tests included drivers being undertaken, honked at, shouted at and having to deal with back-seat drivers or people who failed to indicate. The results showed that women were 12 per cent more likely to react angrily than men. Men, meanwhile, are more comfortable opening up if they’re in a car. Just fewer than a third of men (29 per cent) said they find it easier to have a conversation in a car. And 14 per cent even claim that they drive better if they’re having a chat.
Why do women drivers get cross?
Psychologist Patrick Fagan revealed there could be a very good reason why female drivers blow their top at the wheel more frequently. He said: “Psychologically, women score higher than men on emotional and verbal intelligence, and on the personality trait of neuroticism. 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.”
Why was the Driving Emotion Test carried out?
The study was conducted because behavioural psychologist Patrick Fagan believes that by understanding our emotions when driving, we can all reduce stress, distraction and frustration. And this is vital because latest government figures show that the number of distracted drivers causing accidents is on the increase, and so is the number of drivers who don’t see hazards – until it’s too late.
What’s the main in-car distraction?
Using a hand-held mobile phone at the wheel has been banned for more than a decade. But some safety campaigners believe talking on any phone while driving poses an unnecessary risk. Dr Graham Hole, senior lecturer in psychology at the University of Sussex is one of them. He explained: “In psychology there are a lot of contradictions. But over the years, research has been done into the effects of mobile phones on drivers in all kinds of different conditions and the results have been amazingly consistent: driver performance is impaired. I would ban the use of phones by drivers altogether. I don’t think their use is compatible with driving.”
How bad is the problem of in-car distraction?
Estimates by the European Union suggest that anywhere between 10 and 30 per cent of road accidents are caused by distraction. According to police in the UK, in-vehicle distraction caused 99 of the 1469 fatal road accidents last year. However, 400 of all fatal crashes were caused by drivers failing to look properly. And that number has increased steadily over the past three years. The Institute of Advanced Motorists believes cars themselves could be to blame. Chief executive Sarah Sillars said: “While car makers work constantly making us safer than ever before, they are also guilty of making us too comfortable and making us feel more cosseted.”