Survey Says: Men Are More Aggressive Behind the Wheel

Dec 1, 2020

AAA urges motorists to keep their cool as research shows gender differences in aggressive driving behavior

BELLEVUE, Wash. — 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. Overall, younger male and female drivers tend to be more aggressive than older drivers. With everyday stress already compounded by the pandemic and now the holiday season, which can elevate tensions on the road, AAA urges motorists 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 above speed limit on a freeway 52% 44.6%
Followed vehicle 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%
Drove aggressively — switching lanes quickly and/or very close behind another car 31.5% 21.4%

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 a mere 1.9 minutes.

“Speeding, red-light running, and cutting other drivers off can kill you, your passengers, and others sharing the road,” said Jake Nelson, AAA’s director of traffic safety advocacy. “Driving aggressively isn’t worth the risk. When you get behind the wheel, be patient, be kind, and obey traffic laws so everyone gets home safely.”

AAA Rules of the Road:
  • Follow posted speed limits.
  • Maintain an adequate following distance.
  • 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 add to the strain and anxiety. Introduce the pressures and concerns tied to a global pandemic, and even the calmest, most safety-conscious drivers can find themselves frustrated by other motorists.

“If you encounter an aggressive driver on the road or find your temper rising, remember to slow yourself down, breathe deeply, and safely create distance between you and other motorists. Aggressive drivers are likely not thinking about their potential impact on others until it is too late,” added Nelson.

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 that 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.

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

About AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety:

Established in 1947 by AAA, the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety is a nonprofit, publicly funded, 501(c)(3) charitable research and educational organization. The AAA Foundation’s mission is to prevent traffic deaths and injuries by conducting research into their causes and by educating the public about strategies to prevent crashes and reduce injuries when they do occur. This research is used to develop educational materials for drivers, pedestrians, bicyclists and other road users. Visit www.AAAFoundation.org.

Media Contact

Jennifer Cook
Senior Manager, Corporate Communications
425-646-2055
JenniferCook@aaawa.com

Kelly Just
Manager, Public Relations
425-467-7740
KellyJust@aaawa.com

Location
Bellevue Corporate Office
3605 132nd Ave. SE
Bellevue, WA 98006

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About AAA Washington:

AAA Washington has been serving members and the traveling public since 1904. The organization provides a variety of exclusive benefits, including roadside assistance, discounts, maps and personalized trip planning, to its million plus members. In addition, its full-service travel and insurance agencies provide products and services for members and the public. Additional information is available through the company’s offices in Washington and northern Idaho, at www.AAA.com, or by calling 1-800-562-2582.

AAA Washington Media Contacts

Kelly Just | 425-647-1594
Jennifer Cook | 425-301-9075
Twitter: @AAA_Washington
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