G.L.Piggy [at] gmail.com
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A recent online survey conducted by Careerbuilder has been snaking its way through various media channels. Here’s the key finding which has been relayed from Fox News, CBS, etc. and all the way up to Drudge:
Women were more apt to feel road age – 61 percent compared to 56 percent of men. In terms of age groups, workers ages 25 to 34 were the most likely to experience road at 68 percent while workers 55 and older were the least likely to experience it at 47 percent.
61% versus 56%. Here’s Fox News’ in-house psychiatrist comments in a Fox News piece:
Psychiatrist Dr. Keith Ablow suggests that a possible reason for the split between the sexes is that “women may be less in touch overtly with their aggression and, therefore, more vulnerable to it being tapped by circumstances on the road.” He adds that the feeling of anonymity people get behind the wheel may lead them to lower their inhibitions and allow them to stray from their otherwise polite or nurturing nature. (emphasis mine)
We’re talking a 5% split on an online (read: unscientific) survey and Ablow gets called in to explain it as a socio-psychological phenomenon.
Regardless of what constitutes a surprising enough split, we should think a bit more about what else is implicit in this survey. What is not controlled for. The survey simply asks men and women if they “feel road rage”. This is a relative term. What one person considers road rage another person may not. And I’d argue that men may tend to underestimate if and when they experience road rage. Women, on the other hand, being more foreign to outward displays of aggression as Ablow points out, have a less rigorous definition of road rage.
At the same time that I criticize this study I admit that I may be extrapolating based upon just how fucking pissed I, a man, get when driving and how clueless and unaffected by idiot drivers my girlfriend (or mom or any other woman I’ve ever ridden in a car with) is when driving. Other research has been conducted on road rage and rage in particular and found that men experience this much more than women – which is what we’d expect. This isn’t to brag that men are aggressive street buffoons. I’d just like to shoot down a claim being kicked around as mindlessly as a hacky-sack at Woodstock II.