By on October 24, 2016

road rage (zlady/Flickr)

Duck. And. Cover.

In these politically correct times, where microaggressions and mansplaining — perhaps even manspreading — can ruin a career faster than you can say “culturally appropriated Halloween costume,” Hyundai has done the unthinkable. The automaker conducted a study to find out which gender fares better when it comes to anger behind the wheel, and the fairer sex lost.

Divisive? Perhaps, but the study also reveals the many things that unite us all.

Hyundai Motor UK commissioned Patrick Fagan, a behavioral psychologist from Goldsmiths University London, to test the responses of 1,000 British drivers to a number of driving scenarios.

The results? On average, women are 12 percent angrier behind the wheel. When dealing with a backseat driver, the female test subjects proved 14 percent angrier than men, and 13 percent angrier when dealing with motorists who fail to use their turn signal. Hey, maybe it’s just Brits.

The study blames deep-seated anthropological issues, which may or may not be offensive. According to Hyundai, “Researchers found driving sparked ancient ‘defence’ instincts from when humans were hunter-gatherers.”

“These evolutionary traits kicked in during the test when women were either undertaken, shouted or beeped at,” the automaker claims.

While no one wants to have their gender impugned, even when it comes to driving, can an offended person argue with science? (Our money’s on “yes.”)

According to Fagan:

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.

Road rage, of course, affects drivers of all genders. Every crowded freeway features at least one motorist, man or woman, taking his or her hands off the wheel in frustration, uttering something along the lines of, “Why would you do that? What the HELL is wrong with you? God!”

The study went beyond the differences between the genders, exploring issues that unite all of humankind. According to test subjects, personal freedom is still the main appeal of driving (51 percent), while mobility comes in at just 19 percent.

For men, sitting behind the wheel makes it more likely that they’ll pour out their soul, with 29 percent saying they find making conversation easier while driving. What makes all drivers happy? The open road, according to 84 percent of the participants. Another 78 percent specified “the countryside.” The top in-car activity that makes British drivers happy is singing, perhaps to Adele, or maybe some god-awful pop act from the 90s.

Speaking of music, the study also found that eight out of 10 drivers continuously play tunes while behind the wheel. The top tracks for driving enjoyment? Meatloaf’s Bat Out of Hell and Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody.

Hyundai claims it developed an industry-first Driving Emotion Test (DET) for use on its human guinea pigs, employing facial coding technology, eye tracking analysis, galvanic skin response and a heartrate monitor.

[Image: zlady/Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0)]

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