Women dramatically more stressed behind the wheel than men

Women are far more likely to get stressed out while driving than their male counterparts, the results of the latest AA Motor Insurance poll would suggest.

 Selecting from a list of potentially stressful driving activities, such as talking to gardaí, entering and exiting motorways, and negotiating multi-lane roundabouts, female respondents consistently expressed far greater levels of anxiety than males.

 The AA Motor Insurance Poll reveals that in particular, female drivers find changing lanes at speed, overtaking cars, parallel parking, and motorway driving far more stressful than men. At 26.7 per cent, three times as many women as men said they find changing lanes at speed either quite or very stressful. Similarly, 24.7 per cent of women compared with 9.6 per cent of men felt the same way about overtaking other cars. And 36.9 per cent of women get knots in their stomach over parallel parking compared with just 14.4 per cent of men.    

 “It may be that a little stress is a good thing,” says John Farrell, director of AA Motor Insurance. “Women crash their cars far less than men do. Perhaps the men are a bit over-confident about driving manoeuvres that are genuinely complicated. 

“Feeling aggravated while driving can of course be a huge distraction, and something that we all need to guard against. But if you are nervous enough to be naturally cautious that can improve your driving by making you more careful.”

 The questions were asked as part of a major poll carried out between January 21 and January 28. Some 21,000 Irish motorists took part.

 As a whole, the AA Motor Insurance poll reveals that driving in an unfamiliar city is most likely to crank up motorists’ stress-o-meters. More than 70 per cent of drivers surveyed said they found this activity to be either somewhat or very stressful.  After this, driving in rush hour traffic is most likely to increase blood pressure with 47.7 per cent surveyed saying they find it stressful to some degree. Ranked third in the anxiety stakes is overtaking a bus or truck, 43.1 per cent find this stressful.


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