The truth about road rage

Road Rage

The truth about road rage: what really gets drivers and their passengers hot under the collar?

Getting lost en route to a destination is the biggest cause of unrest on the roads, that’s according to a new report produced by the AA.

An AA-Populus survey has revealed the most common reasons for arguing between driver and passenger. The study asked 23,085 AA Members what they argued about in the car and constructed a list of 10 favoured topics.

In total 65% of people say they argue in the car, suggesting Britain’s roads are filled with as many ill-tempered disputes as amiable chats. The age group most likely to fall out with each other are the 18-24 year olds – standing at an impressive 73%. Meanwhile the coolest category is the over 65s, of whom only 60% admit to arguing.

Road Rage

Geography seems to make a difference also, as Northern Irish drivers are the most likely to row based on area, compared to motorists in the South East, who were found to be relatively relaxed in the company of passengers.

When it comes to arguments, directions is comfortably the number one reason for discontent. It should come as no surprise that the biggest irritant to drivers and passengers alike is selecting the correct route to a given destination. And closely related to this, refusing to stop and ask for directions came third on the list of pet peeves, demonstrating just how divisive the subject is to most people.

Speeding was another topic to receive a high score, coming in second across the board. The Northern Irish clearly like an argument about how fast or slow they’re going, as they scored highest for this among the various geographical categories. Only the 35-44s did not score this a high second place.

For this age category it is noisy children who cause the most upset, a finding which suggests that the clichéd image of children screaming ‘are we there yet?’ from the back seats may, in fact, hold true.

For women, the key topic of (heated) debate is directions, but for men this is skewed in favour of speed, with arguments occurring over how fast or slow they are perceived as going.

Top 10 causes of arguments in cars

  1. Knowing the way to go
  2. Driving too fast
  3. Not asking for directions
  4. Noisy children
  5. Shouting at other drivers
  6. Temperature in the car
  7. Not agreeing on where to eat
  8. Not agreeing on what to listen to
  9. Topic of conversation
  10. Driving too slowly

AA president, Edmund King, has some advice for drivers, saying,

‘Long journeys often get fraught.  The key thing is taking time to prepare well for the journey, which should help keep arguments at bay.  Simple things like checking AA Route Planner before you leave and having an up to date atlas can help with issues over directions.’