If you’re female and drive, you may be more likely than men to experience road rage.
Well, that’s what a survey sponsored by CareerBuilder.com concluded. Of the survey’s respondents, 61 percent of women said they reported feeling road rage. By comparison, just 56 percent of men said they felt road rage. The survey, carried out by market research company Harris Interactive, questioned nearly 3,900 U.S. workers.
When it comes to the entire U.S. population, however, are women really more prone to road rage than men? “Not necessarily,” says Leon James, professor of psychology at the University of Hawaii and founder of DrDriving.org. “It is more likely that men don’t admit it as much as women do.”
Honesty and perception are main factors of road rage, James says. “It is possible that women have a lower threshold for what they call road rage. Men can get angry and yell, but they may not consider this road rage.”
For both men and women, getting angry while behind the wheel can result in crashes, injuries and, in some cases, the loss of your auto insurance policy. “Road rage can affect the life of you and your family,” says Kirk Bernard, a lawyer at Bernard Law Group, a law firm that handles personal injury and wrongful death cases in Seattle. If you injure – or, worse, kill someone – the emotional and legal consequences of those actions can affect you for the rest of your life.
Road rage and auto insurance
Here are three ways road rage can affect your auto insurance.
1. It’s a crime.
Road rage often is grouped with the term “aggressive driving,” but the two actually are different.
Aggressive driving involves following another car too closely, driving at excessive speeds, weaving through traffic, and running stop lights and signs, among other things, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
Road rage, on the other hand, goes one step further. It usually involves angry and violent behavior that result from aggressive driving, such as speeding while trying to run another car off the road. While aggressive driving is a traffic violation, road rage is a criminal offense, NHTSA says.
If you’ve been convicted of road rage, that criminal offense could make it difficult to take out an insurance policy. “If you’re applying for auto insurance and have road rage listed on your driving record, some companies won’t even offer you the insurance,” says Billy Van Jura, an insurance broker in New York.
For an insured driver, being convicted of road rage also could have serious consequences. An insurance company may choose to drop the driver’s policy or not renew it, Van Jura says.
2. The claims process may result in fewer dollars.
If you purposely run into another car, your insurance company may not cover all of the work needed to repair the damage. That’s because an auto insurance policy isn’t designed to cover intentional acts, Van Jura says. In the event of a claim, the amount of money you’ll receive will depend on the repairs being done, your policy and your insurance company.
3. Safe driving can bring rewards.
To avoid road rage, try leaving your house a bit earlier to reach your destination, says Robbie Cutcliffe, owner of Wheels Milwaukee, a driving school in Wisconsin. An extra five minutes can help you stay calm and not feel the stress of running late while driving. Then, check to make sure you’re not following the car ahead of you too closely, and pay careful attention to the road in front of you.
Completing a safe-driving course also can help reduce your chances of road rage. Some insurance companies will give you a discount for completing a driving course. Others will offer discounts for drivers who’ve been accident-free for a certain period. Allstate, for instance, offers a savings of 45 percent or more on auto insurance for safe drivers.
Men, women and auto insurance rates
Overall, women tend to get into fewer crashes than men, according to the nonprofit Insurance Information Institute. This gives women a better safety record on the road. All other things being equal, women generally pay less for auto insurance, the institute says.
The exact difference between what women and men will pay for auto insurance can vary, Van Jura says. For instance, a 35-year-old woman driving a Volkswagen Jetta may pay less than a 35-year-old man driving a Jetta for the same amount of coverage. However, it may be only a slight difference, such as $20 a year.
While gender does play a role in auto insurance, other considerations, such as driving history and credit score, affect your premium even more, Van Jura says.