Jekyll and Hyde

style of driving

Angry woman driver, road rage

IN theory drivers are supposed to be like the good Dr Jekyll - polite, docile and right minded with an intense respect for the law.

But it appears that there may be a wicked Mr Hyde lurking unseen in more British drivers than we think.

It all stems from new researchfrom Churchill CarInsurance which exposes that more than 57 per cent of drivers they interviewed admitted they behaved differently when behind the wheel, acting more aggressively than they would normally.

Churchill compared displays of aggression on the road with those in person and found that while 31 per cent have sworn at strangers in the car, only 12 per cent have done so face-to-face.

While 26 per cent of motorists have shouted at others while driving, less than half (12 per cent) of that amount have done so in person.

One of the biggest catalysts for this so called "Jekyll and Hyde" style driving is the mistaken belief that this behaviour is acceptable when in the car.

My theory is that it may be perceived as acceptable because the shouter is in the car and can accelerate away from a potential punch in the face. It is all part of the "My car is my castle" mindset which has long been a factor in motoring - and not just in Britain.

An ex-Royal Navy friend said it is part of the "Brits in boats" attitude which has long been a factor of Britannia ruling the waves.

A psychologist consulted by Churchill states that in a car people feel disassociated from their environment, allowing them to express anger and frustration at another driver and even at life in general without the risk of direct conflict.

There is no one to criticise or in close contact, so people feel detached from situations and more able to express their feelings.

Aggressive driving ranges from beeping horns (33 per cent) and swearing at other drivers (31 per cent) to deliberately tailgating (11 per cent) and chasing someone's car in anger (four per cent).

In reality I doubt it can ever be stamped out in the current environment, but when driverless cars take sway on our roads who are they going to shout at?


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