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Workplace stress risks highlighted in road rage research

The links between work-related stress and road rage have been highlighted in new research revealing the levels of road rage in the UK.

Angry woman driver

The research found women tend to get more angry behind the wheel

A survey conducted for mobile workforce tech firm BigChange has found that one in five (20%) of UK drivers, equating to some 7.5 million road users, experience road rage at least once a week, while 6% – over two million drivers – get it every day.

The study of more than 1,000 drivers showed that regular road rage was most common amongst younger drivers. Almost half of 18-34 year olds (42%) admitted to experiencing road rage at least once a week, falling to 20% of drivers aged 35-54 and just 7% of those over 55.

The survey, published as part of Leaders for Life, a new campaign to help business leaders promote safer driving at work, revealed that female drivers were also more likely to experience road rage than their male counterparts. More than a quarter (27%) of women who drive regularly for work admitted to getting road rage at least once a week, compared to less than a fifth (18%) of men. This builds on Hyundai research from two years ago that found women tend to get more angry than men behind the wheel due to driving sparking ancient ‘defence’ instincts from when humans were hunter-gatherers.

Commenting on the BigChange research, Paul Hackett, founding partner of The WellBeings.London, a health and wellness insight-led growth consultancy, highlighted the links with workplace stress.

“Working hard, late-night shifts, tight deadlines are among the litany of workplace factors that have a psychological impact on employees. If those employees then carry their stress with them behind the wheel, we know the likelihood of them driving erratically is significantly higher. A stressed or anxious driver’s heart rate can accelerate from a typical 70bpm to over 180bpm; a dangerously high rate for many. Anger narrows a driver’s focus of attention, most often resulting in the driver becoming territorial and impatient – which, in turn, means the driver is more likely to speed or commit other inappropriate driving behaviour,” he commented.

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Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for nearly 20 years, previously as assistant editor on the former Company Car magazine before joining Fleet World in 2006. Prior to this, she worked on a range of B2B titles, including Insurance Age and Insurance Day.