They may be the butt of chauvinist jokes but it seems women drivers could end up having the last laugh, according to new research by satnav firm TomTom.
That’s because men’s stress levels soar a staggering seven times higher than a woman’s when stuck in heavy traffic. Psychologists tested volunteers for the rise in stress chemicals in their saliva when caught up in a traffic jam.
The levels for women in the study increased by 8.7 per cent while stuck behind the wheel – but for men it shot up by a worrying 60 per cent in the same gridlock scenario.
Two thirds of the women and half of the men reported not feeling any stress after 20 minutes in heavy traffic, even though the readings proved they were.
Almost half of all adults commute to work by car on a daily basis and those who are exposed to constant traffic jams could eventually fall to stress-related health problems. It may also make their driving erratic and potentially dangerous said health psychologist David Moxon.
Men could get more stressed because their normal reaction to a difficult situation is known as ‘fight or flight’ – which means either confront it or walk away from it. However, stuck behind the wheel in motionless traffic does not leave them either option so they sit and get frustrated.
Women, on the other hand, cope better using methods as simple as singing to the radio to relieve the pressure.