Bad Driving Makes You Unattractive

We all know the safety and courtesy arguments for being a good driver, but this is a new one – bad driving makes you unattractive. If you are a man and you want to turn a woman off, do an illegal overtaking manoeuvre or engage in a spot of road rage. If you are a woman you can make yourself unappealing to men but doing bad three point turns, or using your phone while driving.

This comes from scientific research organised by the Institute of Advanced Motorists in the UK. They teamed up with a prominent behavioural psychologist, Jo Hemmings. She conducted the research by showing both male and female subjects videos of good driving and bad. While they were watching the videos the psychologist tested things like their pulse rate, pupil dilation, blink rate, and body language.

This enabled the psychologist to determine how attitudes changed while the videos were being watched. The difference was greatest in the female subjects. When they saw bad driving by men, they regarded those men as 50 percent less attractive than before they saw the video.

The biggest reactions in women were prompted by aggressive and confrontational driving. Over 80 percent of women said they found drivers less attractive after viewing this sort of behaviour.

Men’s attitudes towards women who drove badly did not change as much, but they did change. The men in the study regarded women who drive badly as being 28 percent less attractive.

The men also responded to different types of bad driving, and their response was different. The women reacted with stress indicators when they watched bad driving in men, which is why they particularly disliked aggressive driving. When the men watched the women their response was frustration rather than stress. This means they responded more markedly to things like bad parking or a lack of concentration.

The psychologist Jo Hemmings explained the difference in the reactions to bad driving between men and women. She said the research shows that bad driving prompts strong emotional responses, which in turn has an effect on desire. But she added that the way men reacted was very different to women.

“There is no doubt that across the board most candidates, and nearly all of the women, found bad driving to be a turn-off,” Ms Hemmings said. “However, it’s interesting to look at the reactions of different genders. Some male reactions to bad driving included laughter and amusement, indicating that men have a less mature emotional response to bad driving than women who instead furrowed their brows and shook their heads.”

Other research has made similar findings. For example one of the biggest turn-offs on a first date is bad driving.

So, according to the science, if you want to be attractive to the opposite sex, you have to drive well.

Top 5 driving behaviours that turn off women

  • Illegal overtaking
  • Road rage
  • Bad parking
  • Texting whilst driving
  • 3 point turn

Top five driving behaviours that turn off men

  • Three point turn
  • Taking selfies at the wheel
  • Texting whilst driving
  • Driving the wrong way round a roundabout
  • Bad parking

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