A new traffic study has vindicated all your morning rage after finding that men driving vans, trucks and luxury cars are the least likely to be courteous on the road.
The study, reported on today’s print edition of The Sunday Times of Malta as well as the latest edition of the Maltese scientific journal Xjenza, investigated the instances where drivers provided “courteous access” and where they did not.
Edward Attard-Montalto from Bath University and Simon Attard-Montalto from the University of Malta carried out the study over 88 schooldays, where they drove towards a notoriously busy roundabout during morning rush-hour from a feeder road. The right of way is of other motorists, and the authors tallied the number of times where they were allowed to pass and thereby given “courteous access”.
Over the course of six months, the study did not just look at overall figures, but also took note of motorists’ car brands, the perceived age and gender of motorists, how many passengers were in the car as well as weather conditions.
A 1998 Opel Corsa, gone past its prime, was used throughout the entire study. Less than a quarter of motorists the study interacted with allowed “courteous access”, just 43 out of 185 interactions. It was the kind of car being driven which seemed to make the biggest difference on the way motorists would act, rather than weather or the presence of other passengers.
The study found that medium sized cars were most likely to let the testers pass, far more than those in small-sized cars, trucks, vans or luxury vehicles. Combining gender and car type is reported to have shown a significant difference in behaviour, with men aged 40 and over in medium sized vehicles most likely to provide access. They did so 40% of the time when surveyed. Their counterparts driving large and/or work vehicles performed the worst: they provided access just twice out of the 28 interactions.
The Attard-Montaltos are reported to have acknowledged the results could have been different had the study been conducted at different times of the day, using a flashier car or in different localities, suggesting a wider study could be carried out.