- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 28, 2000

Not too many years ago, the drivers who would rip and snort their way though traffic, without regard for turn signals or leaving more than a few inches between cars, were almost always men.

But more and more women are dangerously aggressive drivers, and it is no longer unusual for a woman to take the next step from aggressive driving to road rage, actually committing acts of violence from behind the wheel.

Barbara Curbow, an assistant professor of social and behavioral sciences at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, has looked into the driving behavior of some working women, and it's not a pretty picture.

Miss Curbow has found that when women face a demanding job in the workplace and are then confronted with the additional stress of trying to provide a good home life for their families, they often become Mad Maxine on the road.

"Women are just feeling pressed by trying to fulfill both of these big roles," she said.

Studying the driving habits of 218 female telecommunications workers, she found a majority (56 percent) were married or living with a partner. Most (67 percent) had more than a high school education and an even larger number (76 percent) were parents. They averaged 42 years old with 18 years on the job.

Her most shocking findings: 56.1 percent admitted they drove aggressively. A quarter confessed they "take my frustrations out from behind the wheel." Two in five admitted they yelled or gestured at other drivers.

"I think there's just more anger in general in our society," Miss Curbow said. "And I think there's a great sense of anonymity in our society. Instead of just swallowing these feelings, I think [women feel they can] just let them out."

Miss Curbow found more correlation between home lives and road rage than job-related bad driving.

"Road rage was highest for women with low home rewards and high home responsibilities," she said.

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