Bad drivers are a turn-off

Study found bad driving reduces attractiveness in potential partners
Study found bad driving reduces attractiveness in potential partners

Men behaving badly behind the wheel are a turn off for four out of five women, according to a new report.

Boy racers who display road-rage, make rude or aggressive gestures, or rev car engines to impress passengers

are 50 per cent less attractive than motorists with good driving skills.

And because their performance leaves much to be desired, they are more likely to be overtaken in the romance department by more competent male drivers who can demonstrate smooth clutch control and good lane discipline.

These were the findings of the first ever scientific study into driving skills and desirability carried out by the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM).

The report found bad driving significantly reduces the levels of attractiveness in potential partners – with women finding it particularly off-putting.

The IAM teamed up with prominent behavioural psychologist Jo Hemmings for the study.

Candidates were shown videos of both good and bad driving whilst being tested for their levels of attraction towards the driver using pulse rate, pupil dilation, blink rate and body language.

Attractiveness dropped from 4.8 to 2.8 in women proving the most significant reduction, with 84 per cent of candidates reporting more negative feelings towards the driver after experiencing their incompetence on the road.

The pulse rate of 60 per cent of female candidates increased whilst watching bad driving manoeuvres, with a 20 per cent increase for a third indicating a significant rise in stress levels.

But it’s the aggressive and confrontational manoeuvres which were found to be most unattractive to women – with road rage, illegal overtaking and tailgating topping a list of gaffes that provoke the strongest negative reactions.

While reactions in men were found to be less significant, with just over a quarter (28 per cent) reporting a dislike for the driver after seeing them behind the wheel.

Body language indicators showed that for men, instead of stress, frustration was the overwhelming response. Candidates were found to frown, become agitated and shift position as they watched videos of parking, turning the car around or other examples of distracted or preoccupied behaviours.

Jo Hemmings, behavioural psychologist, said: “There is no doubt that across the board most candidates, and nearly all of the women, found bad driving to be a turn-off.

“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.”