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Cycle of rage and anxiety


1923 Aston Martin for sale at Bonhams Goodwood festival of Speed on June 26

1923 Aston Martin for sale at Bonhams Goodwood festival of Speed on June 26

1923 Aston Martin for sale at Bonhams Goodwood festival of Speed on June 26

IT isn't that surprising that a survey released last week found that 5.30pm is the most stressful time to drive on Irish roads, with one-in-five drivers saying that they feel most anxious behind the wheel around then.

You are coming back from work, everybody is tired, you may be rushing to pick up the children from the creche and traffic might be gridlocked. I try to never drive in either the morning or evening rush hours.

I'd prefer to structure my day to minimise the stress or use my bike or public transport, although I see that the survey conducted for Toyota Hybrid found that one of the principal stress triggers were cyclists not observing the rules of the road.

However, the most common was people pulling out and switching lanes without looking. Another key finding was that 55pc of people admit to suffering from driving stress up to four times per week and one-third of Irish people have experienced road rage.

This research was conducted in tandem with the release of findings from 'The Hybrid Experiment' conducted by i2 research*, which found that over 80pc of people felt less angry, frustrated and stressed and more happy and calm in a hybrid car relative to a non-hybrid car.

The Hybrid Experiment was commissioned by Toyota Europe and aimed to investigate the effect of different powertrains - hybrid, petrol, diesel - on the driver experience. Rome, Italy, renowned for its stressful and challenging driving conditions, was chosen as the setting for the experiment.

Significantly lower levels of stress were recorded by all participants after driving a Toyota Hybrid through traffic than a non-hybrid. I think this is because the cars are quieter, you can feel a bit smugger, you are probably saving money and you can think you are also saving the planet.

On the whole, I like hybrids better than full-electric cars because they get over the range anxiety and that would just be another reason to get stressed and blow your top.

When asked if they had ever lost their temper towards their follow road users, 42pc of people admitted to having driven deliberately slowly in front of another car, while 32pc owned up to having gesticulated rudely to another road user. Others' bad behaviour of choice was tailgating (18pc) - my particular horror - with a relatively low 5pc of Irish people admitting to have deliberately cut in front of another driver.

Sunday Independent