What is it about getting behind the wheel of a car that brings out those feelings of hatred and anger?

At least, that's the case for approximately 79 per cent of all Canadian drivers, who 'fessed up to feelings of road rage in a recent survey from online car insurance comparison service, Kanetix.ca.

And despite plenty of informal — and formal — studies analyzing the difference between men and women's driving abilities, it looks like the genders are almost equal when it comes to the phenomenon. Though men in Ontario clocked in at 83 per cent admitting to white knuckles at the wheel, numbers for women are on the rise, with 72 per cent saying they definitely have felt some anger in the car.

The theories as to why road rage might be taking over abound, including a simple equation that sees people driving more, with an increase in cars on the road. However, researchers at the University of Chicago put some psychology into play as well, stating to LiveScience.com that it's the driver's perception of having been insulted that can bring on the anger.

"For instance in driving, if you are kind and let someone go in front of you, that driver may be considerate in response. But if you cut someone off, that person may react very aggressively, and this could escalate to road rage," explained University of Chicago psychology professor Boaz Keysar to the publication. "Small slights could escalate to unbelievable, irrational feuds."

So what kind of behaviours specifically bring on the road rage? According to Kanetix's survey, it's the following:

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  • Distracted Driving

    Besides the fact that it's likely illegal, drivers who are distracted or not paying attention, like those on their phones, made 49 per cent of people react with road rage.

  • Being Cut Off

    "Someone cutting me off" was found to be the cause of road rage for 44 per cent of people, which falls right in line with research that finds that negative actions are perceived as worse than positive actions.

  • Aggressive Drivers

    "People driving aggressively around me" accounted for 39 per cent of road rage. Interestingly, people not driving aggressively enough did not make the list.

  • Tailgating

    Having someone tailgating, or driving far too closely behind them, brought out the road rage in 35 per cent of drivers.

  • Running Late

    Tick tock, tick tock. The pressures of getting behind schedule proved to incite road rage in 34 per cent of drivers.

  • Lack Of Merge

    A car that won't let you merge can cause road rage — in the case of at least 27 per cent of drivers.

  • Gridlock And Heavy Traffic

    Who hasn't gritted their teeth when presented with terrible traffic — especially at unexpected times? Twenty-four per cent of drivers surveyed agree.

  • Detours And Construction Delays

    Finding out you have to take a new route can mean agony for 20 per cent of drivers.

  • City Driving

    Not used to downtown driving? For those who stick to quieter streets — perhaps the 16 per cent of people who agree with this one — driving in the city can mean major stress.

  • A Bad Day

    Ever had a terrible day compounded by driving annoyances? Oh yes, you and 16 per cent of other drivers.

Do you agree with these findings? Vote in our poll, and leave a comment below!

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