It might not come as much of a shock to many of you to learn that the 'fairer sex' isn't particularly fair behind the wheel. Quite the contrary, in fact – new research has found women are more likely to turn the air blue with swear words when driving.

The study, which was conducted by insurance company Direct Line, questioned 2,013 motorists on their driving habits. It found 48 per cent of women use foul language when at the wheel compared with 40 per cent of men.

Being cut up by another driver caused the most aggression, with more than a third of female respondents saying this was a good enough reason to show the finger or holler a rude word. Only a quarter of men bothered to react in the same way in the same situation.

Other causes for foul language include drivers pulling out of junctions without leaving enough of a gap, drivers using mobile phones at the wheel and drivers who fail to indicate.

Drivers who use sat-navs were found to be the the most sweary. Likely frustrated by poor directions, traffic, their own tardiness or a combination of several factors, 55 per cent of respondents admitted to using words best avoided in polite society.

It may come as no surprise to learn motorists aged 20-29 years old swore the most when driving, with 58 per cent admitting the use of aggressive language, compared with 15 per cent for those aged between 40 and 49.

Men did prove themselves to be ruder than women on one specific occasion: 15 per cent of men admitted to swearing when someone is in the overtaking lane but not overtaking, compared with 7 per cent of women.

Direct Line spokesman Simon Henrick said of the findings: "People often use bad language during times of stress and many normally mild mannered people use expletives to express their irritation when behind the wheel.

"The concern is that the use of aggressive language and offensive gestures towards other motorists can escalate an already stressful situation and it can also quite feel intimidating for passengers in the vehicle," he added.

While swearing can help you let off steam, particularly when you've just spent jour entire journey surrounded by people who appear to be heading home from a frontal lobotomy, it can actually make things a whole lot worse. Case in point: when the bloke in front gets out with a baseball bat in hand. If you do have to cuss, it's best to make sure you are not stuck at the lights next to the person you've just told to **** off.

Source: Direct Line
Image: Flickr