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by Tim Beissmann

You’ve heard of small man syndrome, but do drivers of small cars suffer from a similar need to overcompensate for their vehicle’s diminutive dimensions? According to a study commissioned by local insurer AAMI, the answer is yes.

A survey of 3740 drivers conducted by Newspoll found drivers of small cars are more likely to drive after taking illegal drugs and use their phone to read or send emails or text messages while behind the wheel.

Three quarters of all small-car owners surveyed admitted to “sometimes driving dangerously”, more than any other driver category.

Forty-six per cent of small-car drivers admitted to gesturing rudely at other motorists compared with 36 per cent of large-car drivers, while 23 per cent said they tailgated versus 18 per cent of large-car drivers.

But unlike small man syndrome, it appears ‘small car syndrome’ is most prevalent among young women, with females aged 18 to 24 who own small cars the most likely to engage in aggressive or reckless driving.

AAMI’s David Skapinker suggested one explanation for the small car syndrome phenomenon could be that drivers were trying to “compensate” for their compact ride.

“Drivers of small cars are significantly more likely to gesture rudely and deliver a mouthful of verbal abuse towards another driver, and they’re also significantly more likely to tailgate than drivers of larger cars,” Skapinker said.

“Regardless of what size or kind of car you drive, the road rules apply to everyone. We all have a responsibility to stay safe on the roads.”




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