Angry Driver with Road Rage

Angry Driver with Road Rage

Researchers at the University of California, Irvine may have discovered a gene that contributes to poor driving. Millions of people are now saying to themselves, "I knew it!," while another, certainly smaller, contingent are nervously Googling genetic testing centers.

The genetic excuse may be a valid one, according to the test's results, but it's still a bit on the early side to declare the findings conclusive. Testing 29 people, 7 of whom were known to have a certain gene variant, the UCI study found that those with the variant performed worse from the start, had a harder time learning and remembered less after a break from driving.

Testing involved a computer-simulated track with "difficult" turns and curves that participants drove 15 laps around before taking a four-day break and repeating the test.

The researchers were actually surprised that the data showed such a clear difference between the drivers with and without the gene variant. Driving is, after all, a complex set of motor and neurological skills, building on innate ability with learned behavior. So finding what may be a single factor that influences driving so clearly could be a breakthrough.

On the other hand, with such a small sample size and limited testing procedure, the results will require further validation and study before anything truly meaningful can be made of the gene variant.

For more technical details, you can catch the official press release at the link below.

[EurekaAlert via Jalopnik]