Academic journal article Social Behavior and Personality: an international journal

Motives for, and Attitudes about, Driving-Related Anger and Aggressive Driving

Academic journal article Social Behavior and Personality: an international journal

Motives for, and Attitudes about, Driving-Related Anger and Aggressive Driving

Article excerpt

Aggressive driving behavior is a global phenomenon that is occurring with increasing frequency. This form of on-road behavior increases risk and, consequently, the number of traffic accidents with human victims. The main aim in this study was to determine the relationships between motivation and attitudes, and between driving anger and aggression. The sample consisted of 137 men and 123 women. Our results showed that the prediction of driving anger was not highly dependent on motives and attitudes, and driving anger was likely due to other determinants (e.g., personality traits, on-road frustrations). However, motives and attitudes were shown to be very important in predicting aggressive driving.

Keywords: aggressive driving, driving anger, motivation, attitudes.

Aggressive driving is becoming a more frequent form of behavior on roads (American Automobile Association, 1997). The most extensive survey to date of driver opinions on aggressive driving was conducted by EOS Gallup Europe in 2003, covering representative samples of drivers in 23 different countries. In this survey, 75% of American drivers and 80% of European and Australian drivers believed that the aggressive behavior of drivers had increased over the past few years.

Aggressive driving can be defined as any form of driver behavior conducted with an intention to harm (physically or psychologically) or cause damage to other road users (Ellison-Potter, Bell, & Deffenbacher, 2001; Lajunen, Parker, & Stradling, 1998). Examples of aggressive driving include behaviors such as tailgating, hom honking, traffic weaving, excessive speeding, profanity, obscene gestures, headlight flashing, red-light running, and blocking the passing lane.

Findings in earlier research showed that aggressive driving was connected with traffic congestion (Hennessy & Wiesenthal, 1997; Shinar, 1998), drivers' anonymity (Ellison-Potter et al., 2001), heat (Kenrick & MacFarlane, 1986), the influence of other passengers in the car (Porter & Berry, 2001), the physical status of the automobile owner (Doob & Gross, 1968), road markers and vehicle identification markers (Szlemko, Benfield, Bell, Deffenbacher, & Troup, 2008), and the existence of aggressive stimuli (Ellison-Potter et al., 2001; Türner, Layton, & Simons, 1975). In this study we were concerned with aggressive driving predictors, and our research follows two Unes: situational and individual predictors of aggressive driving.

Regarding individual differences, it was found in several studies that male participants were more aggressive than females, and that younger persons were more prone to aggressive driving than were older persons (Blanchard, Barton, & Malta, 2000; Krahe & Fenske, 2002; Wiesenthal, Hennessy, & Gibson, 2000). It was also found that aggressive behavior in traffic was associated with personality (Benfield, Szlemko, & Bell, 2007; Bone & Mowen, 2006), traits of anger and aggression (Deffenbacher, Huff, Lynch, Getting, & Salvatore, 2000; Lajunen & Parker, 2001), Type A personality (i.e., those with a chronic sense of being in a hurry, easily angered, hostile, competitive, impatient, aggressive, and with discourteous verbal and psychomotor manners; Perry & Baldwin, 2000), and susceptibility to driving stress (James & Nahl, 2000).

There are few published studies concerning anger at the wheel. Lajunen et al. (1998) argued that in the anger data there were no systematic gender differences in the amount of reported anger, while the driver's age and annual mileage were negatively related to anger. These researchers found that amongst UK drivers, anger was evoked by impeded progress, reckless driving, and direct hostility. In the aforementioned study it was also shown that self-evaluated safety skills negatively predicted anger evoked by impeded progress and direct hostility, while perceptual-motor skills had a positive relationship with anger evoked by impeded progress. …

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