Study Finds Link Between Cars, Identity and Aggressive Driving

A recent study conducted by Temple University Fox School of Business and published in the Journal of Psychology & Marketing suggests drivers who view their cars as extensions of themselves tend to be more aggressive in their driving habits. Published as Aggressive Driving: A Consumption Experience, Ayalla Ruvio, lead author and assistant professor of marketing, believes this to be the first comprehensive examination of how personality, attitude and values often lead to aggressive driving.

Featuring two studies conducted in Israel, researchers surveyed men and women in their early 20s. The findings revealed several key indicators of drivers who tend to be more aggressive:

  • View their cars as extensions of themselves
  • Feel the road is their territory and work to control and/or defend it
  • Do not consider the consequences of their actions
  • Admit to breaking the law more frequently
  • Have compulsive tendencies
  • Are materialistic

In the United States, aggressive driving accidents are quickly becoming a serious and costly problem. Defined by the national Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) as "a combination of moving traffic offenses so as to endanger other persons or property," aggressive driving is cited as the cause of one-third of all accidents resulting in personal injury and two-thirds of all deadly crashes. And, according to the U.S. Department of Energy, aggressive driving can lower gas mileage by up to 33 percent.

Though the majority of aggressive drivers tend to be young males, then tendency to drive recklessly extends beyond age and gender boundaries. For example, actor Jack Nicholson is recorded as grabbing a golf club and repeatedly striking the windshield and the roof of a Mercedes he believed cut him off in traffic.

Some incidents of aggressive driving are attributed to trivial events such as being "cut off" in traffic or having a parking place "stolen." However, studies similar to the Temple study have found the majority of incidents are often the cumulative result of stressors such as time pressures, traffic, emotionally-challenging situations or professional setbacks.

The NHTSA believes it is important to "get to the point in society where aggressive driving simply is not acceptable." To do this, many states have implemented aggressive driving laws in addition or enhancing reckless driving laws. However, many of these laws are inconsistently enforced. To remedy that, the NHTSA is encouraging law enforcement agencies to be more vigilant in identifying and citing dangerous drivers.

If an aggressive or reckless driver caused you to get into a car accident where you were injured, you should speak to a Raleigh aggressive driving accident attorney. An experience personal injury attorney can help you pursue compensation to cover the costs of your expenses such as lost wages and medical bills as well as your payment for your pain and suffering.