133 Road Rage Characteristics

Based on research by Deffenbacher, J.L., Deffenbacher, D.M., Lynch, R.S., & Richards, T.L. (2003) from the American Psychological Association,  adapted by Juanita N Baker, Ph.D.

What is road rage?

In studies of anger and aggressive driving, counseling psychologist Jerry Deffenbacher, of Colorado State University, found that people who identified themselves as high-anger drivers differ from low-anger drivers in five key ways.

High-anger drivers:

  1. Engage in hostile, aggressive thinking and talk out loud:  they insult other drivers, express disbelief about other’s driving, or think of getting revenge.
  2. Take more risks on the road: they drive 10 to 20 mph over the speed limit, rapidly switch lanes, tailgate and go through red lights.
  3. Get angry faster and act more aggressively such as swear or name-call, yell at other drivers, or honk in anger. And they’re likely angry not just behind the wheel, but throughout the day.
  4. Had twice as many car accidents in driving simulations and reported more near-accidents and speeding tickets.
  5. Experienced more anger, anxiety and impulsiveness. Work or home stress exacerbates high-anger drivers to express their anger outward and act impulsively

One third of drivers report having road rage, although less than 2 percent engage in serious violent behavior. Let’s monitor and reduce our anger and stress, the risks are too high.


Deffenbacher, J.L., Deffenbacher, D.M., Lynch, R.S., & Richards, T.L. (2003). Anger, aggression and risky behavior: A comparison of high and low anger drivers. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 41(6), 701-718.

Deffenbacher, J.L., Filetti, L.B., Richards, T.L., Lynch, R.S., & Oetting, E.R. (2003). Characteristics of two groups of angry drivers. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 50 (2), 123-132.

For more details see:


American Psychological Association, February 2014

Show More
Back to top button