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.
- Engage in hostile, aggressive thinking and talk out loud: they insult other drivers, express disbelief about other’s driving, or think of getting revenge.
- 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.
- 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.
- Had twice as many car accidents in driving simulations and reported more near-accidents and speeding tickets.
- 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