Often erroneously called road rage, aggressive driving has long been a problem on our nation's roads. Statistics link one-third of all highway crashes to aggressive driving and to two-thirds of all traffic fatalities. While many studies have addressed the risks and behaviors of aggressive drivers, a new study has examined how personality, attitude and values contribute to this risky driving behavior.
Driving is more than a freeing experience. It is considered one of the most common consumptive behaviors. In a study published in the October 2011 edition of Journal of Psychology and Marketing, Temple University Fox School of Business Professor Ayalla Ruvio and a team of researchers analyzed study results that considered consumer behavior perspectives and driving. The Ruvio article, entitled "Aggressive Driving: A Consumption Experience," reviewed two driver behavior studies completed in Israel. In one study, 100 surveys from young drivers focused on the influence of attitudes, values and personalities. The second study reviewed by the Temple research team analyzed data from nearly 300 people on factors such as impulsivity and risk attraction as it relates to driving.
Ruvio's study suggests that drivers who perceive their vehicles as an extension of self are more prone to aggressive driving behaviors and less inclined to driving cautiously. In a more rudimentary level, these drivers may consider their car and road space as personal territory and seek to defend and control it as needed.
The study also revealed that many with impulsive tendencies are more likely to drive aggressively and disregard the potential consequences of this behavior. In addition, this same class of drivers also admits to a higher incidence of breaking traffic laws. Increased materialism and a sense of being under time pressures also contribute to more aggressive driving habits.
Aggressive drivers are prone to speeding, tailgating, honking horns, and disregarding basic traffic and safety laws. As a result, other drivers and their passengers may be at risk for associated bodily injuries. While minor scrapes and bruises may be the least concerning injuries, other motorists involved in an accident are also at risk for broken bones, sprains, strains, and injuries to the neck, head and back. In extreme causes, permanent disability or death can occur.
While many people focus on the ills of drunk and distracted driving, aggressive driving is also a dire threat to public safety. Drivers and their passengers should know and practice aggressive driver intervention and avoidance strategies as a precaution. In the event of an accident, the injured party may be entitled to compensation for any losses. Speak to a personal injury attorney to help hold the responsible driver accountable for your injuries.