Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Vehicle personalization = road rage

From /. comes this finding from Colorado State University. Szlemko found a link between road rage and the number of personalized items -- such as bumper stickers -- on or in people's vehicles.
"The number of territory markers predicted road rage better than vehicle value, condition, or any of the things that we normally associate with aggressive driving,' says [ Colorado State University psychologist William ] Szlemko. What's more, only the number of bumper stickers, and not their content, predicted road rage... Szlemko suggests that this territoriality may encourage road rage because drivers are simultaneously in a private space (their car) and a public one (the road). 'We think they are forgetting that the public road is not theirs, and are exhibiting territorial behavior that normally would only be acceptable in personal space,' the researcher says.
The full article in Nature is behind a paywall, but there's plenty of commentary at Discover Magazine, Chicagoist, Pure Pedantry, WSJ Buzzwatch, and elsewhere.


cafiend said...

Funny. I have a number of small stickers on my car, entirely humorous. I do get pissed off on the road, but only by people I view as pushy bastards driving in a way I feel is rude and intimidating not just to me but to everyone else. I particularly dislike tailgaters. People drive too fast and act like they're in a race.

This study needs more refinement. What constitutes rage?

Warren T said...

If you don't like tailgaters, maybe your stickers should be bigger ... or less entertaining.

The most agressive driver I've encountered recently had a "Coexist" sticker. Thought that was wonderfully ironic.

James said...

I have a "share the road" sticker on my car. I am a courteous, law abiding driver anyway, but I think just knowing the sticker is there makes me drive even more carefully for the reason Warren mentioned. I mean it would be pretty bad to cut someone off so they could read my share the road message on my bumper.