The results from QUT’s Centre for Accident Research & Road Safety – Queensland (CARRS-Q) study, which investigated the thought processes involved in driver aggression, were presented at an international psychology conference in Paris recently.
CARRS-Q researcher Lauren Shaw said the study recorded the driving experiences of 209 Queensland drivers for one week, and found violating ‘driving etiquette’ was most likely to result in reports of anger and frustration.
“As part of the study drivers were asked to record the negative events they experienced while driving, and what they thought about other drivers and how that made them feel,” she said.
“The results surprisingly showed that rude and inconsiderate behaviour on the road was more likely to evoke feelings of anger and frustration than those who drove dangerously.”
Ms Shaw said when drivers failed to behave politely on the roads or showed poor driver etiquette, people responded in two ways.
“There were those who responded with aggressive behaviour and those that don’t respond at all, despite feeling angry,” she said.
“Those who do take aggressive-type action such as beeping the horn or raising the finger felt their behaviour was justified, to teach a lesson to someone who violated driving etiquette.
“Drivers who reported responding with behaviors like honking their horn expressed that they wanted their actions to communicate to another driver that their behaviour was rude and they should think about others.
“We also found that there were a number of drivers who, despite reporting they felt quite angered by poor driving etiquette, didn’t respond at all because they felt a level of superiority over the other driver.
“They refrained from an aggressive response because they felt behaving aggressively would lower themselves to the level of someone that they thought was rude.”
Ms Shaw said understanding the trigger of driver aggression was important to be able to develop strategies to reduce driver anger on the roads. Her next study will look at the psychological processes involved in driving.
“We want to look more closely at drivers’ beliefs, thoughts and perceptions in response to common driving situations,” she said.
The study is an online survey, takes about 40 minutes to complete and is open to Queensland drivers over 18. Those who complete the study will receive a $20 Coles/Myer voucher.
To register to participate, follow the link here
Those who register will be given email access to the survey.
Sandra Hutchinson, QUT Media (Tue, Wed, Fri), 07 3138 9449 or firstname.lastname@example.org
After hours, Rose Trapnell, 0407 585 901