Aggressive Drivers Often Identify With Their Vehicles

Seeing your car as an extension of yourself may raise your risk for accidents, research shows

WEDNESDAY, Nov. 9 (HealthDay News) -- Viewing your car as an extension of yourself can lead to aggressive driving, a new study warns.

In the United States, aggressive driving leads to one-third of all road crashes that cause personal injuries and two-thirds of all fatal crashes. The study is believed to be the first to take a close look at the link between personality, attitude, values and aggressive driving.

"It explains much of the phenomenon we knew existed," lead author Ayalla Ruvio, an assistant professor of marketing at Temple University Fox School of Business in Philadelphia, said in a university news release. For example, "we know men tend to be more aggressive drivers and we know men tend to see their cars as an extension of themselves more than women."

Ruvio and a colleague used 134 surveys of men and women in Israel, average age 23.5 years, to examine the influence of personality, attitudes and values on driving. The researchers also looked at the factors of risk attraction, impulsivity, driving as a hedonistic activity and perceptions about time pressures among another 298 people.

The study authors found that people who believe their car is a reflection of their self-identity are more likely to drive aggressively and disobey the rules of the road, and that people with compulsive tendencies are more likely to drive aggressively without regard for potential consequences.

Other factors associated with aggressive driving include: placing great importance on material possessions; being under time pressure; and being young and overconfident.

The findings "suggest that the perception of the car as an extension of the self leads to more aggressive behavior on the road rather than increased driving cautiousness," and that "individuals may view cars and the road space they occupy as their territory and will seek to maintain control over it and defend it as necessary," the authors concluded.

The study is published in the November issue of the journal Psychology & Marketing.

More information

The American College of Emergency Physicians has more about aggressive driving.

Robert Preidt SOURCE: Temple University, news release, October 2011

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