Aggressive driving connected to identifying with your car

Consumer Reports News: October 21, 2011 01:23 PM

Drivers who consider their car an extension of their identity are more likely to behave aggressively behind the wheel and break the laws of the road, a new study finds.

The two-part study, “Aggressive Driving: A Consumption Experience,” examines how personality, attitude, and values contribute to aggressive driving behaviors. Published in the Journal of Psychology & Marketing, the survey was conducted by Temple University Fox School of Business Professor Ayalla Ruvio.

Ruvio found that drivers with compulsive tendencies are more likely to drive aggressively with disregard for possible consequences. In addition, those who admit to aggressive driving also admit to engaging in more incidents of breaking the law. Study authors also state that younger drivers still in the early stages of forming a self-identity might feel the need to show off more than others while behind the wheel. They may also be overconfident in their skills and underestimate the risks involved in reckless driving because of a lack of experience on the road.

The findings are based on research conducted in Israel. One study interviewed 134 men and women with an average age near 23 about the influence of personality, attitudes, and values on driving. The second study included interviews of 298 people, looking at factors such as risk attraction, impulsivity, driving as a hedonistic activity, and perceptions about time pressures.

Study findings also included:

  • Increased materialism, or the importance of one’s possessions, is linked to increased aggressive driving tendencies.
  • A sense of being under time pressure leads to more aggressive driving.

Perhaps it is not a surprise that aggressive driving tendencies increase incidents of drivers break the law. The study authors state 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.

Aggressive driving: A consumption experience [Wiley Online Library]
Associating Your Car with Your Identity Leads to Aggressive Driving [Newswise]

Maggie Shader

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