NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


June 25, 2008

Drivers who sport bumper and window stickers on their vehicles are more prone to road rage, say researchers at Colorado University.

The researchers have released a new study which discovered that motorists with personalized items on a vehicle are more likely to be aggressive drivers.  Assessing the behavior of 500 drivers, they found that in the face of provocations such as being stuck in traffic, owners of cars covered with stickers and trinkets -- known as territory markers -- were more likely to act on their anger by flashing lights, tailgating and blocking other drivers.

Other major findings:

  • Drivers with at least one marker in or on their car were 15 percent more likely to retaliate when they felt their territory had been threatened.
  • The more markers a car has, the more aggressively the person tends to drive when provoked.
  • The specific content of the stickers -- be it "Grumpy old Git or "Baby on Board" -- did not make a difference in how aggressive the driver was.
  • Drivers who do not personalize their cars get angry, too, but they do not act out their anger; instead, they fume and mentally call the other driver rude names, but then move on.

Another study, from the University of Maryland, has discovered that people who get upset while driving also get worked up at children's sporting events.  Researchers said an "ego defensiveness" comes into play, which is common to both road rage and touchline rage.

Source: Vikki Miller, Bumper Stickers Linked to Road Rage Drivers," The Telegraph, June 26, 2003.


Browse more articles on Government Issues