25 August 1999
by Kate Melville
Do you view all other motorists as possible psychopaths? If the answer is yes then you may be a seriously aggressive driver and not even know it
New research psychologist Dr. Rebekah Lynch, of Colorado State University (and others) has found that angry drivers who indicate they don't have a problem with driving anger can be just as angry and dangerous on the road as those who know they are aggressive drivers
The study used college students (male and female) who reported more anger in response to fourteen common driving situations than 75% of their fellow students. These situations could include hostile (obscene) gestures, illegal driving (speeding, disobeying traffic laws etc), rudeness and slow driving. Participants were classified into one of three groups: HAP - High trait driving anger students who indicated a personal problem with their driving anger and a desire for counseling HANP - High trait driving anger students who described themselves as not having a problem with driving anger LANP - Low trait anger students, who indicated no personal problem with driving anger.
The researchers found that overall both HAP and HANP were more similar to each other than different. Both high anger groups were at greater risk for more anger, aggression, unsafe behavior and certain types of accidents. The study authors say even though both groups were at greater risk, different interventions are needed to reduce road rage.
According to Dr Lynch, "Because they acknowledge problems and are interested in counseling, HAP drivers appear ready for psychotherapeutic and psycho-educational interventions. HANP drivers, on the other hand, because they do not perceive or at least acknowledge problems will require new interventions which focus on increasing their awareness of their problems and their readiness and motivation to address them."