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Study: Aggressive Driving Fueled by Anger Strongly Associated with Higher Crash Risks

by John Gomez | Last Updated: September 26, 2016
Aggressive Driving

We have all seen ‘that’ driver on the roads from time to time – the one who seemingly has steam coming out of his or her ears and whose driving maneuvers reflect that mindset.  Perhaps some of us have even been that person occasionally if not more often.  We should realize that angry driving is dangerous driving.

We should understand the effects that anger has on our driving.  When we are angry, we are putting ourselves and those around us in a position of heightened risk.  Until recently, we did not really understand how much risk we were generating when we drove angry.  Thanks to a recent study, we may now begin to measure the risks generated by aggressive driving borne of anger.

About the Study

The study appears in Transportation Research Part F: Traffic Psychology and Behaviour.  Those interested in reading the abstract can find it here.  Canadian researchers completed the study and it focused on drivers in Ontario.  12,830 people completed surveys between the years of 2002 and 2009.  Adult motorists in the area generated these responses.  The survey asked the respondents some questions about collisions that may have occurred within the previous 12 months.  The survey also included questions about whether those respondents had driven with any sort of aggression during that previous year.

What the researchers found may not necessarily be surprising, but it is still quite telling:

  • 8 percent of respondents stated that they had been in a collision during the previous year.
  • Those who had reported no aggression while driving were one-third less likely to be involved in a collision than those who admitted to minor aggression.
  • Drivers reporting both minor and serious aggression were 78 percent more likely to be involved in a crash than those with no aggression.
  • The risk of driving with serious aggression was seen as the equivalent to driving after consuming cannabis.

As stated above, it should come as no surprise that anger leads to aggressive driving.  It should also come as no surprise that aggressive driving creates a higher risk of accidents.  What has been surprising to many is that driving aggressively raised the risk of an accident by such a large amount.  Hopefully more research will follow this study to see just what tends to trigger this anger and aggression in drivers.

Aggressive Driving and Potential Liability

Aggressive driving leads to poor decisions.  Poor decisions lead to accidents.  Accidents lead to serious injuries or worse.  If you cause such an accident because of aggressive driving or any other form of negligence, you could face significant financial liability.  Therefore, if you find that you’re angry either before you get behind the wheel or after you’re already driving, do what you need to do to eliminate that emotional state.  Drivers need to stay calm and think as clearly as possible.

If you or someone you love has been injured by aggressive driving, you need to take action to protect your legal rights.  Contact a San Diego car accident lawyer at Gomez Trial Attorneys today for a free case evaluation.


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