Road Rage, Part IV

Part 4: Introduction (cont.)

Aggression, whether acted out on the road or in other venues, is commonly divided into two motivational groupings: instrumental and emotional (also called “affective,” “angry,” “hostile,” “retaliatory,” and “impulsive” aggression). Examples of instrumental aggressive driving include speeding, failing to yield, taking a parking space another driver was waiting for, and other acts that may have as their goals getting to one’s destination quicker, sensation seeking, preserving one’s self-esteem, or other non-injurious self-serving motivations. Examples of emotional aggressive driving may include close following (i.e. “tailgating”), unsafe passing (i.e., “cutting off”), shouting, hand gestures (e.g., “flipping the bird”), or other potentially harmful acts that are motivated by anger in response to the perceived offensive acts of other drivers. It is not uncommon for one driver’s instrumental aggressive driving—or driving lapses or errors—to trigger another driver’s emotional aggressive driving. Some acts of aggressive driving—such as horn honking or flashing one’s lights—may have ambiguous motives and may fall into either category of aggressive driving depending on how the acts are perceived by other drivers.

More to come…

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