Road Rage Monkey Meter Banner

Contributing Factors To Aggressive Drivers

The items on the following list are from multiples sources that can contribute to the incidence of aggressive driving compiled by NHTSA.

  • Increased congestion on roadways;
  • Running late, too many obligations;
  • Anonymity provided by a closed vehicle;
  • Disregard for others and the law;
  • Chronic or pathological anger;
  • Traffic jams caused by construction zones with little or no work going on;
  • Fewer mental health services available than in the past;
  • Violent video games;
  • Violent films and television programs;
  • Increased levels of intrapersonal and interpersonal stress, including stress associated with employment, two-career families, familial relationships, child-care issues, elder-care issues, and fundamental economic and technological changes in society;
  • Loud, thumping music on the car radio while driving;
  • The need to “save face”and overcome feelings of being disrespected by another driver;
  • The need to assert one’s identity and maintain control in a situation where one fears losing control;
  • A cultural focus on “time”as a limited resource, including concerns about “saving time,”“using time wisely,”“being on time,” and “time is money”
  • A human need for “space”that causes some drivers to be territorial about infringements on their space;
  • The summer heat;
  • Popular culture’s focus on machismo and masculinity;
  • Increased immigration trends leading to a mixture of different driving styles;
  • A widespread increase in interpersonal violence, including murder, domestic abuse, and street crime;
  • A focus on individualism that produces a “me first”mentality;
  • Oppressive social conditions that produce feelings of alienation in individuals;
  • Slow drivers (especially in the “fast lane”);
  • Defensive driving habits that produce an inflated concern about the poor driving skills of others;
  • A lower emotional intelligence and moral character than exhibited in past societies;
  • An innate human drive to aggression;
  • Decreased drivers education in schools;
  • Reduced levels of traffic enforcement;
  • Ignorance about the “rules of the road”
  • Dehumanization of the other;
  • An attempt to attain power in an otherwise powerless existence;
  • Increased commuting distances and durations;
  • Fewer people relying on mass transit and more relying on cars;
  • An increased sense of invincibility behind the wheel of a 3,000-pound vehicle;
  • A cultural propensity to promote and reward competitive, tenacious, and aggressive behavior; and,
  • An individual propensity to perceive one’s vehicle as an extension of oneself.


Information provided by National Highway Traffic Safety Administration