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A Communicative Approach to Road Rage: Accounts of Driving and Retaliation
Unformatted Document Text:  Road Rage 20 was 55 mph), other drivers tailgated her car, screamed, and made obscene gestures. The episode gave her a new perspective on the road: “This incident has helped me to back off of other drivers when they are driving slowly. I have a sense of empathy for other drivers.” Discussion Findings Road rage behaviors, The purpose of this investigation was to examine the emergence and escalation of conflict between road rage participants. Accounts of recent instances of road rage were assessed. The results provide support for the notion that the car-driver relationship largely affects how people confront one another during road rage incidents. Vehicular Communication most often initiated the episode and represented the most common behavioral reaction to initiating behaviors. Within that general category, the most common initiating behavior was competitive. These results are not surprising, considering that when people are driving they are thinking about their own welfare and how to secure what they consider to be territorial rights. Consequently, this self-serving bias that is reflected in negative attributions toward the other person, leads to competitive behavior. Responses to the initiating behavior most often resulted in an intimidating behavior. This possibly demonstrates that once a competitive behavior is interpreted by another driver as intrusive, the resultant road rage behaviors are taken to a new realm of intimidating and dangerous behaviors. These results demonstrate the willingness of persons not only to reciprocate competitive conflict behavior, but also their willingness to escalate the seriousness and danger of the behavior. Emotional Reactions. Anger was the most frequently reported emotional reaction to another person's initiating behavior. People become defensive and enraged when other drivers act in ways that endanger them. As Hennessy and Wiesenthal (1999) claimed, “the expression of even mild aggression cannot be ignored as a potential source of physical and psychological danger within the driving situation” (p. 411). Such anger is then manifested in aggressive driving which increases the danger in an already dangerous situation. Fear was the second most common emotion, which is perhaps not surprising when one considers the

Authors: Canary, Daniel., Mikkelson, Alan., Switzer, Frank. and Bailey, Carrie.
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Road Rage 20
was 55 mph), other drivers tailgated her car, screamed, and made obscene gestures. The episode gave her a
new perspective on the road: “This incident has helped me to back off of other drivers when they are driving
slowly. I have a sense of empathy for other drivers.”
Discussion
Findings
Road rage behaviors, The purpose of this investigation was to examine the emergence and
escalation of conflict between road rage participants. Accounts of recent instances of road rage were
assessed. The results provide support for the notion that the car-driver relationship largely affects how
people confront one another during road rage incidents. Vehicular Communication most often initiated the
episode and represented the most common behavioral reaction to initiating behaviors. Within that general
category, the most common initiating behavior was competitive. These results are not surprising,
considering that when people are driving they are thinking about their own welfare and how to secure what
they consider to be territorial rights. Consequently, this self-serving bias that is reflected in negative
attributions toward the other person, leads to competitive behavior.
Responses to the initiating behavior most often resulted in an intimidating behavior. This possibly
demonstrates that once a competitive behavior is interpreted by another driver as intrusive, the resultant road
rage behaviors are taken to a new realm of intimidating and dangerous behaviors. These results demonstrate
the willingness of persons not only to reciprocate competitive conflict behavior, but also their willingness to
escalate the seriousness and danger of the behavior.
Emotional Reactions. Anger was the most frequently reported emotional reaction to another
person's initiating behavior. People become defensive and enraged when other drivers act in ways that
endanger them. As Hennessy and Wiesenthal (1999) claimed, “the expression of even mild aggression
cannot be ignored as a potential source of physical and psychological danger within the driving situation” (p.
411). Such anger is then manifested in aggressive driving which increases the danger in an already
dangerous situation.
Fear was the second most common emotion, which is perhaps not surprising when one considers the


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