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A Communicative Approach to Road Rage: Accounts of Driving and Retaliation
Unformatted Document Text:  Road Rage 5 were positively correlated with intentions to involve the police, whereas low levels of retaliation were negatively correlated with the desire to involve the police. Accordingly, we adopt the following definition: road rage refers to the use of behaviors that are intended to alter aggressive or otherwise annoying behavior of people using the road. The following paragraphs provide a thumbnail sketch of the kinds of issues that researchers are examining with regard to driving generally and road rage. Factors Associated with Road Rage The largest area of discussion in the literature focuses on the causes and factors associated with aggressive driving and road rage. Much has been written about gender in regard to the problem (Shinar, 1998, p. 143); however, some of it is equivocal and/or contradictory. For instance, Shinar (1998) claimed that effects due to sex differences are inconclusive with regards to driving aggression, however later studies found that young male drivers tend to be involved in more accidents than women and older men. Furthermore, researchers have argued that men (especially young males) are the most aggressive and dangerous drivers on the road (e.g., Dukes et al., 2001, p. 324; Harding et al., 1998, p. 226; Lowenstein, 1997, p. 263; Parker, et al., 1998, p. 12). For example, Lawton and Nutter (2002) found that men were more likely than women to use outward expressions of anger in various kinds of interpersonal contexts, including road rage. Yet others claim that women have become more aggressive in recent years and that men and women are now at least on equal ground when it comes to aggressive driving and road rage (e.g., Dukes et al., 2001, p. 324; Jonah, 1990, p. 145; Lupton, 1999, p. 62; Sultan, 2002). Age, however, is a much more consistent factor than gender in predicting aggression and rage. Most studies show that young drivers (18- 26) tend to more aggressive, temperamental, and violent on the road than are their counterparts (Dukes et al., 2001; Jonah, 1990; Matthews, Dorn, Hoyes, Davies, Glendon, & Taylor, 1998). Anonymity has been cited as a cause of road aggression and quick anger response. Ellison-Potter, Bell, and Deffenbacher (2001) reported a multivariate effect size ( 2 ) of .28 due to imagined driver anonymity. In that experiment, participants in the anonymous condition drove faster, ran more red lights, were involved in more collisions, and killed more pedestrians than did those who could be identified. In a field experiment, Ellison, Govern, Petri, and Figler (1995) found that people driving cars that were not

Authors: Canary, Daniel., Mikkelson, Alan., Switzer, Frank. and Bailey, Carrie.
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Road Rage 5
were positively correlated with intentions to involve the police, whereas low levels of retaliation were
negatively correlated with the desire to involve the police. Accordingly, we adopt the following definition:
road rage refers to the use of behaviors that are intended to alter aggressive or otherwise annoying behavior
of people using the road. The following paragraphs provide a thumbnail sketch of the kinds of issues that
researchers are examining with regard to driving generally and road rage.
Factors Associated with Road Rage
The largest area of discussion in the literature focuses on the causes and factors associated with
aggressive driving and road rage. Much has been written about gender in regard to the problem (Shinar,
1998, p. 143); however, some of it is equivocal and/or contradictory. For instance, Shinar (1998) claimed
that effects due to sex differences are inconclusive with regards to driving aggression, however later studies
found that young male drivers tend to be involved in more accidents than women and older men.
Furthermore, researchers have argued that men (especially young males) are the most aggressive and
dangerous drivers on the road (e.g., Dukes et al., 2001, p. 324; Harding et al., 1998, p. 226; Lowenstein,
1997, p. 263; Parker, et al., 1998, p. 12). For example, Lawton and Nutter (2002) found that men were more
likely than women to use outward expressions of anger in various kinds of interpersonal contexts, including
road rage. Yet others claim that women have become more aggressive in recent years and that men and
women are now at least on equal ground when it comes to aggressive driving and road rage (e.g., Dukes et
al., 2001, p. 324; Jonah, 1990, p. 145; Lupton, 1999, p. 62; Sultan, 2002). Age, however, is a much more
consistent factor than gender in predicting aggression and rage. Most studies show that young drivers (18-
26) tend to more aggressive, temperamental, and violent on the road than are their counterparts (Dukes et al.,
2001; Jonah, 1990; Matthews, Dorn, Hoyes, Davies, Glendon, & Taylor, 1998).
Anonymity has been cited as a cause of road aggression and quick anger response. Ellison-Potter,
Bell, and Deffenbacher (2001) reported a multivariate effect size (
2
) of .28 due to imagined driver
anonymity. In that experiment, participants in the anonymous condition drove faster, ran more red lights,
were involved in more collisions, and killed more pedestrians than did those who could be identified. In a
field experiment, Ellison, Govern, Petri, and Figler (1995) found that people driving cars that were not


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