|Year : 2021 | Volume
| Issue : 2 | Page : 244-251
Road rage and driver anger-an Indian perspective
Varchasvi Mudgal, Vijay Niranjan, Pali Rastogi, Priyash Jain
Department of Psychiatry, M G M Medical College, Indore, Madhya Pradesh, India
|Date of Submission||17-Jul-2021|
|Date of Decision||11-Sep-2021|
|Date of Acceptance||13-Sep-2021|
|Date of Web Publication||29-Dec-2021|
Dr. Priyash Jain
Department of Psychiatry, M G M Medical College, Indore - 452 016, Madhya Pradesh
Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None
Background and Aim: Road rage is a term often used to describe driving usually extreme in nature. There seems to be a multifactorial relationship between the situational characteristics of an anger-provoking road situation and the consequent feelings of anger and road behavior. We focus on the dynamics of road rage and the current study pioneers to understand road rage and its correlates in Indian drivers. Materials and Methods: An internet based cross-sectional study was done involving 282 participants in India. The 33-item Driving Anger Scale was used to measure driving anger. Data were collected between January 2019 to April 2019. Anger assessment was done using the Deffenbacher Driver Anger Scale. Results: Significant driver anger exists among Indian drivers; with males reporting higher driver anger for situations involving police presence, while females reporting higher anger for hostile gestures and discourtesy situations, two-wheeler drivers displayed higher anger in illegal and slow driving situations. Conclusion: Our study reports high anger among Indian drivers and indicate that road rage is multifactorial. Stringent checks must be placed as a prerequisite for acquiring a driving license and the devils of road rage must be curbed through intensive awareness campaigns specific to vehicle type, car-pool incentivization, and public participation.
Keywords: Central India, correlates, driver anger, Indian drivers, road rage
|How to cite this article:|
Mudgal V, Niranjan V, Rastogi P, Jain P. Road rage and driver anger-an Indian perspective. Arch Med Health Sci 2021;9:244-51
| Introduction|| |
Road rage is a term often used to describe driving usually extreme in nature. Aggressive driving is another synonym for road rage which includes aberrant road behavior. The term “road rage” was first described in the USA in the late 1980s in the popular press and introduced to the UK in the 1990s. Road rage is considered as a driver's errant aggressive behavior secondary to the stresses and conditions of driving and other drivers. The vital constructs seem to be aggression by a driver, provoked during a driving situation, which is directed toward another driver and may lead to loss of control. Many factors have been identified and established, which may influence the amount of anger experienced by drivers during various situations and incidents. Some factors such as age, sex, type of vehicle, and road conditions have been known to exert an effect on anger experienced. Specific behaviors such as tailgating, abruptly taking a turn, driving too slow or fast for road conditions, cutting off drivers, excessive honking of horn or flashing of lights, deliberate obstruction, and using obscene gesture or language have been known to provoke anger in drivers., A single factor is unlikely to cumulate and result in a road traffic accident; rather, it is a multifactorial concept which leads to the accident or assault. There seems to be a multifactorial relationship between the situational characteristics of an anger-provoking road situation and the consequent feelings of anger and road behavior. Grossly, the road safety implications of aggressive driving remain unclear; research would suggest that it is becoming more prevalent. However, as per a few types of research, there is no evidence that driver aggression is anything more than behavior exhibited by individuals who show high levels of aggressive behavior in all domains of life.
Many studies have shown that men are more overtly aggressive than women despite similarities in the reporting of feelings of anger which implies a demographic causality of anger and needs to be affirmed.,, Studies have demonstrated the advantages of Internet research, because of the potentially large subject pool., Meaningful information on whether road rage is increasing or decreasing is difficult to get and what exists is contradictory. Media reports suggest an increasing trend of road rage. Moreover, studies of road rage in the Indian context which has such a huge driver population are severely lacking. At present, research on characteristics influencing driving anger in India is scarce. There is a huge increase in the number of motor vehicles and traffic density, which can be attributed to diversified and cheap vehicle-owning policies and easier financial support for vehicle ownership. Indian drivers are primarily private car or bike drivers. Previous research had numerous caveats including lack of diverse participants, small sample size, and crude statistical inference. In this article, we focus on the dynamics of road rage and the current study pioneers to look at driver anger with regard to sociodemographic structure and driver correlates in Central India involving various sections of the society, which could help in better identification of current limitations of policies and improved implementation of traffic regulations.
| Materials and Methods|| |
This study examined the driver anger profile of participant drivers residing in Central India and risk factors associated with it. Participants were asked to complete an internet-based questionnaire which consisted of a semistructured pro forma including sociodemographic profile, anger assessment while driving using the Deffenbacher Driver Anger Scale, and details of the driving. General Health Questionnaire which is a measure of mental health was used to screen mental illnesses. It aimed to investigate the types of road incidents which may evoke feelings of 'frustration and or anger' while driving and the domains of such situations along with exploration of the person-related and situational factors which may contribute to road rage. The form was formulated using Google Forms, and E-mail ID of each participant was mandatory to avoid redundancy of resubmission. After approval from institutional review board, the survey was available online for participation from January 2019 to April 2019. A total of 327 drivers participated and filled the form, out of which 40 forms were incomplete and rejected, while 5 participants checked for not providing consent in the form, bringing a total of 282 sample eligible for analysis. Inclusion criteria included age greater than 18 years, providing informed consent, and fluency in English. Participants provided informed consent and confirmed that they were at least 18 years old and had experience in driving to take part. Participants were recruited through networks of authors and institution. The survey was disseminated electronically.
Driving Anger Scale
The 33-item, original Driving Anger Scale (DAS) was utilized for the analysis of road rage. The DAS includes subscales involving various situations such as hostile gestures, illegal driving, slow driving, traffic obstructions, discourtesy, and police presence. The drivers were instructed to rate the perceive anger they would experience in response to each construct, which is on a Likert rating between 1 = not at all angry, 2 = a little angry, 3 = some anger, 4 = much anger, and 5 = very much angry. The scale displayed high reliability for the current sample, which was validated using Cronbach's alpha, which is a common measure of internal consistency.
| Results|| |
The mean age of the samples was 26.1 years, with 24–29-years' age group making the majority (50.4%) [Table 1]. It was observed that male samples included 62.1% of the whole sample. In context of education, there was preponderance of graduates at 53.2% followed by postgraduates at 38.7%. Professionals dominated the makeup of occupation at 45.7%, followed by students at 44.7%. Most of the study population belonged to urban background (83.7%). Most of the participants belonged to nuclear family at 68.1%. At 80.1%, most participants were unmarried, while about 78% samples had family income per month ₹10000 or above.
[Table 2] describes driving parameters of participants. Most participants at 62.8% did not take a formal training from a motor institute. About half of the study samples at 53.2% drove <1 h/day, followed by 1–4 h/day making up 42.9%. Majority of the participants at 81.2% held a valid driving license. About 83% of the participants possessed a personal vehicle. At 68.4%, most of the participants drove a two-wheeler vehicle followed by four-wheeler vehicle at 30.5%. The vehicle was used by majority of participants for personal use at 93.6%. Driving under influence was done by a meager 8.5% participants. About 35.5% of the participants have usually driven to relieve stress. 25.5% of the samples had gotten into an altercation with another driver at least once. About 38% of the participants were involved in an accident in the past 5 years. Of all the participants, 36.2% had been booked at least once for traffic rule violation.
As per [Table 3], the highest anger was registered on Defenbacher Likert scale for the following situations; someone cuts in right in front of you on the motorway (discourtesy subscale) with a mean of 3.44, driving behind a vehicle that is smoking badly or giving off diesel fumes (Traffic Obstruction) with a mean of 3.38, Someone coming toward you does not dim their headlights (Discourtesy subscale) at night with a mean of 3.26.
Situations with the least anger experienced on Defenbacher Likert scale are the following: when you see a police car watching traffic from a hidden position (mean = 2.07), a police car is driving in traffic close to you (mean = 2.15), and you pass a radar speed trap (mean = 2.22). The situations provoking least anger all belong to the police presence subscale.
As per [Table 4], we found that Indian drivers scored highest on the traffic obstruction subscale (3.0), which is comparable to studies from US; however, other countries like UK and Spain had lower scores of traffic obstruction in comparison to other subscales. Hostile gestures had the second highest measure of anger; similar findings were reported by other countries like China, UK, and USA. Police presence subscale had the lowest mean anger, which concords with findings from other countries.
|Table 4: Comparison of driver anger scores of various countries as per Driving Anger Scale subscales|
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The mean total anger and anger for 6 different subscales are presented in relation to various categorical variables such as gender, crash occurrence, and vehicle type [Table 5]. Independent t-tests were used to investigate gender differences. Driving anger for females was higher than that among males for discourtesy and hostile gestures (P < 0.05). Male participants reported significantly more anger provoked by police presence (P < 0.05). There was no significant difference in total anger between males and females (P > 0.05).
|Table 5: Comparison of driver anger scores with various categorical variables|
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The total anger and the 6-dimension mean between drivers who had experienced traffic accident in the past and those who had not were analyzed using independent t-tests which indicate that overall anger scores did not vary between participants who had accident than who never had one. Drivers who had experienced traffic crashes scored higher in anger related to slow driving (P < 0.05).
Independent t-tests did not find any difference between drivers who drive two wheelers and those who drive four wheelers. Illegal driving and slow driving situations produced higher anger in two-wheeler drivers than four-wheeler drivers (P < 0.05)
Analysis revealed that the drivers without any legal driving license had higher anger in the presence of police and situations involving slow driving when compared to drivers having legal driving license. However, the total mean anger between the two groups did not vary significantly (P < 0.05)
In [Table 6], the relationships between driving anger and demographic characteristics were examined using Pearson's correlational analysis. Age and daily average were negatively correlated with total driving anger, while education years were positively related to total driving anger.
|Table 6: Pearson correlation coefficients (P value) for driving anger with continuous variables|
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| Discussion|| |
This study investigated driving anger in a sample of 282 drivers in Indian settings. The reliability of all 6 subscales was good, with alpha coefficients >0.90. The mean age of the samples was 26.1 years, with a 24–29-year age group making the majority (50.4%). It was observed that male samples included 62.1% of the sample. In the context of education, there was a preponderance of graduates at 53.2%, followed by postgraduates at 38.7%. Professionals dominated the makeup of occupation at 45.7%, followed by students at 44.7%. Most of the study population belonged to urban background (83.7%). Most of the participants belonged to nuclear family at 68.1%. At 80.1%, most participants were unmarried, while about 78% of samples had a family income per month ₹ 10000 or above. The sociodemographic presentation of our study is influenced by the sampling technique and geographical distribution of the participants [Table 1].
Most of the samples drove <4 h a day; a similar finding was reported in Mexico by Hernandaz et al. where most of the participants (52%) drive from 0.5 to 3 h/day. The presence of a higher number of samples (62.8%) who did not receive formal training from a motor institute can be attributed to drivers using vehicles at a very young age and cultural acceptance of underage driving for various purposes and lack of stringent regulations to get a driving license in India, which contributes toward a negligent attitude for driving education. About 81% of participants held a valid driving license which displays is falls short of the legal and social obligation of a driver as all drivers should hold a valid driving license. Due to dense driver population, there is overburdening of licensing authorities, which translates into lengthier time to obtain license and hence might act as deterrent for driving with valid license. About 83% of the participants possessed a personal vehicle due to the overutilized public transport secondary to high traffic density and humongous population of India along with highly streamlined and cheap vehicle purchase policies. Driving under influence was done by a meager 8.5% of participants. 25.5% of the samples had gotten into an altercation with another driver at least once. About 38% of the participants were involved in an accident in the past 5 years. Of all the participants, 36.2% had been booked at least once for a traffic rule violation [Table 2].
This study revealed driving anger among various traffic situations. Our results indicated that anger propensity was highest on the discourtesy subscale, with the most anger-provoking scenarios being when someone is driving very close to your rear bumper (mean = 3.09), Someone cuts in right in front of you on the motorway (mean = 3.44), someone cuts in and takes the parking spot you have been waiting for (mean = 3.19), someone coming toward you does not dim their headlights at night (mean = 3.26) [Table 3].
This finding is consistent with earlier studies by Deffenbacher et al. in 1994 (USA), Lajunen et al. in 1998 (UK), Sullman in 2006 (NZ), Villieux and Delhomme in 2007 (France), Yasak and Esiyok in 2009 (Turkey), Sullmanetal in 2014 (Malayasia), Lietal (China), and Feietal in 2019 (China), who all reported discourtesy subscale with the highest anger scores [Table 4].
Situation which provoked least anger in the drivers of both genders was found to be “police presence”. This result is in concordance with various studies conducted in different countries like the United States, the United Kingdom, New Zealand, France, Malaysia, China, and Spain. In our study, the reported anger of drivers was lower than results reported from other countries, including the United States, New Zealand, France, Turkey, Malaysia, China, and Spain. The scores of the total anger and all dimensions in our study were lower than those obtained by other European and Asian countries. The differences can be attributed to sampling differences and geographical distribution, lower traffic rules enforcement, and culturally accepted crowd norms. Indian drivers reported a higher level of anger evoked by traffic obstruction (3.1 ± 0.84) when compared to overseas drivers. The Hostile gestures scale produced the second-highest mean (3.0 ± 0.97); this subscale also scored high levels of anger in other studies like the USA, UK, China, and Spain. Keeping in lines with the UK, New Zealand, and China findings, police presence situations produced the lowest level of anger among the Indian drivers, which displays a high degree of disregard against the law enforcement agencies. Driving anger for the female gender was found to be greater than that among men overall but it was not statistically significant however for females reported significantly more anger institutions involving discourtesy and hostile gestures (P < 0.05) while male participants reported significantly more anger provoked by police presence (P < 0.05). Our findings concord with earlier studies conducted by Deffenbacher et al. Lajunen et al., Yasak and Esiyok, Lajunen and Parker, and Parker et al., who found that females report higher overall levels of anger. Gender differences between subscales alter the mean total anger, which finally results in no differences in total driving anger between males and females. In the context of occurrence of accident and anger scores, we observed that the anger reported by those who have been involved in an accident was higher than those who have never been involved in an accident, although it was not high enough to be statistically significant. Similar results were also reported with statistical significance by Lajunen et al. and Fei et al. In our study, we also found that drivers involved in crashes reported statistically significant higher anger in situations involving slow driving. This could be because of their own predisposition to drive faster leading them to get involved in more accidents than others. The implications of this finding are higher driver anger may predispose or in the least add to the risk of crash involvement and traffic awareness campaigns explaining the risk of driving while angry should be carried out like driving under influence driving while angry should be given due weightage. Comparing the type of vehicle and anger levels in various situations between two-wheeler drivers and four-wheeler drivers, the mean comparison did not find any difference between the two groups. However, for two-wheeler drivers, illegal driving and slow driving situations produced higher anger than four-wheeler drivers (P < 0.05). Illegal driving leading to higher anger levels in two-wheeler drivers can be attributed to the greater risk faced by them and higher influence of environmental factors, while slow driving leading to higher anger could be because two-wheeler drivers have a perception to have a shorter travel time, which is hindered by slow driving and can raise mean anger scores. Higher anger in situations involving presence of police among drivers not having a legal driving license could be attributed to the fact that fear of getting caught by a police officer made them angrier when they encountered police. The higher anger in situations involving slow driving among drivers without legal driving license could be due to their tendency to break rules and drive rashly and fear of getting caught while driving slowly. The sample consuming substances was very low to produce any significant results [Table 5].
To the best of our knowledge, similar findings were not reported by the reviewed literature. The relationships between driving anger and demographic characteristics were examined using Pearson's correlational analysis. Age and daily average were negatively correlated with total driving anger, while education years were positively related to total driving anger. These results are consistent with earlier studies.,, This suggests that young people are more likely to be irritated because older drivers may be better able to tolerate some driving situations and may have adapted to driving conditions of the area leading to superior anger control [Table 6].
There are some limitations to our study. Driving anger information was collected through a cross-sectional survey and by convenient sampling which could be a source of bias. Recall bias might have led to over- or underestimation of driving anger scores in various situations. Our sample has abundance of professionals and urban-based population, which might skew the results. Another limitation is that there may be social desirability bias. Since the data collection involved information from self-reports, participants might have not disclosed some socioculturally unacceptable practices and behaviors which may lead to response bias. As the data collection happened through an internet-based survey, it included only a small subset of English-speaking population, which may lead to bias in the final results. Finally, this sample is primarily from Central India and due to specific geographic, social, and cultural factors and traffic conditions, the results should not be generalized. Road rage being a multifactorial entity is not singularly influenced by environmental factors, but could be an expression of so many other underlying issues such as stress, physical illnesses, psychiatric illnesses, and personality traits. Further studies which address these caveats should be conducted.
Despite significantly high driving anger among Indian drivers, studies in this area have been largely lacking. Longitudinal interventional studies must be planned to be able to identify and target multiple factors such as personal and environmental factors contributing toward higher driver anger. This, in turn, would help policymakers to recognize the menace of driver anger and to seek steps to thwart it.
Campaigns should be devised to educate people about road etiquettes, importance of a valid driving license, and safe driving practices. For swifter procurement of license, there is a need to develop greater infrastructure, provision of online facilities, and a remote outreach camp. There is a need to streamline traffic flow, reduce reliance on personal vehicles, and reorganize road networks to reduce traffic obstruction and the resulting driver anger.
Appropriate steps must be taken to make roads safer for women. Dedicated institutes could be setup to educate people about rules and regulations and road etiquettes. Mass media campaigns could be used to spread awareness about the issue of women safety and driving ethics.
Two-wheelers should be given due consideration while drafting traffic policies and provision of separate two-wheeler lanes should be made. To address the long driving hours which relate to higher anger levels a long-term solution could be to cut down on commute hours, promoting car-pooling by efficient zoning and planning cities so that workplace zones and commercial zones exist side by side with residential zones.
Along with implementation of new traffic rules, there is a need to enforce already existing regulations. Stringent checks must be placed as a prerequisite for acquiring a driving license and the devils of road rage must be curbed through intensive awareness campaigns specific to vehicle type, car-pool incentivization, and public participation.
Other than government initiatives, drivers require to develop a greater sense of responsible driving and to employ stress tolerance strategies when encountering anger provoking situations.
| Conclusion|| |
Our study reports higher road rage among Indian drivers than other countries like United Kingdom, Spain, and China and lower than USA and Mexico. Indian drivers have especially reported higher anger for the situations involving traffic obstruction and hostile gestures. Although there is no overall difference in anger reported by male and female, it was found that females reported more anger in situation that involved discourtesy and hostile gestures. Two-wheeler drivers expressed greater road rage in situations involving illegal and slow driving. It was also found that years of driving negatively correlated with the driving anger while daily driving hours positively correlated with it.
We would like to acknowledge and extend our gratitude to all the participants for their patience and cooperation. We would also like to acknowledge the help provided by the residents and faculty members of the department of psychiatry. Finally, we express deep gratitude to all the authors cited for their valuable help in the current work.
Financial support and sponsorship
Conflicts of interest
There are no conflicts of interest.
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[Table 1], [Table 2], [Table 3], [Table 4], [Table 5], [Table 6]