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Have A Customized Car? You’re Probably A Jerk.

Every day millions of car drivers wake up, get dressed, and go out into the wild blue yonder known as the daily commute. Anyone who has spent longer than 5 minutes in any sort of traffic jam knows that tempers flare quickly and people do dumb things in their vehicles. Many have endured the painful antics of disturbed drivers venting out their frustration and a good portion also more than likely have engaged in this ritualistic chest-puffing.

Road rage has become so problematic in the United States that there is actually a vast amount of research done on the topic exploring everything from gender expressions of road rage to the different characteristics of drivers that engage in road rage. A study by William Szlemko of Colorado State University done back in 2008 found a correlation between one particular characteristic and the likelihood of a driver behaving aggressively.

The Link Between Car Customization and Road Rage

Szlemko discovered that any sort of customization done to a vehicle increased the likelihood 16% that the driver would act aggressively.  ANYTHING from dashboard toys to bumper stickers that said “Jesus Saves” indicated that the driver was more likely to use their vehicle to express anger. While correlation cannot determine causation, psychologist have theorized that customization of vehicles indicates a greater attachment to the vehicle and thus making the driver more territorial over his/her vehicle. Click here for the full article.

Driving brings us back to a more primal experience. We all have experienced the exhilaration of flying down the fast lane and the freedom of the open road but may not have recognized the emotional connection that these experiences give us to simpler times. However, research like this is useless unless someone can provide some practical application of the knowledge so here it is folks. The next time you have to pull out in front of traffic, pick the plain sedan with nothing extra on it and avoid that soccer mom van that has all of those stupid “My Child Is An Honor Student” stickers on the back because mama is probably going to get you. More than likely, however, you are probably the one wreaking havoc on our motorways with your sweet customized ride.

(Source: Szlemko, William.  2008, Territorial Markings As a Predictor of Aggression and Road Rage, Journal of Applied Social Psychology)

Written by Gregson

Gregson's love affair with cars began at a young age thanks to his father who introduced him to racing. He's been a fan ever since he saw his first race live at Watkins Glen at the age of 5. He loves GT3, F1, Rally, Touring, and Le Mans styles of racing. Intermediate knowledge of internal combustion engines. Any reading done for pleasure is devoted to automotive journalism. Gregson owns a WRX and can 4-wheel drift directly into your hedges, no sweat. He currently is a Senior Copywriter for McCann Torre Lazur specializing in pharmaceutical advertising. He lives in New Jersey with his wife Kate and their dog Savannah.

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