for this report
The Book’s Overall Content
1: Road Rage and Aggressive Driving (Chapter 1, p. 22–27)
two terms are often used interchangeably, yet they define two different
aspects of driving. There is no universal definition of road rage,
though the phrase can be generally be defined as:
extreme state of anger that often precipitates aggressive behavior,
sometimes restricted to gestures, sometimes in assault and battery.”
rage has become increasingly prevalent in our society, possibly
due to the increase in various factors including ”…traffic
congestion, feeling endangered, being insulted, frustration, time
pressure, fatigue, competitiveness, and lapses in attention”
driving refers to:
behavior, such as running red lights or giving someone a ‘brake
job’, as well as to speeding, tailgating, and lane hopping.”
driving is a serious problem that is especially dangerous to our
society due to the fact that it is not readily acknowledged by divisions
of our society; it is often claimed to be “…merely media
mayhem” (p. 22). Drunk Driving is often seen as the more serious
phenomenon, yet it is aggressive drivers that kill “…
two to four times more people than drunk drivers.” (p. 25)
Topic 2: The Different Types of Road Rage (Chapter 4, p.
James mentions at the beginning of this chapter that many people
have the tendency to undergo a drastic personality change when they
get behind the wheel of a vehicle, the “Jekyll-Hyde Syndrome”
(p. 84) The most common manifestations of this syndrome are apparent
in three classifications of aggressive driving rage: passive-aggressive
road rage, verbal road rage, and epic road rage
road rage is defined as:
reactionary protest against feeling thwarted, coerced, mistreated,
or repeatedly wronged, characterized by feelings of rancor and resentment
against other drivers” (p. 85)
form of road rage includes such tendencies as the “left-lane
bandit” (p. 86), one who has the tendency to be stubborn and
contrary behind the wheel, manifested by the tendency to drive slowly
in the left “fast” lane, to the despair and annoyance
of other drivers on the road.
road rage is likely the most common form of road rage, simply because
it us the most easily expressed The driver who expresses verbal
road rage can often do so without fear of retaliation by his fellow
drivers as he/she commonly expresses the verbal rage in the confines
of his/her vehicle. Verbal rage is defined as:
habit of constantly complaining about the traffic, keeping up a
stream of mental or spoken attacks against drivers, passengers,
law enforcement officials, road workers, pedestrians, speed limits,
and road signs” (p. 89)
Epic road rage is the most serious and fatal of these road rage
types. Drivers often progress from the milder forms of road rage,
as verbal road rage, to this confrontational and often violent rage.
Epic road rage is defined as:
habit of fantasizing comic-book roles and extreme punitive measures
against another driver, such as chasing, beating up, ramming, dragging,
shooting, and killing, sometimes to the point of acting on it”
3: The Four types of Aggressive Drivers (p. 97-106)
those of us who can be considered aggressive drivers; we can usually
be categorized as one of four types: automotive vigilante, rushing
maniac, aggressive competitor, and scofflaw. Of these four I can
most associate with the rushing maniac; I always have a need to
get to my particular destination as fast as possible.
automotive vigilante is one who is an aggressor against other motorists;
he/she picks his target at random or for a specific reason, and
directs a stream of “…verbal abuse, offensive gestures,
and threatening maneuvers with the vehicle, sometimes going to the
extreme of physical violence.” (p. 97-98). This vigilante
will usually deny responsibility for his/her actions when confronted
by law enforcement.
most common type of aggressive driver is the rushing maniac. This
type of driver usually has two elements: “…an extraordinary
need to avoid slowing down.” and “…a consequent
anger against anyone who causes a slow down.” (p. 100). The
most frequent causes of urban crashes result from this rushing maniac,
often in his/her attempt to run red lights, or ignore stop signs.
is highly encouraged in America, so it is no surprise that many
of us turn school or workplace competition into dangerous driving
competition. Some competitive drivers greatly increase the danger
of driving through such attitudes as a “…need to be
in the lead at all times, and feel a sense of anxiety if another
car passes them.” (p. 103).
drivers have the tendency to disregard many traffic regulations,
laws, and signs. They forget that these laws exist primarily for
their safety; they place them selves above the law in many situations.
This type of driver is known as a scofflaw. I am guilty of this
tendency occasionally, as I usually fail to stop completely at stop
signs, I feel there is no need.
Topic 4: Levels of Emotional Intelligence (p.117-120)
One – Oppositional Driving: At this lowest level of emotional
intelligence the driver’s thought process is irrational. Most
drivers will operate at this level for at least some of the time,
and some drivers will operate at this level most of the time. The
types of actions displayed by those drivers include being selfish,
reckless, impulsive, and hostile. This driver constantly expresses
criticism and often feels insulted and insecure.
Two – Defensive Driving: Drivers at the second level of emotional
intelligence usually have a logical thought process, yet are still
moderately competitive on the road. The types of actions exhibited
by these drivers include being suspicious, wary, and competitive.
They are prudent and restrained, and often express worries and complaints.
Three – Supportive Driving: Supportive drivers incorporate
others into their driving tendencies in a positive manner. These
drivers have prosocial thought patterns, which “…promote
helpful actions and a benign demeanor.”(p. 118). These drivers
attempt to understand other drivers on the road; they do not lash
out with aggressiveness when a driver makes a mistake, rather, they
realize that everyone makes mistakes, and they are tolerant of others
Topic 5: The Three-Step Driver Self-Improvement Program
first step in improving yourself as a driver is acknowledgement.
This is one of the most difficult stages; no one likes to admit
that they could possibly be a driver who suffers from road rage.
The formal acknowledgement that one has a problem they need to fix
must be made in all three areas of a driver’s habits: emotions,
thoughts, and overt actions.
or self-observation, follows after acknowledgement. There are acts
that drivers do that are visible and measurable, and there are acts
that are not easily observable without sensing equipment. Examples
of easily measurable and observable acts include vehicle speed,
following distance, BAC level and running a red. Examples of driving
acts that are not easily observed are how hard we grip the steering
wheel, the rate of shallow breathing, and the amount of pressure
applied to the brake pedal. Self-witnessing involves “…verbalizing
thoughts and feelings during an activity to create a play-by-play
description of what’s going on.” (p. 138)
modify your driving behavior is the most difficult of these steps.
People have a natural resistance to change, altering your driving
personality is no different. Breaking your modifying task into many
small steps is useful; it allows you to focus on one element of
you behavior at a time. The modification process is by no means
short; “Permanently changing lifelong driving habits requires
systematically mapping your emotions, thoughts, and deeds behind
the wheel.” (p. 143), a process that is likely to take months,
and even years.
6: Lifelong Driver Education (p. 190-202)
If aggressive driving and road rage are such serious
problems, the question arises, why we have not implemented an extensive
driver’s training program? There exists in most high schools
some short class on driving safety, but it is usually only a semester.
To get a drivers in the U.S. there is no requirement to undergo
driver safety and aggressive driving management courses. Driver
education should begin at the kindergarten or elementary stages,
and continue through high school and the adult life.
and Elementary school are the beginning in a lifelong driver education
system. This phase would use “…age-appropriate cognitive
explanations and sensorimotor demonstrations to teach these affective
skills.” (p. 197)
the middle school phase, the focus would be on cognitive driving
skills. This phase would incorporate “…an age-appropriate
review of the affective skills and their extension to these cognitive
skills with sensorimotor demonstrations.” (p. 198)
focus during high school would be on sensorimotor driving skills.
This phase would utilize an “…age appropriate review
of the affective and cognitive skills and their extension to these
sensorimotor skills.” (p. 199)
a driver has received his/her license, the education does not stop,
drivers need continued training. This continuance of driver training
would be accomplished through the use of Quality Driving Circles
(QDC’s). QDC’s are small groups of drivers that meet
regularly to support and encourage each other to improve their driving
7: The Future Of Driving (p. 219-271)
The War Against Aggressive Driving
indisputable fact that aggressive driving is a serious phenomenon
that kills people is in desperate need of addressing by our society.
About 40,000 people die every year due to traffic fatalities, two
thirds of these fatalities can be attributed to behavior associated
with aggressive driving. 250 billion dollars are spent every year
due to crashes, with 150 billion of this money spent on crashes
due to aggressive driving. Our government is slowly enacting legislation,
and implementing driver education programs that recognize the severity
of the problem, yet it will be some years before the aggressive
driving is fully addressed.
Cars and Driving Realities
ideal car of the earlier generations of our country varies greatly
as compared to the ideal car of the 21st century. My father would
have been proud to own a vehicle with a FM stereo, and ecstatic
to have an 8-track player. Now technology has permitted the integration
of sophisticated technology into our mobile steel universe; we have
HUD’s, PSX2’s, DVD players, GPS systems, talking onboard
computers, basically a plethora of distractions from the task of
driving. It is likely that the automobile has been transformed from
a means of transportation to a means of exhibition.
observing car commercials, it is quite common to see the car as
a liberating, power-granting, exciting experience. If you have this
new SUV, you should be crossing rugged terrain during a raging blizzard,
or navigating treacherous, curvy roads with speed and power. These
qualities that are being promoted are likely contributing to feelings
of competition among drivers; whose car is more powerful, whose
car is the fastest? However, love of a powerful machine does not
necessarily require an attitude of disrespect towards your fellow
drivers. It is possible for a love of cars to coincide with supportive
of Major Topics
topics progressed in their informative nature; first aggressive
driving and road rage are defined, giving the reader a basis of
knowledge for the rest of the book. The different types of aggressive
driving and aggressive drivers are analyzed, then suggestions and
a program for improvement are given. Finally information about current
and future topics dealing with aggressive driving is given; the
book follows a logical procession from topic to topic. The majority
of the topics were quite interesting, mainly due to the fact that
I was not aware of the severity of the problem aggressive driving
is; there were facts after facts that shocked me.
ideal audience for this book would be from high school level on.
That is earliest time that an individual will have the necessary
skills to understand the information and the real problem of aggressive
driving. An adult would also do well to read this book to inform
them of the problem aggressive driving poses ; I assume that the
majority of the population is ill-informed on the nature of aggressive
2. The Book’s Importance
book addresses many problems related to aggressive driving and road
rage, the most important problems are: the effect that aggressive
driving is have in relation to financial costs and human life costs,
and the lack of education among Americans regarding aggressive driving.
The implementation of a good lifelong driver-training program is
seen as a solution that will help educate the driving public. Individuals
need to address their own personal aggressive driving habits, through
the use of such techniques as the Three-Step Driver Improvement
Program, this will likely reduce car crashes and therefore fatalities
and financial costs.
of the major topics I have identified are of immediate concern to
the general public, as 40,000 deaths due to crashes occur each year
and two-thirds of those are due to aggressive driving. The book
was filled with numerous instances of road rage that resulted in
a fatality, the death of a family member or spouse due to an aggressive
driving incident would likely spark serious concern for this driving
book is relevant to psychology in many areas; driving is a task
that involves different psychological aspects such as personality,
emotion, cognition, and behavior. To successfully modify ones aggressive
driving tendencies, one needs to change in all areas; your thoughts(personality)
about driving must change, your feelings(emotions) about driving
must change, and the way you think (cognition) about driving must
message that the book brings is that aggressive driving and road
rage are detrimental in our society. This message is needed, because
much of the public is ill informed as to the severity of the problem
of aggressive driving. It addresses the concerns that almost 30,000
people die each year due to aggressive driving tendencies, and gives
various techniques to adequately address the problem.
relation to a categorization of this book in regards to psychology,
it could fall in a few different categories. These categories would
include personality, cognition, emotion, and behavior. Driving encompasses
actions, thoughts, emotions, and other tendencies, so it is readily
categorized in any of those psychology sub-disciplines.
3. The Book’s Structure
book has a large number of tests, throughout each chapter there
are tests designed to test an individual on their driving habits
and tendencies. One of the tests I took was designed to check my
range of hostility (ch. 3, p. 81-82). I scored in the Violent Zone—carrying
out an act of hostility either in fantasy or deed. I realized after
taking this test that I have a lot of violent driving tendencies
that need some modification. These tests are very useful in helping
the reader obtain a sense of their own aggressive driving tendencies,
which they may not be aware of until they take a test.
are many Tables and diagrams that serve to illustrate a concept
or set of situations. The table 5.1, illustrating the Three Levels
of Emotional Intelligence (ch. 5, p. 117) was one of the most helpful
in explaining a concept. The Table 9.2 is a Scenario Analysis of
a Teenager’s Unrecognized Road Rage Behavior(ch. 5, p. 206);
this table was an interesting insight on what goes on in a teenager’s
mind during incidents of aggressive driving.
the end of each chapter, there are notes that direct the reader
to the source of earlier cited quotes. This is useful if you intend
to do further investigation on a specific topic the book discusses.
The index of the book is quite extensive; it makes it easy to directly
go to any specific topic or term you are looking for. The Chapter
Titles are all short and to the point; you can figure out what the
chapter will be about from the title. The layout is comprehendible
and the size of the text is fine, except for a few tables that have
very tiny text.
Critique of the Book
aspects of this book that I enjoyed the most were the numerous statistics
and examples involving aggressive driving.
drivers kill two to four times more people than drunk drivers. The
aggressive driver typically denies that these accident-causing behaviors
are aggressive” (p. 25)
is a fascinating statistic, as I had no idea that aggressive driving
was such a severe problem, even more severe than drunk driving.
It certainly made me think much differently about aggressive driving;
I now realize that aggressive driving is no small matter.
annual death toll remains at a plateau around forty thousand per
year, while the yearly toll in crash injuries has reached six million.
The combined cost to society is a whopping $250 billion per year,
not counting human suffering.” (p. 23)
statistics, combined with the fact that roughly two-thirds of crashes
are aggressive driver related, are staggering. This is much more
than any war or terrorist attack, yet aggressive driving remains
quite in the background of our societies problems. This information
I have learned quite easily, as when facts are astonishing they
tend to be easily impressionable on the mind.
reviews of this book:
5. Additional Observations
learned a lot from reading this book and attending the presentations
on each of the chapters, not merely statistics but a more general
understanding of aggressive driving. I feel that this book may be
a bit psychology-intensive for the average reader, perhaps this
is why the book is not selling as much as it should be. If the goal
of a college class is to leave a student with an indelible appreciation
and understanding of the given topic, knowledge that does not simply
dissipate after a final exam, but is rather retained throughout
the student’s life, then this class is entirely successful.