University of Hawaii
Psychology 459: Traffic Psychology
Dr. Leon James, Instructor
Thanks very much for helping me with my article on SUVs. It went out this week on Gannett's wire to 104 newspapers in the U.S. and Canada.
A mighty fortress is our car
By GREG BARRETT Gannett News Service
Forget the revved up 1950s Chevy with big black tires and missing muffler. The muscle car of the millennium is tall and broad and prefers to be called by its initials - SUV. Powerful and preppy like JFK or IBM. The SUV - Sport Utility Vehicle - is our land yacht, our tank, our 5,000 pounds of armor protecting us from road rage and pileups and that idiot hugging our bumper. So popular is this steel behemoth that in the last decade the auto industry has increased its offering of SUVs from a half dozen models to 40.
Sales of Sport Utility Vehicles in the United States topped 2.7 million in 1998, up from 961,000 in 1988 and 2.4 million in 1997. In a survey last year of 26,000 vehicle owners, 44 percent said they would consider buying an SUV - making it the No. 1 vehicle considered, says AutoPacific, Inc., an automotive marketing and product consulting firm. "We forecast that by the year 2000, sales will exceed 3 million," says Jim Hall, AutoPacific's vice president of industry analysis. But why? What is the draw of these road giants? To hear Georgia Tech psychologist Jack Feldman tell it, SUVs are roadway cousins to the trendy Timberland boots that scuff the polished floors of suburban malls.
"Most SUVs today will never see dirt, so you have lots of motives for their popularity - fashion, practicality, safety," says Feldman, a motorcyclist and driver of a 2,300-pound Mazda Miata. "An SUV is as practical as a minivan but does not make you look like a soccer mom. For a lot of people, that is a real incentive." It's large like a linebacker, an engine with shoulder pads and menace. "There's the mentality that a certain amount of power comes with size, perceived or real," says Ken Roberts, spokesman for the Automotive Service Association, a nonprofit group of 55,000 mechanics and body shop workers.
"In the SUV the driver is elevated, sits higher, and looking down on fellow motorists gives the greater impression of power. I am bigger than you ... so I am a little more powerful."
Beneath the hood, however, the SUV isn't much different than a pickup truck or minivan. But those lack the polish and panache needed for mainstream stardom. "The minivan is looked down on by some as wimpy," Roberts says "The pickup is actually very similar to the SUV ... except in appearance."
And in name. Trucks get tagged with monikers such as Tacoma or Silverado. Minivans are Express or Venture. But the SUV, it drips adrenaline: Navigator, Blazer, Bravada, Mountaineer. For 5-foot-3 Donna Martin of Winston-Salem, N.C., her Grand Cherokee Jeep SUV is a family protector. It may never carry the carcass of a caribou, but it gives her a better view and 2,000 pounds more safety than a pickup. "I like that I'm a little higher up and can see better," she says.
Towering above traffic, the SUV plods the road without making eye contact with cars, trucks or minivans. The Toyota Land Cruiser, a popular SUV, stands 6-foot-1 compared to Toyota's top-selling Camry, 4-foot-6, or its Tacoma truck, 5-foot-2.
Toyota's Sienna minivan is a relative tower at 5-foot-6 and 4,000 pounds, but it's small compared to the Land Cruiser's 5,115 pounds. "If I'm in an accident," says Martin, a mother of one with another on the way, "I'm less likely to get hurt."
The National Highway Safety Administration concurs. In studies it says when an SUV collides with the driver's side of a car, the car's driver is 30 times more likely to die than the driver of the SUV. In car-to-car accidents, the struck driver was 6 and a half times more likely to die. "That's one of the reasons the federal government gnashes its teeth and pulls its hair out about these things," Feldman says. "When the drivers of these SUVs surround themselves in all this steel ... I would predict they feel safer and maybe they aren't always as alert as, say, I'm going to be in my little Miata."
In an 18-month-old ongoing Internet survey of drivers from the United States and Canada, drivers of SUVs admit to being more aggressive - quicker to tailgate, speed or change lanes without signaling, reports Leon James, a professor of traffic psychology at the University of Hawaii-Manoa. Anyone can answer James' questions on the Web site (www.drdriving.org ), and so far 1,100 drivers have completed the Road Rage Survey.
"Women who drive SUVs are the most aggressive of all, even more aggressive than the men who drive these cars," James says. "It's easy for me to conclude at this point in the survey that the people who are attracted to SUVs tend to be somewhat more aggressive than other people."
Aggressive. Trendy. Wary of rush hour and, perhaps, of road rage. All these traits, Feldman says, drive the SUV boom: "It's really not that complicated. ... None of this has Freudian overtones."
Chris F - Jan 26, 1999
I don't think that just because you drive a SUV that you are going to drive more aggressive than someone in a smaller car. As far as feeling more safe, I would feel just as safe in a full sized truck as I would in a SUV. I like what Dr. James said about people who are aggressive to begin with are the ones attracted to the SUV. That makes sense. Also it is my experience that those drivers with smaller sport cars tend to be more aggressive on the road, the way they dart in and out of traffic with very little blinker use.
Hyechin K - Jan 29, 1999
I totally agree with the article. I do think that SUV drivers are more aggressive. They have the advantage of height, mobility, size, four wheel drive and other stuffs that they come with that I can't think of right now. When you're in a big car, like a SUV, you feel more confident and feel some what more superior because you're all the way up there in your SUV and the other guys are down there in their Hondas or some other small insignificant cars. At least that's how I feel when I'm in my dad's SUV :) I think that the added confidence of driving a big car makes you take chances you wouldn't take. I think there is an unconscious expectation from the SUV drivers to be able to just go though the road without any troubles from other drivers. I guess what they say is true. Size do matter.
Dr. Leon James, Instructor - Jan 29, 1999
I have some new data on aggressiveness in relation to the type of car one drives, and the effects are very prominent in several aggressive driving categories. There are also interaction effects between type of car one drives and one's gender and age. Go see the results here, then come back to comment.
Sean M - Feb 3, 1999
I used to drive a Volvo 240dl station wagon. Cars just don't come safer then that. But when we went to Maui a year ago, we rented a Ford Expedition. Talk about instant power trip! That truck is huge! It puts you so high up, you feel like all other cars and drivers are inferior. I actually said to myself, while driving this monster, "Well, I'm bigger than you so you better get out of my way!" The mentality becomes, "Why should I look out for you? I'm 3 times your size, you look out for me!" Tell me who wouldn't get a power trip and drive more aggressively driving around in Big Foot. I'd really like to meet that person.
Don H - Feb 4, 1999
I have to concur that the new trend in vehicle purchases being suv's is on the rise. The reason being that these cars give their drivers a greater feeling of power and safety. Because of this mentality though, it is very possible that individuals who drive these cars may be a bit more negligent while driving because they don't have to be as worried about getting injured in an auto collision as much as someone driving a tiny sports car. This thought is scary, so I hope that people who do drive suv's realize that they may be more negligent and/or aggressive as drivers because of the type of vehicle they're driving. I only hope that those who drive the more powerful cars drive more carefully, because wielding greater power requires greater care and responsibility.
Alma V - Feb 12, 1999
I agree that drivers who own SUV's are risk takers and would want to live the fast life. Owning a SUV is a lot of money; insurance wise. By owning a SUV, the driver knows the power of the vehicle on the road which is one of the main reasons they purchased a SUV. I think everyone wants or would want a SUV because of the way society classifies SUV as powerful and dominating vehicle. Friends of mine who own SUV's are much more aggressive on the road as compared to drivers who are behind the wheel of a family vehicle. I think that we as a society classify and define vehicles to the extent that we make a difference to peoples' decision on how to drive on the road.
Valerie L - Feb 25, 1999
Although I've never really taken notice to aggressive SUV drivers, the article makes a lot of sense. Like Sean said, driving in a big truck is definitely an instant power trip. I used to drive a fairly big truck and I have to admit, I felt tougher and for some reason I felt safer too. I wasn't necessarily a more aggressive driver, however I did notice that I was treated better on the road. For some reason, cutting over to another lane became much easier. Could it be that other smaller cars felt intimidated by a bigger vehicle? If you want to feel bigger and tougher on the road- drive a truck, it's also a lot safer to drive.
Pun W - Mar 3, 1999
I have no experience to drive any huge car but I really want to try. I don't know whether it would make the driver more aggressive when they are driving big foot. Personally, I have never met any impolite big foot driver. Most of them are pretty friendly. I guess we cannot determine a driver is aggressive because he or she is driving a big foot.
Craig K - Mar 4, 1999
Driving a large car like the SUV's on the market gives a person a sense of power. The only question though is that with these larger cars most people driving them have children in the car. Do they drive the same with children in the car as they do without children in the car?
George P - Mar 4, 1999
I'm not sure that SUV drivers are more aggressive than other drivers, it's just that since SUVs have become so popular maybe people who would have been aggressive in a small car are now driving an SUV. Personally, I don't see them as that large and ominous but rather as the station wagon of the 90's. Also, I tend to find I drive more aggressive when driving a really fast car rather than a really big truck.
Jason T - Mar 5, 1999
I definitely agree that driving an SUV gives you a sense of power being higher up and being surrounded by all that steel. I have driven a car for many years and I consider myself an aggressive driver. Just recently I had a chance to drive a ford explorer. It was a nice feeling. It drove just like my car nice and smooth unlike my dads truck. I didn't feel like I drove aggressive at all. Actually I felt pretty good and didn't feel like going fast or anything. I could see the whole road and so I just cruised along. I was a little more relaxed and secure. This could be bad. Being less relaxed and more questioning on the road can be important especially in dense traffic. In the end I don't think driving an SUV makes you more prone to aggressive driving.
Sheri L - Mar 11, 1999
Maybe there are some people who do become more aggressive drivers when placed behind the wheel of something that represents a lot of strength and power, but my experiences with SUV have not been the case. My boyfriend drive a Grand Jeep Cherokee. Yes he is an aggressive driver, but not anymore reckless than when he drives my Honda prelude, or his, Toyota Tacoma. When I drive his SUV, then this large vehicle has the reverse effect on me. I feel very nervous driving this huge vehicle, and thus become a more cautious driver. I could be nervous because this is not my car, but then why don't I experience the same anxiety if I am driving my friend's Toyota Celica. I can only speak for myself, so to each his own.
Don H - Mar 12, 1999
Reading what Sheri wrote I have to say that although there may be a trend in SUV drivers driving more aggressively, there will be a great variance in driving behaviors exhibited from one driver to the next. I think that if we can find the root of the problem of what causes aggressive driving, we won't be trying to determine the correlation between aggressive driving and certain types of cars.
Don H - Mar 16, 1999
About SUV's, my folks just got one this weekend, and I took it for a test drive. Funny thing is though, as aware as I was of my driving, I knew that I didn't drive aggressively. I wasn't any more tempted to tail gate, overspeed any more than usual, or cut anyone off. Although it did feel pretty cool to be higher up than the other cars, my driving mentality stayed the same as when I drive my Integra. This is beside the fact that I know the SUV can't handle as well so I took my turns in it just a bit slower. So, I'm wondering if anyone has any comments regarding how they are when they drive an SUV. Are they different when driving that vehicle?
Leon M - Mar 17, 1999
I don't think you can categorize all drivers of SUV's as aggressive or dangerous. While it is possible that once in an SUV, a driver may become more confident and drive more aggressively; in many cases people buy SUV's because they are safer than small cars in a crash. It is these people who are the conservative drivers, whether in an SUV or any other car. Their main priority is safety.
Kyle M - Mar 18, 1999
I think that being elevated above other drivers gives people a false sense of confidence and "encourages" them to drive aggressively. Ironically, many people buy SUV's so as to provide them with added safety on the roads. Such aggressive driving will only go against this premise.
I also believe that when you get behind the wheel of a car, you have a personal responsibility to drive safely. Especially when you are driving a larger vehicle, you owe it to yourself and those around you to drive safely.
Carolyn A - Mar 19, 1999
SUV drivers are not necessarily aggressive or dangerous. I have a friend who drives a big foot. Before I found out what type of car she drove, I've known her to be sweet and understanding. She's still the same person and drives well. I just couldn't believe she had the guts to drive such a huge truck. People wonder why a short girl like me drives a Toyota Previa van...it's not the power factor. Yes, people with SUV's may feel that they have more power over the small cars but the bottom line is one cannot assume or say that these drivers are mean! It's all you and how you control your behavior that either makes you aggressive or not.
Don H - Mar 22, 1999
Carolyn's right. No matter what type of car you drive, your driving behavior behind the wheel is going to be, in my opinion, due more to your existing personality traits rather than being influenced by the vehicle being driven. It takes driving responsibly to handle a larger car like an SUV, and I only hope that many of the people driving such vehicles drive them safely and responsibly. For that matter, I hope that all people drive their cars safely and responsibly.
Candrakanta N - Mar 31, 1999
I think that maybe SUV driver are more aggressive drivers. Lots of people who drive sports cars drive fast, because its what is expected of someone with a sports car (and their horsepower allows them to drive fast). Some with small economy-size cars drive slower and seemingly less aggressive, that's because their engines don't allow them to speed too much (like speeding up to cut in front of someone) they aren't as daring because who knows if the car can make it? While SUVs are built with bigger engines than economy cars, bigger bumpers (stay out of my way) and are safer to drive, i think that if i were driving a SUV I would feel like I had more engine power (I could speed in and out of traffic because my engine is powerful enough), I would feel like I could intimidate people (I am bigger, get out of my way) and I would feel safer. This is just my opinion, I have driven a SUV and I didn't think about how I felt, but I am sure that I drove more aggressively than I usually do in my small economy-sized car.
Shehla K - Apr 4, 1999
I feel that your personality determines which type of car you would have if you had unlimited resources. Most of us however, are on a budget and can't afford what we would really like to have. When I drove a van, I felt nervous and very ingressive. But, I agree that once you become comfortable in your vehicle, whether it is an SUV or a Miata, you will be aggressive if you are and you won't be aggressive if you are not that type of driver.
Monica C - Apr 10, 1999
I agree that SUV drivers may be a bit more aggressive than others, but what about drivers that own sports cars? Personally I drive a 87 Forerunner, but I am not an aggressive driver. I have to admit that I love driving a big vehicle because, I'll admit, that I like to drive big cars to compensate for my size (I'm 5 ft tall!). I love the height and the roominess, but I don't ever cut people off, nor do I drive excessively fast or tailgate. Maybe I am one of those rare few SUV drivers that don't use the size of my car to exert power on the road. I believe in efficient driving, not aggressive driving.
Jason T - Apr 11, 1999
Ok suv's are big and have a lot more weight than a normal car or even truck, yet they are usually driven by people with children who have children. I don't think there is any increase in road rage on the road, due to SUV's. Some SUV drivers are cautious and some are reckless. I believe the former are far and in between those who are cautious in these beasts of vehicles, and some of them are beasts, like the land rover or suburban.
Don H - Apr 11, 1999
I can personally relate to what Monica says because in my family we own an SUV, a sports car, and a sedan. My car, the one I use the most, is a sports car. But once in a while, I drive the SUV which is my mom's car. I have to admit that when driving my sports car I'm a bit more aggressive than when I drive the SUV because my sports car handles better. I have more control, I can make very sharp and narrow turns at fairly high speeds, just to name one of the things I can't do with the SUV. Also, when driving the SUV, being bigger and higher than other cars does not lead me to want to use that size to commit any aggressive acts of driving.
Shehla K - Apr 13, 1999
I agree with Don and Monica that just because you are in a bigger vehicle does not mean that you will be a more aggressive driver. My next vehicle may be an SUV but that is because I have 2 labrador retrievers that are over 75 pounds each and they require a lot of room. We are also planning on having children in the near future, and would welcome the roominess of an SUV. Does that make me an aggressive driver?
Juliet B - Apr 15, 1999
Everyone has a lot of good opinions on this topic. In my opinion, I feel that SUV drivers might tend to be more aggressive on the road, but I'm not going to firmly state that they generally are. Of course, anyone can drive aggressively behind any wheel of a car, but tendencies are greater in SUVs and sports cars, I think.
Don H - Apr 18, 1999
Juliet is right to write that SUV and sports car drivers tend to be more aggressive when on the road than the drivers of other types of automobiles. This I think is simply due to the greater performance power of those vehicles. People who driver cars with a larger presence on the road may use it to their advantage. Those who drive smaller sports cars with awesome handling and great acceleration capabilities will tend to take advantage of their vehicles' capabilities as well. I have to admit that I've driven aggressively behind the wheels of my sports car and behind my mom's SUV. But there is a limit to my aggression on the road. I do speed above the speed limit, and I don't always drive exactly to the letter of the law. But I always do try to drive safely and with respect for other drivers. So I think driving aggressively in and of itself isn't bad. I think the harm in aggressive driving comes when people go too far, speeding too fast, or disrespecting other drivers on the road. Whether their vehicles are sports cars or SUVs probably only make very aggressive drivers worse, and slightly aggressive drivers like myself just a little more so.
Monica C - Apr 19, 1999
Ok, maybe I was generalizing a bit when I wrote my last note. Not everyone is like me, and in my last message I narrow-mindedly concluded that everyone who drives a SUV are not aggressive drivers. How did I come to this conclusion? Well, I recently remember an incident that happened to me a couple of years ago. One afternoon while I was driving (in my old car, a Toyota corolla) to my boyfriend's place, unbeknownst to me, I accidentally cut off a man who was driving a SUV. To make the long story short, when we both pulled up to a stoplight, he got out of his car, and stormed right up to mines and started to swear at me viciously! I seriously thought that he was going to drag me out of my car and beat the heck out of me! So what is the moral of my story? I guess that it's not the car that makes one an aggressive driver, but who you are and what type of temperament you have.
Cherisse E - Apr 20, 1999
I think the type of vehicle we drive might affect the way we feel when we are on the road. I know someone who feels much more confident (not scared to drive at night, don't have as much anxiety about getting into an accident) if driving a truck. Her husband owns a ľ ton Chevy and when she drives it she says she feels "higher", "safer" and thus is willing to drive. I think she feels much more protected from being smashed if she had a head-on collision.
With this example in mind, I don't think all drivers feel like they want to be more "aggressive" in such a way to intentionally do risky behavior on the road. As for the SUV's, maybe it is becoming a stereotype. Hey, I know a lot of drivers who have the "nerve" to step-on-it and try to pass very fast cars. I think it is all about attitude. Huh, maybe our cars does tell us about our personality?
We shouldn't generalize...I think we should all be aware of all possibilities on the road.
Don H - Apr 22, 1999
As usual, I've noticed that many people comment that it's not really the car a person drives that makes them aggressive, it's their already existing personality traits and disposition to be aggressive that makes a person that way. But at the same time, it's possible that what Cherisse wrote is true. Maybe the cars we drive reflect our personality. Aggressive drivers would thus choose a car that allows them to drive the way they want to drive. I know that personally, if given the choice, I would always prefer to drive a car with good handling, fast acceleration, and with a solid body for my protection in case an accident were to occur.
Jason T - Apr 22, 1999
A good way to find out if SUV drivers are more aggressive would be to do a study in which you have an array of drivers try out a sports Utility Vehicle for one week in their daily lives and have them testify how they felt. You would have to make sure you got a proper random sample. You would also need a control survey in which could be administered before and after the SUV driving experience.
Don H - Apr 24, 1999
Jason has a good idea for testing what effect driving an SUV really has on those who get behind the wheels of one. The best way to test for this would be to have drivers who don't already drive SUVs to record on a tape recorder for a week their actions and feelings behind the wheel after each drive they make. Next, these drivers would then answer questionnaires designed to measure their reported aggressiveness when driving. After this, the drivers would then drive in an SUV for about a week. During that time, the drivers should be required to record their a summary of their feelings and actions behind the wheel on a tape recorder at the end of each drive. At the conclusion of the week, the drivers could then answer a survey designed to ask them questions gauging their aggressiveness while driving the SUVs. Thus, the results of the participants' tape recorded logs and questionnaire answers could be compared from their SUV driving to their driving in a "regular" type car.
Jocelyn M - Apr 29, 1999
I don't think that SUV drivers are more aggressive than drivers who drive other cars. If a person is an aggressive driver, then s/he will be an aggressive driver no matter what car he drives.
Hyechin K - Apr 30, 1999
SUV drivers are more aggressive on the road. They are big and they take up whole bunch of space on the road. They can't help but be aggressive because of their size. Even though they try not to be, just by their sheer size people are intimidated. When you see this big SUV coming up behind you through your back mirror, you're gonna feel a bit apprehensive. Even the least aggressive person will become a little aggressive if he or she is driving a SUV.
Ike M - May 1, 1999
From reading the article, it sounds like people prefer to drive SUV's because it provides them with safety rather than a way to wreak havoc on the roadways. I don't know why so many people say that SUV drivers are the worst. Most times I get passed by someone speeding in a soupped up Honda or Acura rather than an SUV. SUV drivers may have a little more room to drive recklessly because of the durability of their vehicles, but all drivers try to avoid accidents. I think that the statistics provided in the article can be attributed to the possibility that more men drive SUV's. Men have been shown to be more aggressive drivers than women. The interesting fact is that women SUV drivers have been shown to be the most aggressive of all. How this is so is a mystery to me.
Sheri L - May 1, 1999
My friend's mother wants her to get a SUV because she believes that they are safer vehicles. Perhaps, other people share the same notion that the larger the vehicle, the
safer it is. As a result of this false sense of security, people believe that they can drive more aggressively because they are "safe" in these massive automobile. I don't know if I really believe this, I just thought I'd throw this idea in to give you all something else to think about:).
Don H - May 4, 1999
Sheri introduces a rather interesting idea. Maybe people do drive more aggressively in SUVs because they feel they are in a safer car, one that can handle being in an accident and protect its driver if an accident ever occurs. If this is really a reason for why people drive aggressively in SUVs, the question has to be asked, why are these people driving aggressively just because their car can handle being in an accident? If their car is solid, and if it plows into a smaller car because they've been driving recklessly, they may live unscathed, but the driver they ram into could be killed. My feeling is, the more power your car has, the more responsibly you have to drive your car so as to avoid harming other drivers. Driving is all about keeping the roads safe for everyone. This requires respecting the rights of other drivers to use the road. My final thoughts on the discussion.
Karla H - May 4, 1999
I agree with Ike Matsunaga, I really haven't had that many encounters with an SUV that was any more aggressive than a sports car, or honda civic/accord driver. I think that maybe they are perceived to be more aggressive because of their size and durability. If I could have a choice of any car, I would want an SUV because of safety and room purposes, not so I could go and be aggressive on the road and run people off, cut them off, etc.
Jayson N - May 4, 1999
think that Jason has a good idea. all the rest of the information and statistics I think is purely coincidental. This type of study should be used more and more instead of just taking someone's word and what they drive and deduce something from it.
Monica C - May 4, 1999
I really think it's the size thing that makes us pre-judge how the drivers behind their SUV's are. We are normally taught to be afraid of things that are bigger than us. SUVs are big cars, and right away we start to think that because of their size, they must be owned by big people literally or metaphorically. In truth, people of all types drive SUVs, and I agree with Ike and Karla, those little souped up Hondas and Toyotas are much much more aggressive than the SUVs.
Kirk N - Aug 6, 1999
Driving a "tank" will make anyone feel that they are powerful, and will lead them to drive more aggressively than they would normally. My friend drives a Suburban, and he drives like a "power trip" lunatic. The feel of towering over a smaller car gives you the illusion of being "on top of the world." I don't believe that its only SUV that lead people to be aggressive drivers, but any vehicle that is powerful or big. I had a friend who drove a Ford LTD, and he drove very aggressively because his car was big. Bus drivers also drive very aggressively at times when changing lanes. When bus drivers want to change lanes they push themselves into the lane that they want to because of their size. Who in their right mind wants to tangle with the bus, and have their car in the shop for a week? I don't want to end up like that. People use their vehicle as an extant of their aggression or pride, and this is what causes major accidents or road rage.
Tracie O - Aug 31, 1999
I disagree with SUV drivers being aggressive. In my opinion I think they drive rather careful because at high speeds the vehicle looks like it would be unsafe. Compared to a sports car wouldn't a SUV have a harder time cutting in and out of lanes? Also wouldn't people who drive SUV's take into consideration that their vehicle is larger than most, so if they were to hit someone or something it would be a disaster.
Jason T - Sep 1, 1999
I don't think that aggressive people tend to go out and purposely buy SUVs because I feel that aggressive people would tend to go after other vehicles that are either showy or sporty. You know like type A personalities. I do feel however that once in suvs drivers take driving into an alternate paradigm where they feel they are a little more invincible in their SUV compared to the unimpermeable family stationwagon or van.
Berna J - Sep 1, 1999
I think the article that Garett talked about SUV's are interesting. From experience I have driven SUV cars such as a Tacoma, 4-Runner, and Jeep Cherokee's and it feels as if I'm driving a big car. I feel the bigger the car the more space I would occupy in driving on a street or a highway, etc. Garret mentioned an interesting part where women are more aggressive driving an SUV than men. I find this to be true. In my experience my guy friends would tell me that I'm more aggressive driving an SUV car than them. There are some who are just the opposite. There are men who are more aggressive drivers than women in driving an SUV, and there are those people who drive SUV's and are not aggressive drivers after all.
George P - Sep 9, 1999
I don't find the SUV drivers over here to more aggressive than other drivers however this may be different in the mainland. When I visited California last summer, I noticed a majority of the SUVs were the really large kind like Navigators, Suburbans, and Tahoes. Most of these have V8 engines with more power and some of the drivers were driving aggressive. In Hawaii I notice the little Hondas and Acuras seem to have the most aggressive drivers behind the wheel.
Alex L - Sep 14, 1999
I don't think that all of the people who own a SUV are aggressive drivers here in Hawaii. However, it may be true for some SUV owners because I have seen some of them on the road. Some SUV drivers here in Hawaii have the tendency to be aggressive when they are either in a hurry or they don't want to be cut off by some other drivers. As a former SUV driver, I felt more aggressive when I am in a hurry and I really hated it when other drivers are cutting me off. It is true that SUV drivers become aggressive but I guess it depends on what their situation is. Somehow the feeling of being superior than other exist within you as a SUV driver sometimes.
Constancio T- Sep 20, 1999
Driving an SUV, doesn't mean you become an aggressive driver. It just mean you have a more powerful vehicle. The aggressiveness of a driver, does not come from the vehicle, but from the driver. Driving aggressive is a state of mind, and not due to the vehicle or SUV. Associating aggressiveness and SUV's creates a misconception of this aggressiveness. That is when people need to take a step back and think. It is not the vehicle that creates aggressiveness, its the person.
Shawn S - Sep 23, 1999
We just had a discussion in class about SUV drivers. I think that a person who drives an SUV and becomes an aggressive driver. I have a family car, but when I drive my friends 4 Runner I gat a rush because I am higher up than everybody and I feel that I am in full control. Then I go back to my Neon that I have and everything goes back to normal.
Aris B- Sep 27, 1999
Many people who drive SUV's probably are not aggressive drivers. However I do feel that being in a large vehicle does offer them a false since of security. You may tend to be less aware, or even more brave than others on the road. Just because you are in that type of vehicle. I have a little car, and just the other day, a SUV nearly drove me off the road because he wasn't paying attention. He was driving as if he was the only one on the road. So I feel that being in a certain type of vehicle does alter the way you drive. Being in a fast car may make you want to drive faster. While being in a SUV makes you think your the boss on the road.
Jesse T - Oct 2, 1999
SUV owners does not equal aggressive drivers. Aggressiveness of drivers comes from their attitude, situation and experience on the road. Like Constancio stated in his posting, "Driving aggressive is a state of mind" and I believe that is true because an SUV does not make any driver aggressive. It is the driver's attitude, situation, and experience on the road that causes him or her to drive aggressive in the first place. It is all in the mind of a driver whether to be aggressive or not. However, what was interesting for me was that women are more aggressive in driving an SUV than men. My problem is that I don't know why. I think that there is a lot of factors that causes women to drive an SUV aggressively. Then again, it could be that women, in general, are more aggressive drivers that men are. Who knows!
Alex L - Oct 21, 1999
They just have more confidence that if ever they get into an accident, they would have a bigger chance of not getting hurt because the vehicle that they are driving offers more protection than any other vehicle on the road. I guess this can be one of the reasons why some SUV drivers can be aggressive sometimes. I do think, however that not all SUV drivers are aggressive.
Marissa M - Oct 26, 1999
Yup, not all SUV owners are aggressive drivers. There are people who like to show off their cars, and I feel they behave aggressively. I know of a couple of girls who drive SUVs, and they drive aggressively because they just like to show off. One of the girls say as she drives, "Hey little car, youíd better hurry up because my wheels are better, and bigger than yours." Iíve not had any personal experience with men in SUVs though, so I canít say which (female or male) is more aggressive.
Shawn S - Oct 28, 1999
My friend just purchased a 1989 full size Bronco. I asked him why he bought this 7 foot tall 5 foot wide monster and he said that he wanted to go off roading. He then asked me if I wanted to go for a ride, I accepted and he drove like a maniac. He cut people off and was speeding all over the place. I then asked him why he was driving like that and he said that he felt like he had more power behind the wheel. His other car is a van. I think that the SUV does change a persons way of driving.
Kisha K - Nov 6, 1999
In my home town SUV's and other large "lifted" trucks are the idealized form of transportation. Of all the drivers that I have known I have not seen a difference in the level of aggression amongst SUV drivers as compared to drivers of other vehicles. It seems to me that certain individuals may be more prone to an expression of anger as a result of their personality. This coupled with driving a large vehicle may further enhance a display of aggression. However simply owning and driving an SUV alone would not cause a person to drive aggressively.
Angelica G - Nov 9, 1999
I have wanted an SUV for about a year now but it's those big fat price tags that scare me off. I agree with the article that people who drive SUV's tend to be more aggressive and that it has something to do with a feeling of power. The first time I drove an SUV being so much higher than all the cars around me was one of the main things I liked. I felt big, strong, powerful, all of those things. It's strange that an automobile can do that to your ego, but it can. On the other hand I also agree that these SUV's are a hazard for other smaller cars. Earlier this year my Honda Civic was hit by an Isuzu Rodeo and my car was almost totaled. Had I been hit by another car the damage wouldn't have been so bad. The Rodeo barely had a dented bumper. In spite of all that I read and the fact that I agree with the article, I would still like to own an SUV. Power trip?
Kyle S - Nov 9, 1999
Is it the SUV that shapes the character of the people who buy these vehicles or is it that certain people have a tendency to be aggressive and in turn purchase these SUV to further placate their egos? Granted, there are those that buy them for their safety and practicality, but I think most of the drivers of SUVs may be aggressive to begin with. I have a friend who only buys large trucks because he is an aggressive driver. He has been one for as long as I knew him even when he only had a small toyota pick-up. Now he drives a huge Dodge Ram and drives no more aggressively than he did before.
Marissa M - Nov 15, 1999
I talked to my friend who drives an SUV this week, and I asked her what she likes about driving her SUV than a non-SUV. She says that an SUV is safer to be in. If she does get into an accident she is more likely to walk away. She also went on to say that she does not have to worry about people banging her or getting into an accident because her car is better than most cars. She now likes to speed, drive recklessly, and will not admit that her driving is dangerous. When I asked her if she cared about the welfare of other people who do not drive SUVs she shrugged her shoulders and said, "Who cares?! So long as Iím okayÖ" She is one more person adding on to the statistic that females "who drive SUVs are the most aggressive of all." How sad.
Jeanna B - Dec 2, 1999
I am not a SUV driver as of yet, however the discussion to buy one once I have children has been confirmed by both me and my partner. He and I are both a little aggressive however the conclusion of buying this type of vehicle lies in other reasoning like safety and room for the dogs. I guess it is hard to differentiate as Kyle had stated, is it the car or the person. I will have to get back to you all after the purchase.
Alex L - Dec 11, 1999
Driving an SUV is just like driving a regular car. I don't know about other SUV but I use to drive a 1994 Isuzu Rodeo and all I can say is that the interior space is as almost as big as a regular car. The only difference I see however is that SUV are bigger and more stronger but not actually faster. I guess it all depends on a person on whether he/she wants to drive an SUV or a regular car because I can't see any difference between a person becoming an aggressive driver when they are in an SUV and when they are in a regular compact size car.
Tracie O - Dec 12, 1999
After doing this question months ago I have been thinking about it. At first I thought SUV's were more aggressive because their cars are bigger than most, but I don't think so anymore. I think the SUV's are more cruising vehicles. These vehicles usually contain a family and they are just moving along the road. I haven't seen any zoom by recently and the cars that have, have been small Japanese ones. Even in traffic I noticed that the SUV's were actually going rather slow and I was getting annoyed with them. Now I think that because they are big they resemble tugboats. They just chug-a-lug along until they get to their destination. Then there are the aggressive speed boats which would be the compact cars that are weaving and speeding along to their destination. So I think my outlook on SUV's have changed. Maybe I'm just being biased because recently I have been wanting one and wouldn't mind giving up my Honda.
Back to Leon James Home || To DrDriving.org