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Participants reported on two recent experiences of anger, of which one had occurred while they were driving and the other in a non-driving situation. Anger while driving was described as less mixed with other emotions, involving purer appraisals of other-blame, more likely to be caused by communication difficulties, and slower to be noticed by the person who was its target. Levels of negative affect preceding anger were rated as significantly lower in driving than non-driving situations, and mood and unrelated pressure were considered to be less influential causes of the subsequent emotional reaction. Frequency estimates supported the popular notion that anger is relatively more likely while driving than during other activities. Individual difference measures relating to ambivalence over emotional expression, self-consciousness, and empathy showed no reliable correlations with frequency of anger while driving, but previously developed self-report indices of driving anger and aggression made a significant contribution to its prediction even after controlling for anger frequency in other situations. These results support everyday intuitions that certain features of the road situation differentially predispose drivers to become angry and that the resulting anger tends to take a different form from anger experienced off the road.


Journal article


Br J Psychol

Publication Date





507 - 526


Adolescent, Adult, Affect, Aggression, Anger, Automobile Driving, Communication, Emotions, Female, Humans, Judgment, Male, Middle Aged, Personality Assessment, Surveys and Questionnaires