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oad Rage and Aggressive Driving    Excellent with the bookROAD RAGE AND AGGRESSIVE DRIVING

 "the definitive book on the aggressive driving epidemic."

 To read excerpts   ||   To order from

"With strong documentation and easy-to-follow steps, Dr. James and Dr. Nahl show us how to adopt a more gently paced way to stop racing against time and people to get someplace and truly enjoy getting there. They show us how being a better driver helps us lead a better, happier, healthier life." 
 Paul Pearsall, Ph.D. Author of
The Pleasure Prescription and Toxic Success: How to Stop Striving and Start thriving"

Driving Advice and Links 


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r. James
                      and Dr. Nahl
 We have written books and articles on driving psychology and have posted them on this site for your interest. We also post survey results and collections of road rage news and legislation. You'll find here the Web's largest collection of literature references on driving psychology and thousands of Web organized and annotated  links to sites of interest to driving and drivers. It's all free for your personal use. For other uses, please email us for permission. See also our privacy statement.


Dr. Leon James and Dr. Diane Nahl

Kailua, Hawaii

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About  |Read Dear DrDriving Letters and Answers


My Congressional Testimony on Aggressive Driving

Newspaper Stories on Aggressive Driving Quoting Leon James

Online Discussions of Controversial Driving Issues

Collection of Road Rage News Stories Around the World

List of Past Interviews 

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Road Rage News Stories in the News from Google (2007)

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List of Past Interviews  


road rageAbout 115 people die each day from traffic crashes in the U.S.


Nearly 42,000 people die every year from traffic crashes, sending four million more to emergency rooms and hospitalizing 400,000, half with permanent disabilities.

On-the-job traffic crashes cause 3000 deaths, 332,000 injuries and cost employers over $43 billion, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and can reduce employee productivity by 40 percent. road rage woman

In addition to the emotional toll, on-the-job traffic crashes annually cost employers about $3.5 billion in property damage, $7.9 million in medical care and emergency service taxes, $17.5 billion for wage premiums, $4.9 billion for workplace disruption (to hire and train either new employees or temporary employees) and $8.5 billion in disability and life insurance costs.

Site Map  |Search this Site

   If you multiply these figures by 10 (one decade), automobile crashes in the U.S. mount to nearly half a million violent deaths every decade, and 2 million permanently disabled, costing about half a trillion dollars every decade.


Driving psychology in a lifelong driver education program tied to licensing and renewal, is the answer that will save most of this national and personal disaster. The articles below outline this solution.

400 billion aggressive exchanges per year in the U.S.Here is the way we figure it: 125 million (drivers on the road daily) X 1,000 (mini-exchanges between drivers during two commutes per day) X .01 (1 percent proportion of hostile or stressed exchanges) X 365 (days per year) = about 400 billion stressful or aggressive exchanges per year in the U.S.

You can keep scrolling or you can go directly to some of the Sections below

 Sidewalk Rag/Pedestrian Rage/Walking Rage ||  The Psychology Hypermiling  || 
The Merging Debate || The Emotional Use of the Gas Pedal ||   Articles by Leon James ||  Definition of Road Rage ||  Territoriality: What the Car Says About You || The Great Rubbernecking Debate ||  Tips for Truckers from DrDriving -- How to Deal With Anger || DrDriving's Bookstore ||






          Hearing Before the Subcommittee on Surface Transportation Of the Committee on Transportation and infrastructure House of representatives One hundred fifth congress July 17, 1997  Washington, D.C.

"Enforcement is important, Mr. Chairman, but we really need to study the causes behind road rage, and I'm looking forward to hearing from our witnesses this morning on ways in which we can identify and respond to the triggers which lead to aggressive driving. Perhaps we can incorporate some of these ideas when we move to reauthorize ISTEA."

"This committee has been fighting and will continue to fight to provide adequate funding so we can relieve congestion, and that certainly will have a very significant impact on reducing the aggressive driving that we're experiencing in this country."

"This committee does not have the capacity to change the emotions and the aggressive feelings of people out on the highway, but we do have a responsibility and the jurisdiction to try to change the environment which causes that aggression, and that environment is caused largely by congestion."
Members of the Committee

"In 15 years, I've identified many detailed psychological components of aggressive driving and have developed an empirically-based theory of what causes aggressive driving and what behavioral techniques can be used to measure and control it.


My research has confirmed to some degree nearly every driver has feelings of rage and thoughts of retaliation. For the past year, the media has increased coverage of road rage incidents, and people are asking questions for which scientific data are not yet available. Is aggressive driving increasing? Are there differences or is it a universal epidemic? What causes the increase in aggressive driving and how can it be controlled?


I think what's on the increase is the amount of habitual road rage we see today. I define habitual road rage as a persistent state of hostility behind the wheel, demonstrated by acts of aggression and a continuum of violence, and justified by righteous indignation.


Driving and habitual road rage have become virtually inseparable. Road rage is a habit  acquired in childhood. Children are reared in a car culture that condones irate expression as part of the normal wear and tear of driving. Once they enter a car, children notice that all the sudden the rules have changed. It's okay to be mad, very upset, out of control, and use bad language that's ordinarily not allowed.


By the time they get their driver's license, adolescents have assimilated years of road rage. The road rage habit can be unlearned, but it takes more than conventional driver's ed."
Dr. Leon James



When did the term Road Rage enter our vocabulary?

"The expression "road rage" was first used in newspapers in England around 1990. Later the French newspapers began using the expression "rage au volant" (literally: rage behind the wheel). At the same time Turkish newspapers used the expression "your demon behind the wheel." Back in the days of ancient Rome there was a law passed against "furious driving" which tried to address the recklessness of drunk drivers of horse drawn carriages. It is a world wide phenomenon.

Our book Road Rage and Aggressive Driving came out in 2000. It was the first use of the expression in a book title. Today the expression "road rage" is used daily in dozens of newspapers around the world (see Google News search)."

Dr. Leon James in Atlanta Journal interview, December 14, 2008.

What Causes Driving Stress and the Emotional Use of the Gas Pedal?

Emotional Territoriality in Driving – What Is It? see article below

See:  Congressional Testimony by Dr. Leon James on Aggressive Driving
SeeLetters from Readers About My Congressional Testimony



 "the definitive book on the aggressive driving epidemic."

 To read excerpts   ||   To order from

"With strong documentation and easy-to-follow steps, Dr. James and Dr. Nahl show us how to adopt a more gently paced way to stop racing against time and people to get someplace and truly enjoy getting there. They show us how being a better driver helps us lead a better, happier, healthier life." 
 Paul Pearsall, Ph.D. Author of The Pleasure Prescription and Toxic Success: How to Stop Striving and Start Thriving


Site Map  |Search this Site

Children's Books at  |Songs About Cars ||   Asess Your Road Rage Tendency || 

Articles on this Site Free for your use

by Dr. Leon James


1.     ·  My Congressional Testimony on the Psychology of Road Rage and Aggressive Driving

2.    ·  Our Road Rage and Aggressive Driving Book -- Excerpts and Index 

3.    ·  Dealing with stress and pressure in the vehicle. Taxonomy of Driving Behavior:  Affective, Cognitive, Sensorimotor

4.    ·  A New Paradigm for a Global Lifelong Driver Education Curriculum

5.    ·  Two concept Papers: Instituting a Program of Lifelong Traffic Safety Training
and Promoting the Spread of Quality Driving Circles (QDC) for Post-Licensing Driver Self-improvement Programs

6.    ·  Lifelong Driver's Education: A New Socio-Behavioral Proposal

7.    ·  Driving Psychology Principles

8.    ·  Aggressive Driving is Emotionally Impaired Driving

9.    ·  Aggressive Driving is Emotionally Impaired Driving Conference Paper Summary Principles, Handouts, Analyses, and Charts

10. ·  Driver Personality Survey Results: Driving With Emotional Intelligence

11.  ·  Gender and Driving--Men vs. Women

12. ·  Driving Personality Makeovers

13. ·  Musings of a Traffic Psychologist in Traffic--Social Psychology of Driving

14. ·  Partnership Driving

15. ·  Philosophy of Driving

16. ·  Principles of Driving Psychology

17. ·  Psychology and Driving

18. ·  Violence and Driving--A Mental Health Issue

19. ·  QDC--Quality Driving Circles or Support Groups

20. ·  3-Step Program for Changing Your Driving Habits

21. ·  Data On the Private World of the Driver (thoughts and feelings)

22. ·  What Drivers Complain About Arranged by Feelings, Thoughts, and Acts

23. ·  Common Aggressive Driving Habits and What To Do About Them

24. ·  Traffic Emotions Education Cards

25. ·  DrDriving's Rating of the Strength of Aggressive Driving Language in Legislation

26. ·  Common Driving Habits and What To Do About Them

27.·  Cars, Drivers, Passengers and Relationships, Marriage, Romance

28. ·  Drivers Against Pedestrians: How to Change Attitudes -- Checklist for Your Tendency to Pressure Pedestrians -- Your Emotional Intelligence Towards Pedestrians

29. ·  Pedestrian Psychology and Safety

30. ·  Pedestrian Rage

31. ·  Bicycling Safety Information -- The War Against Drivers

32. ·  The Psychology of Air Rage Prevention With Compassionate Crowd Management Techniques

33. ·  Driving Informatics and Links

34. ·  Driving Information and Links

35. ·  Driving Topics and Web Links

36. ·  Driving Literature References

37. ·  Largest Collection of Road Rage and Driving Tips on the Web (1996-2007)

39. ·  Acts of Kindness while Driving

40. ·  DBB Ratings--Drivers Behaving Badly Movie Ratings

41. ·  Distracted Driving: Cell phones, Multitasking

42. ·  Red Light Running

43. ·  Collection of Statistics, Facts, Advice, Tips

44. ·  Analyzing Newsgroups for Drivers--Student Reports

45. ·  Workshop Charts on Getting a Grip on Anger while Driving

46. ·  Music and Driving

47. ·  For Law Enforcement and Safety Officials: Aggressive Driving Questions and Answers

48. ·  Chart of Your Driving Personality

50. ·  Road Rage Overview

51. ·  Driver Personality Test

52. ·  Driving Vignettes

53. ·  Driving Cartoons

54. ·  DrDriving's Advice for Managing Your Own Road Rage

55. ·  Hawaii Road Rage and Driving Issues

56. ·  The New Driver Education for the Year 2000

57. ·  Collection of Road Rage News Stories Around the World

58. ·  Interview Answers on Road Rage and Other Rages for Various News Sources

59. ·  The Psychology of Parking Rage: Threestep Program For Prevention

60. ·  Driver Personality Test and Results

61. ·  DrDriving's Advice for AAA Members on Managing Your Own Road Rage

67. ·  Emotional Reactions to the September 11 Attack

69. ·  Birds Stories The Social Psychology of a Backyard Aviary

70. ·  Songs About Driving Cars on Roads and Highways

71.  The Effect of Age, Gender, and Type of Car Driven Compared by the States



Site Map  |Search this Site

Teen Drivers | Elderly Drivers | Parking Rage | Truck Drivers | School Buses | Emergency Vehicles | Police and Legislation | Boat Rage | RoadRageous Video Course | Distracted Driving | Bicycling | Motorcyclists and Aggressiveness || Excerpts About Bicyclists From Our Book  || Surf Rage | Emotional Spin Cycle | Bookstore | Road Rage Book | Road Rage Articles || DrDriving's Bookstore ||  What Your Car Says About You (click to go down to that Section)


Index to Controversial Issues Debated

including these topics
Issues Part 1 -- Right Lane vs. Left Lane Feelings | Tailgating | Social Responsibility
Issues Part 2 -- Driving the Speed Limit | PSA Radio Spots | Car Phones | Automatic Pilot | DUI Counseling
Issues Part 3 -- Why I Tailgate | Coned Lane: When to Merge | Social Responsibility
Issues Part 4 -- Road Rage | Driver Education | Driving Personality | Stereotypes About Women Drivers
Issues Part 5 -- Merging When Lane is Coned | Continuing Driver Education
Issues Part 6 -- Good Drivers' Association | Slay Your Driving Dragon
Issues Part 7 -- What B.A.D. Drivers Do
Issues Part 8 -- Tailgating and Aloha Spirit Driving
Issues Part 14 -- Aggressive Drivers and Road Rage | New Name "Crashes" vs. "Accidents" |
Issues Part 15 -- Princess Diana: The Road Rage Incident of the Century: Day 1
Issues Part 26 -- Speed limits | DUI | Crosswalks |Traffic calming methods | .


Index to Controversial Issues Debated  |Search this Site





Brits driven mad by reckless road antics



November 2014

The top 10 things experienced on the road which are most likely to cause road rage are:

1.       Drivers who change lanes dangerously (68.4%)

       Drivers who do not indicate before manoeuvres (67.8%)

       Drivers who use a mobile phone while driving (68.5%)

       Drivers who tailgate (64%)

       Drivers who pull out of side roads without having right of way (59%)

       Cyclists who are not paying attention to the road (e.g. jumping traffic lights) (54%)

       Drivers of large vehicles (e.g. bus or lorry drivers) who drive unsafely on the road (53%)

       Pedestrians who are not paying attention to the cars on the road (42%)

       Slow drivers (40%)

    Traffic jams (29%)

If you’d like to test your knowledge of the rules of the road please visit:    

Survey of 2,129 adults in Britain conducted by YouGov on behalf of 1ST CENTRAL between 6th and 7th October 2014.

*Based on 50.5m British adults, figure taken from ONS


- Nine in 10 people suffer from road rage -

- 34.5m people in Britain become enraged by drivers who change lanes recklessly -

- One in 25 18-24 year olds take selfies at the wheel -

Nine in 10 Brits (93%) suffer from road rage, according to a recent study from car insurance provider, 1ST CENTRAL.

Drivers who change lanes dangerously are one of the biggest triggers of road rage angering 34.5 million* people across Britain (68.4%). This was followed closely by drivers using their mobile phone while at the wheel (67.8%) and motorists who do not indicate before a manoeuvre (67.5%).

Tailgating is the number one road pet peeve for people in Scotland, with more than half of Scots confirming it drives them crazy (54%). However, the most infuriating habit for people in Wales is when drivers use their phones at the wheel (67%) and for people in England, it is those who change lanes recklessly (68%).

1ST CENTRAL research reveals that typically men are the most likely to flout the law and use their mobiles whilst driving, with more than a quarter owning up to doing so (27%) as opposed to just one in eight female drivers (13%). Worryingly, 2% of all drivers say they find it difficult to drive without checking their phones, and one in 25 young drivers (4%) admit to taking selfies while on the road.

Meanwhile, despite government measures put in place over a year ago to crack down on the offence of tailgating, a common frustration for those behind the wheel, one in five motorists reported seeing an increase in the offence.

The research, which was commissioned in partnership with YouGov to launch 1ST CENTRAL’s campaign to help bust common driving myths, aims to clear up some misunderstood rules of the road. 1ST CENTRAL has launched an online driving game – Road Rule-ette – challenging drivers to test their knowledge of the road and learn the truths behind the myths.

Commenting on the findings, Pete Creed, Co-founder and Chief Underwriting Officer at 1ST CENTRAL said: “Britain’s drivers should be aware that using their phone at the wheel or driving recklessly is not only illegal but can anger members of the public, which could cause accidents and lead to a major impact on their future insurance premium. At 1ST CENTRAL, we recommend that our drivers take a moment before each journey to ensure they are in a calm state of mind and make sure they’ve sent off any important text messages or emails before driving.”

Drivers 'don't regret road rage'


Nearly two in three drivers have engaged in road rage in the last three years and nearly all thought their behaviour was justified, a poll shows.

More than 10% of motorists even admitted it could be good to be a bit aggressive on the road.

And nearly 60% of the road ragers said they had behaved badly after being annoyed by the poor driving of others, the survey from Zurich Insurance found.

From: The Press Association April 4, 2008. 

Best Driver in the World Blog:  Check out the solutions.

Road Rage in China

2015-05-26 Road Rage in the Eyes of a Psychologist

   2015-05-26 10:39:19      Web Editor: Ding Heng

Traffic in Shanghai [Photo:]

The rising frequency of aggressive driving behaviors, or road rage, is going hand in hand with the growing number of cars on the road.

In China, for example, where there was a 200-million increase in the numbers of licensed drivers over the last one decade, road rage led to more than 82-thousand traffic accidents in 2014 alone. That was an annual increase of 2.4%, according to China's Ministry of Public Security. From this January to April, this frequency further increased by 1.7% compared to the same period last year.

The most recent well-known case of road rage in China took place in the Southwestern city of Chengdu, where a male driver brutally hit a woman after being infuriated by her provocative driving behavior.

So, what could be the reasons behind the aggressiveness and anger behind wheels? What could be a possible solution?

For discussions over these and more, today we're joined by a psychologist who has been studying road rage for decades. He is Leon James, Professor of Psychology from University of Hawaii.

Listen to the half hour interview:

One In Six Have Been Road Rage Victims



- And nearly 300,000 have had cars damaged in road rage incidents, says

One in six drivers have been victims of road rage incidents in the past 12 months, new research from * shows.

More than 7.4 million motorists have been involved in confrontations with other drivers with younger drivers the most likely to be on the receiving end of other road users’ anger, the independent financial comparison website says.


The survey found that nearly 300,000 drivers had their cars damaged as a result of road rage confrontations – graphically illustrating the need for insurance. According to the RAC Foundation some ten per cent of drivers have been involved in an accident with an uninsured driver.


Several motor insurers such as Sainsbury’s Bank, which pays up to £1,000 compensation if drivers are assaulted, offer cover for road rage as part of their standard policies while others such as women-only insurer Sheila’s Wheels provide counselling services.


Sean Gardner of, said: “Most of us will have lost our tempers while stuck in traffic and can sympathise with the sense of frustration felt by other drivers.


“But any sympathy goes out of the window for drivers who take out their anger on others. Shouting and swearing at other motorists is bad enough but damaging other drivers’ cars is beyond the pale.


“Our study did not thankfully find any evidence of physical assault but that is perhaps more down to luck than anything else. The fact that one in six of us has suffered from road rage is worrying. And of course many of us may be guilty of road rage ourselves.” estimates that around one in twenty fully comprehensive car insurance policies have a specific allowance for personal injury caused by road rage. However there are often exceptions and caveats, such as whether you caused the altercation and whether you are related to your assailant.


The most common form of road rage reported by motorists is tailgating – driving too close to another car – or other forms of aggressive driving. Around three-quarters of those who have suffered road rage in the past year were tailgated.


Half of the road rage incidents reported by motorists resulted in verbal confrontation while four per cent saw cars being damaged.


Around 16 per cent of motorists say they have suffered road rage in the past year – that rises to 19 per cent of 18 to 34-year-old motorists. Drivers aged 55 or over are least likely to be victims.


Drivers in the North of England are more likely to be road rage victims with 18 per cent reporting incidents while just 12 per cent of motorists in London have been victims.






oman road rage

What causes aggressive driving? 

Are men and women equally aggressive?



By Dr. Leon James



The frustration-aggression theory states that when people believe that they are being prevented from achieving their goal, frustration will mount, causing an increase in the probability of an aggressive response .

However, frustration does not lead to an aggressive act in all situations, but is dependent on the other person’s ability to retaliate.

Aggression intensifies when frustration is unexpected, but weakens when the cause of frustration is perceived as unintentional or legitimate. (e.g., yielding to an EM vehicle’s siren)

Another cause of aggression is the need to reciprocate after being provoked by another person. This leads to retaliation practices. The need to retaliate leads to mental venting, which is a major cause of aggressive emotions and behavior.

Certain hormones, such as testosterone, have even been shown to influence aggression. Since men generally have higher testosterone levels than women, it follows that men are generally more aggressive creatures than women. (e.g., what is called “spouse-abuse” is mostly perpetrated by mean on women)

Social norms and practices allow boys and men to express more aggressive behavior than girls and women. Overt expressions of aggressive driving such as verbal road rage and vehicular pursuit are practiced by men more than by women.

Men are more prone to explosive feelings of road rage and retaliatory fantasies because they practice violent forms of mental venting or ruminating. Boys practice war games with each other and they spend more time with video games and virtual world experiences that are warlike and violent. Girls are more focused on relationship games they enact with each other. How people drive reflects their socialization as children and their social practices as adults. Some women can be more aggressive than the average for men. Some men can be less aggressive than the average for women drivers.

Both men and women are at greater risk on the road because of their practice of ruminating about driving incidents, drivers, roads, traffic, passengers, pedestrians, bicyclists, truck drivers, traffic lights and cameras, etc. These rumination topics prepare people to ruminate more in an endless spiral of escalating ruminations.

People mentally drown in their ruminations about daily traffic.

Avoid rehearsing the thoughts that justify the ruminations.

Argue yourself out of ruminating.

Men and women ruminate about different topics and situations. (research needed)

The antidote to ruminating driving is supportive driving.

Women are more likely to like, to accept, and to practice the style of supportive driving. Men are attracted to such ruminations as:

“You can’t let them get away with this kind of behavior.”

“You have to teach them a lesson.”

“You can’t let them walk all over you. They are a menace. Somebody has got to do something.”

“I can’t just be a wimp. I’m going to show them they can mess with me.”


See related articles here |Site Map  ||  Search this Site


The truth about road rage

Bonnie Berkowitz and James Smallwood/The Washington Post. Published on September 1, 2013, 7:22 p.m.

Nearly everyone exhibits it (even you!), and it can hurt us even if all we do is silently hope the jerk in the next lane spills coffee in his lap. Aggressive driving leads to more aggressive driving because we assume others behave badly on purpose, says Christine Wickens, who co-wrote three studies on the topic. “If we attribute [poor driving] to deliberate, intentional meanness, we tend to be more aggressive ourselves,” she said. Read related story.

he truth about road rage

Sources: Leon James, professor of psychology at the University of Hawaii; ”Driver anger on the information superhighway: A content analysis of online complaints of offensive driver behavior,” by Christine Wickens, et al; AAA. | Bonnie Berkowitz and James Smallwood/The Washington Post. Published on September 1, 2013,


traffic close up



The Psychology of Sidewalk Rage



Dr. Leon James (“DrDriving”)



Walking is not just getting from one place to another. A pedestrian does not just move through physical space, but at the same time through social space and mental space. Social space maps out normative paths, selecting some physical motion as allowable, and others as not allowable. Walkers suddenly stop as they seem mesmerized by their tiny mobile device. They are violating normative paths allowing themselves to compel nearby pedestrians in both directions to negotiate their way around the physical block.

These walkers are now navigating  in mental space as they strive to avoid embarrassing and sometimes painful collisions with each other. Their mental space tends to be in a negative environment filled with dark clouds and screeching owls. Their mental space is now populated with screaming rageful thoughts portraying butchering fantasies. These inner realities break out into physical space where they are portrayed as verbal exclamations of annoyance, derogation and punishment.

Walking around with intolerance and disapproval produces emotional depression and moral corruption. The more negative are my mental spaces as a walker, the more stressful the walk and consequently, the more unhealthy. Although I have seen no evidence of research it is my opinion that the habit of rageful walking has become a major mental health hazard, and consequently, a major hazard on our physical health.

Today more people are expressing a variety of rageful behavior both in public, like road rage and air rage, and in private, like computer rage and office rage. My definition for sidewalk rage is the following:

Sidewalk rage refers to the experience of rageful emotions against other pedestrians who impede our locomotion or act threateningly without showing sufficient awareness of or caring for the other pedestrians.

It’s normal to experience sidewalk rage under certain conditions as when we come up against pedestrians at airports who are walking on the left and disrupting the flow of those who are moving along at a quick pace. See if you can recognize your own experiences in the following sequence of events:


Continued here.....



The Effect of Age, Gender, and Type of Car Driven Across the States

by Dr. Leon James (2001)


The pattern of results thus far lead me to the following conclusions:

Aggressive driving is made up of a syndrome of habits that stick together
with plenty of individual variation.

Young drivers are more aggressive in all driving behaviors than older
drivers; senior drivers are the least aggressive.

Men are more aggressive than women when they drive sports cars and light
trucks (S-10, Pick-up, Ram, Ranger, F-150, Silverado, Dakota, etc.); women
are more aggressive than men when they drive SUVs and luxury cars. For
economy and family cars, it depends on the specific behavior.

There appear to be three psychological categories of vehicles people
drive: tough driving cars (sports, light trucks, SUVs), soft driving cars
(economy, family), and special driving cars (vans, luxury). Each of these
psychological categories has its own aggressive driving syndrome that
distinguishes it from the others.

It is evident that aggressive driving is a cultural norm that is generationally transmitted as a habit imbibed in childhood when riding with parents and reinforced by repeated media portrayals of drivers
behaving badly. To get us out of this, I propose a program of Lifelong Driver Education.


Eastbourne course will help women fight road rage


By Emily-Ann Elliott  6/6/2008

Women drivers are to be taught how to use everyday objects to defend themselves against road rage maniacs. (...)


Publicity material for the event on June 12 states: "As part of the course, volunteers from the audience will be invited to take part in role-play by a personal self-protection specialist and learn how to beat the bullies behind the wheel and, if diplomacy fails, how to use everyday objects normally found about one's person for self-protection and to ensure a rapid escape from a would-be attacker." (...)


Gail Taylor, marketing manager of Eastbourne Motoring Centre, said: "Personal safety and security are imperative for everyone, particularly women today. "The menace of aggressive, inconsiderate driving on our roads seems to be increasing at the moment and we believe that all it takes is a little care and consideration to avoid situations which can escalate into the kinds of tragic incidents we have all heard about recently. "We want women to enjoy their independence and freedom and be able to travel safely and confidently on our roads. "We hope that, by highlighting the risks facing women drivers, the course will provide them with a wealth of information and practical advice." (...)




See also: Gender and Driving--Men vs. Women

Driving literacy facts that every driver needs to know!


by Dr. Leon James

World wide, about 1.5 million people are killed in road accidents every year -- that's 15 million killed on the roads every decade. Road accident research has pointed towards driver error in the majority of cases. In the U.S. about 42,000 traffic fatalities occur every year and about 1.5 million injuries annually at a total cost of 200 billion dollars -- that means in every decade we kill 420,000 Americans on the roads, injure 15 million Americans on the road, and pay a whopping two trillion dollar cost in repairs, injuries, insurance, and economic loss.  Our foreign oil dependence and domestic shortage would be solved if we stopped using the gas pedal emotionally in traffic every day.


Almost all of "driver error" can be traced to insufficient emotional intelligence training behind the wheel. All drivers can train themselves to acquire emotional intelligence behind the wheel. We have proposed that driver education start early in elementary school when we can train young people to acquire respect and compassion for others in public places -- pedestrians, drivers, passengers, road workers, law enforcement. We describe a threestep method for driver personality makeovers. Every individual is raised to be an aggressive driver and pedestrian through years of training on the back seat of the car driven by parents and other adults -- road rage nursery! Add up the years of daily television watching and video gaming involving drivers behaving aggressively, dangerously, and violently. By the time we start driving we automatically drive aggressively, have competitive feelings and intentions behind the wheel.


The threestep self-modification approach can provide adult drivers with a new supportive driver personality style, to replace the aggressive driving feelings, emotions, intentions, judgments, condemnations, and acts of risk and folly that all of us experience and tolerate on a daily basis. Driving is the most dangerous thing we do on a regular basis, and it has the highest cost as well. We can change that.

Useful statistics

on car crashes and injuries may also be found on these Web sites:

Best solution for traffic woes? Eliminating the drivers


By Emily Mulhausen - Columbia News Service | Saturday, May 17, 2008

(...) The best way to eliminate congestion, some experts say, is to take the driver out of the driver's seat. "We wouldn't have to deal with people behind the wheel," said Dr. Jerry Schneider, a University of Washington professor emeritus of urban planning and civil engineering. "It would be a totally hands-off, brain-off experience."

Driverless design concepts include Personal Rapid Transit, which involves passenger taxi-pods on rails; automatic highway systems that direct driverless cars using magnetic guidelines; and dual-mode systems with cars that can be driven normally on smaller roads and for shorter distances, but could go driverless on specialized electric rails, or "guideways," for high-speed controlled travel.

"In the morning you would drop the kids off at school, drive to the guideway, sit back, read the paper, and automatically get off where you want to go," said Kirston Henderson, the president and inventor of MegaRail Transportation Systems, a dual-mode company based in Texas. (...)

Indeed, increased efficiency from higher speeds, standardized spacing between cars and driverless driving could dramatically increase road capacities. A normal highway lane can carry about 2,000 cars an hour, Schneider said, while a dual-mode "lane" could handle 15,000 or more. Traffic congestion is a "$78 billion annual drain on the U.S. economy in the form of 4.2 billion lost hours and 2.9 billion gallons of wasted fuel," says the Texas Transportation Institute in its 2007 Urban Mobility Report, with the average rush hour commuter losing $710 a year while stuck in traffic. (...)

But solutions that focus on the physical aspects of traffic may be overlooking the real problem.

"Congestion is often not caused by the road, but by the way drivers are driving," said Dr. Leon James, a psychology professor at the University of Hawaii and a pioneer in the small field of traffic psychology. When one driver in traffic makes a mistake, tailgates, or changes lanes unnecessarily, hundreds of cars may have to suddenly put on the brakes.

"We call it a traffic wave," he said. "Everything suddenly slows to a crawl, but there's no obstruction."

That, in turn, has a psychological effect. "Congestion makes you feel frustrated and panicky," said James, who recommends a program of lifelong driver's education to help deal with the cognitive problems caused by driving. "Many people are driving around in a constant seething rage." (...)


See also a Web site on traffic waves.
Watch a a brief YouTube video called  Shockwave traffic jams recreated for first time


Site Map  |Search this Site  || DrDriving's Bookstore ||

Moffat: Violent Heart: Understanding Aggressive Individuals

Traffic accidents lead to approximately 40,000 deaths per year in the US. The world toll in 1999 was 1 million deaths and 40 million injuries In 2020, the worldwide death toll from traffic accidents is expected to rise to about 2.3 million Road accidents are the leading cause of death for males 15-44. Pedestrians and cyclists accounted for 19.3% of all traffic fatalities in the US and 13 Western European nations in 1992. of all crashes: 85% are attributed to road user error



Directory of Topics in Driving Informatics with Web Links Definition of Aggressive Driving and Road Rage Children's Books at  |Songs About Cars


Brief Summary of How
Driving Psychology Explains


What is Aggressive Driving


by Dr. Leon James


Aggressive Driving is a philosophy (P), an attitude (A), and a weakness (W).
You can remember this as  AD = PAW.

 Aggressive driving as a philosophy

Road regulations and civility do not apply to me some of the time.

 Aggressive driving as an attitude

Driving is a competition for who gets through first. I am more entitled than others -- me first. I can't be a wimp and let other motorists take advantage of me.

Aggressive driving as a weakness  

Aggressive driving is an emotional weakness or a lowered ability to cope with routine everyday exchanges with other motorists. It is a lack or insufficiency of emotional intelligence. It involves mental venting to oneself behind the wheel, and social venting to one's co-workers, friends, or any stranger who will listen.

The PAW syndrome of aggressive driving is part of the culture of disrespect on highways. It is a world wide phenomenon present in epidemic proportions in every country studied so far. It is a generationally transmitted socialization habit and therefore is going to increase and get worse with every subsequent generation -- unless we stop it through lifelong driver education programs and quality driving circles for driver self-improvement activities tied to license renewal.


DDC 4, 5th edition includes two new 10-minute video sessions:

Chain of Choices” looks at the choices that each driver makes every day. Proper following distance, common courtesy road rage, driver distractions are covered along insight
 from Dr William Glasser and Dr. Leon James on why people choose the driving behaviors they do. View a short-clip from “Chain of Choices



What is Speeding?  From National Public Radio --
Listen to this program now online

Talk of the Nation,
June 7, 2007 · Most states are tough on drunk drivers, but it is actually speeders who cause the most deadly car crashes. Yet, even when they are caught, many speeders get off easy. Guests discuss the psychology behind our desire to speed and why we think nothing of going above the limit. Leon James, professor of psychology, University of Hawaii; co-author, Road Rage and Aggressive Driving
Judith Stone, president, Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety
Richard Retting, senior transportation engineer, Insurance Institute of Highway Safety


From Wisconsin Public Radio two programs on drivers and roads:

 KHON Channel 2 FOX Television Honolulu.  Interview on the evening news with Tina Shelton regarding the psychology of speeding vs. breaking the speed limit. June 28, 2007. See the video segment here.

How "real" is road rage? Read a few news stories on road rage around the world from

DrDriving's Collection Road Rage News Stories  |Dr. Leon James in the News

Road Construction Rage -- see news stories here.


What is Aggressive Driving?  News clip for Medics and FORSCOM military bases.

WHYY Radio PA Voices In The Family  12/22/08  Traffic Psychology 


It's Monday morning on the Schuylkill expressway, and it is a very loud, frustrating parking lot. And you... well you are speaking in a language of expletives you never would say outside the comfort of your car. This behavior has become acceptable, but most of us wouldn't dare act this way otherwise. Or would we? On the next Voices in the Family, Dr. Dan Gottlieb talks with the author of Traffic, Tom Vanderbilt about why we drive the way we do and what it says about us. Dr. Dan will also speak with Professor of Psychology at the University of Hawaii, Dr. Leon James, who specializes in traffic psychology. Hear Voices in the Family Mondays at noon, with a repeat broadcast Sunday at 6 a.m.



The Psychology of Vanity Plates


Dr. Leon James

Professor of Psychology

University of Hawaii




Also called “personalized plates” or “personal plates”.  I see it as people’s attempt to fight the anonymity of the daily driving experience on roads and highways, and thus to try to re-humanize the driving environment that has evolved into something stressful and unhealthy, competitive and risky, frustrating, and anonymous. Personalized plates extend the current exploding mobile social networking movement and can be expected to increase and become more important in the immediate future of motorists, passengers, and pedestrians.


Several issues are involved in this cultural practice:


1. Content

2. Appropriateness

3. Cultural Meaning

4. Psychological Meaning



1. Content

a. it is a reference to a personal relationship (person, group, or place) that may be unintelligible to outsiders (solidarity, friendship, or opposite—insult, hate)

b. it uses a generally recognizable word or name to express support for it (social cause, political principle, place or location, company ad, etc.)

c. it commemorates along with some others a conference or event that ties them together

d. it presents a hidden message that others can decipher and appreciate (self-disclosure, wise advice, etc.)


2. Appropriateness

States filter license plate applications, rejecting or banning sexually explicit or religious and racial slurs. 


3. Cultural Meaning

a. it is an act of self-expression through content and style of the vanity plate

b. it is equivalent to a “speech act” or act of declaring something publicly about oneself

c. (i) it is expressing and sharing humor (“It’s fun…” or “Let’s laugh together”, etc.), or expressing user generated semiotic ambiguity while driving (“See what I have for you today…”, “I can be charming and original…”, etc.)

   (ii) it is promoting a particular variety of socio-political activism (“I support this…” or “I am against this…” etc.)



4. Psychological Meaning

a. willingness to pay more for the plates (indicating engagement and strong motivation)

b. mark of distinction through its uniqueness and inventiveness, either positive (“I am clever…”, “I can amaze you…”, etc.) or negative (mean attacks, intention to hurt)



Background Reading


Vanity Plates: Contest Entries and Awards

Vanity plate

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia




The Great Merging Debate


How do you handle it? email

Here are some of the things people say.....





Several alternative lane merge strategies have been proposed in recent years to process

vehicles through work zone lane closures more safely and efficiently. Among these is the late

merge. With the late merge, drivers are instructed to use all lanes to the merge point and then

take turns proceeding through the work zone. Its efficiency has been tested on only a limited

basis. The purpose of this project was to determine when, if at all, deployment of the late merge

was beneficial.


The late merge concept was evaluated by comparing it to the traditional merge using

computer simulations and field evaluations. Computer simulations included analysis of 2-to-1,

3-to-1, and 3-to-2 lane closure configurations to determine its impact on throughput and the

impact of factors such as free flow speed, demand volume, and percentage of heavy vehicles.

Field tests were limited to 2-to-1 lane closures, as recommended by state transportation officials,

and examined the impact of treatment type on vehicle throughput, percentage of vehicles in the

closed lane, and time in queue.

Results of the computer simulations showed the late merge produced a statistically

significant increase in throughput volume for only the 3-to-1-lane closure configuration and was

beneficial across all factors for this type of closure. For the 2-to-1 and 3-to-2 lane closure

configurations, the late merge increased throughput when the percentage of heavy vehicles was



Field tests showed similar trends with regard to throughput. Although throughput

increased, the increase was not statistically significant because of the limited number of heavy

vehicles at the site. More drivers were in the closed lane, indicating a response to the late merge

signs. Time in queue was also reduced, although the reductions were not statistically significant.

The authors conclude that the late merge should be considered for 3-to-1 lane closure

configurations but not until a sound methodology for deployment has been developed and tested

in the field. For the 2-to-1 and 3-to-2 configurations, the late merge should be implemented only

when the percentage of heavy vehicles is at least 20 percent.




Evaluation of 2004 Dynamic Late Merge System (DLMS)
for the Minnesota Department of Transportation




The DLMS is designed to utilize the best aspects of the Early and Late Merge strategies. Through the use of technology, this DLMS traffic control strategy can dynamically change its lane use instructions based on the current traffic demands. This alters the traffic control theory from an early merge strategy under light traffic demand to a late merge strategy during periods of congestion. The motivation for this approach stems from a desire to make the roadways safer and eliminate conditions where motorists typically exhibit conflicting driver behaviors. (...)


Shorten Queue Lengths before Work Zone:


By encouraging the use of both lanes in congested conditions, the length of a forming queue should be greatly reduced under the Dynamic Late Merge System. If all drivers follow the posted instructions, the queue length could be reduced by half, ensuring that no vehicles would encounter the back of a queue before first seeing the construction advanced warning sign.

Increase Traffic Capacity through Work Zone:


Based on experiences from previous studies, it is hoped that having a single merging point at a defined location will increase the number of cars through the work zone. Reduce Aggressive Driving: If no other benefits are achieved, reducing the stress level for drivers at the work zone could be beneficial enough to warrant the use of the Dynamic Late Merge System. Recent years have seen an escalation in the number of road rage incidents and aggressive driving behaviors around work zones. Impatient and antagonistic drivers have blocked other vehicles from passing or have driven around queues on the roadway shoulders or medians. Eliminating the causes of these outbursts could stabilize the behaviors of already frustrated drivers. (...)


The messages posted at the three CMS locations were the same as those of the US10 deployment during the summer of 2003: furthest from the taper “STOPPED TRAFFIC AHEAD” – “USE BOTH LANES,” next “USE BOTH LANES” (...) typically observed behavior when drivers encounter the advanced warning signs of a construction zone lane closure is for drivers to move out of the closed (discontinuous) lane to the lane continuing through the construction zone. Some drivers have even been observed to brake radically in order to join the end of a queue forming in the continuous lane after seeing the first static advanced-warning sign. These early merging behaviors result in a long single lane queue; a scenario with many dangerous driving conditions. (...) The two advanced warning CMS farthest from the taper alert drivers to the stopped traffic ahead and instruct them to continue using both lanes.


Debating the Issue



Quote:  The usual signs are there for advance warning of lane closure so get over as soon as you can.

No they are not. They are there so you know which lane is closed and know which way you have to merge and how far.

Quote: The signs you link too are irrelevant to this topic

They are 100% relevant as it is people doing as those signs advise doing what the OP was complaining about.

Quote: They are 100% relevant as it is people doing as those signs advise doing what the OP was complaining about.

It is also obvious that using all the road space available and letting everyone merge smoothly at the merge point is more efficient and reduces the length of the queue.


For your information the sequence of traffic management signs at those works were as follows:

Diagram 7072 "800 yds"
7072 "600 yds"
7072 "400 yds"
7072 "200 yds"


So it's fairly obvious from those signs that what they expect people to do when there is heavy traffic is to use both lanes up to the point just before the 200 yds sign where they are told to merge in turn. Do you think those sign would be there if they wanted people to merge at the 800 yds sign?

Quote: What's the point of merging at 800 yds when there is still 800 yds of road ahead of you? It sounds like common sense to me. It gets more traffic through.

So everyone is at fault then really, moving across too soon causes the arrogant drivers to become impatient, and steam along the almost empty lane at 70mph to overtake a few people.


Quote:  No, only the idiots who move across too soon causing stop-start traffic three times longer than necessary are at fault.

Quote:  I never drive down the hard shoulder to jump ahead in a queue, since it's illegal. But at impending roadworks, I will happily admit that I drive down the outside lane and merge further up. There is nothing illegal about it. I do not do it aggressively, nor do I brag about it. I simply put my indicator on and wait for someone to let me in - since someone always will. Or I move into a big enough gap if there is one. I fail to see the point in queueing for something, when it's perfectly legal to do what I just described. As someone already said, people are too English about it!


I get annoyed when there are roadworks with a sign indicating that a lane is closing so many yards up the road. The traffic flow is slowed right down by some berk 400 yards from the cones trying to cut in 20 cars from the roadworks, only because he/she is scared to upset someone. Damn drive to were the road actually closes then merge in turn.....some roadworks even put signs up telling you to do so! Then you get the big lorry in the closing lane picking a car next to it and matching its speed......allowing 400 yards plus of empty road ahead of it, jeez. Should be a fixed penalty fine for NOT merging in turn and using the whole road in roadworks/lane closure situations. At least the govt should make it clear/official that its an offence or add it to the highway code





I have aggressively straddled two lanes with my car in order to block late merges in construction zones. I get pissed when people fly by me in the other lane AFTER I've already merged.

I have shook my fist fiercely at people who refuse to merge with everyone else a 1/2 mile before the merge zone....those a*&holes!!!

LO AND BEHOLD. I was WRONG. And some people I met from California and Pennsylvania were laughing at me as they tried to explain that people in Minnesota and Wisconsin simply don't know how to merge. They blamed it on Minnesota nice....We see a sign that says the lane is going to end, and we move over immediately cuz it's the polite thing to do. RIGHT?

WRONG. I am changing my ways, henceforth, even though I know the early mergers are going to get pissed.

From the Minnesota Department of Transportation

"ST. PAUL, Minn. — Fifteen percent of drivers admitted to straddling lanes in order to block late merges in construction zones, according to a recent study conducted by the Minnesota Department of Transportation.

To address the more than 2,700 crashes and 18 fatalities occurring in highway construction zones last year, Mn/DOT commissioned a study to better understand the behaviors and attitudes that trigger driving decisions in merging situations as drivers enter a work zone.

'Our goal is to increase safety in work zones by reducing the confusion and frustration drivers often experience when merging,' said William Servatius, Mn/DOT's Office of Construction. 'Many times crashes occur due to aggressive driving, abrupt lane changes or sudden stops, so we want to help drivers make good choices while traveling through our work zones.'

In an attempt to minimize the problems discovered in the research, Mn/DOT also conducted a month-long field study on Highway 10 in Anoka to assess a new Dynamic Late Merge System, a traffic control strategy to improve merging at lane closures.

'The fully automated system using remote traffic microwave sensors and a Doppler radar provides instructions to drivers via changeable message signs on when to merge and how to merge according to the current state of traffic,' said Craig Mittelstadt, Mn/DOT's workzone safety specialist. 'For example, if traffic is heavy, the system will instruct motorists to use both lanes and take turns once they've reached the defined merge point just before the lane closure.'

This strategy often referred to as the 'zipper' improves traffic flow, reduces conflicts and hopefully will decrease the number of crashes when traffic demand exceeds the capacity of a single lane closure.

'Basically, we want drivers to know that under normal traffic speeds, they should try to merge early to avoid unsafe merging maneuvers; however, when traffic is congested, drivers should use both lanes all the way to the definite merge point,' said Servatius.

'We can't completely rid the roads from congestion in a workzone, but data from the study revealed this method shortened queue lengths by 35 percent and reduced lane changing conflicts,' said Mittelstadt. 'We also hope for a decline in crashes and aggressive driving behavior.'

Minnesota is one of the first states to use the Dynamic Late Merge System and plans are to continue this research in the upcoming construction season.

'People have been trying for years to research the proper way to merge, but there are so many factors to consider,' said Servatius. 'It's difficult to say what's the right way - instead we're looking for the best way.'



Here is what looks to me a sensible solution (says Dr. Leon James).


It is electronic signage dynamically adjusted to the flow of traffic. From ADDCO Smart Traffic Solutions (TM) at

Please read their description of Dynamic Message Signs and how they work.




Can't we all just merge? The raging battle of I-690


by Hart Seely


(...) Still, at some point, everybody has to merge. The state seeks to get it done early on, far before the point of bottleneck. And as drivers on the left are passing, scorning many chances to slide into the traffic and instead going all the way to the front, their counterparts on the right are boiling over. They were there first. "Basically, what they're thinking is, it's wrong to pass me. It's unfair," said Dr. Leon James, co-author of the 2000 book "Road Rage and Aggressive Driving." "They are reacting emotionally when they see a car passing by. They sit there and rehearse in their minds all the ways that they are being treated unfairly by these rude drivers. The more their line slows down, the more the idea is reinforced."


Our Road Warrior Ride shotgun with reporter Hart Seely and experience the heartache and adrenaline rush as driver is pitted against driver and three lanes are forced to become one. Click below to watch the video.

Watch the video here


(This is an excellent example of self-witnessing behind the wheel. The video brings out the actual dilemma as drivers experience it in the merge dilemma)
A few comments by readers of the Post Standard


Posted by CNYexpert on 06/08/08


The obvious answer - one I'm amazed has eluded the DOT for all this time - is not to announce that one lane will be 'ending'. Just put up signs that both lanes will merge into one. Use cones to merge everybody to the middle, then steer the one column wherever you want it. As long as nobody thinks they are in the lane that will continue to exist while others are in a lane about to vanish, everybody will just keep driving and merge one-to-one (with a few exceptions for the truly selfish). They have done this on the 690E-481N connection a few times, and traffic slows down but with no stoppage and no murderous road rage.

Other states do it that way and laugh at our problems.



Posted by freqflyer on 06/08/08

Here in the Washington DC area we have major traffic. We use the *merge at the end of the lane* rule, it works perfectly.



Posted by FairmntBob on 06/08/08

There is no logic to the merge later to keep the line down theory. The bottleneck is the one lane, and only one lane can go through it. The sooner the merging is out of the way, the smoother the one lane of traffic can go through the one lane available, without extra stopping and going for merging. A single lane of 50 cars takes the same (or less, if there is last second jockeying) time as two lanes of 25 cars. It just looks longer. As to the line backing up farther back if the merging is early, that's a good thing because people can see the line and take an exit to avoid the mess!

People going up farther are simply cutting ahead in the line... if you can't see that you aren't paying attention!


August 3, 2008


The Urge to Merge




HERE IS THE CALDECOTT TUNNEL PROBLEM. If there’s another person with you right now, you may end up raising your voices as you consider it. I’m just warning, is all. The last time I brought up the Caldecott Tunnel Problem among friends, two people who had been a happy couple for a long time started arguing, and then they looked at each other as if something new and disturbing were presenting itself, and when I got up to go, one of them was pounding the table and yelling at her beloved, “But that is so wrong!”


This is the point at which the North American driving populace, as you know, cleaves into two camps.


Two-thirds of us, according to calculations I have made while brooding inordinately about this inside my Subaru, are lineuppers, slowing rapidly from 70 to 30 or 20 or whatever and taking our places — courteously and patiently, as our mothers taught us to do, respecting the broad tenets of social justice and the primacy of fairness to all persons on the road, regardless of income or ethnicity or car model or perceived level of personal importance — where was I? Oh. Sorry. Taking our places at the end of the line, I was saying, the long two-lane line that has formed to the right, creeping toward the mouth of our tunnel bore. There is still some empty lane space beside us on the left, true, where the cones are gradually closing those left lanes down. But people are already lined up. If we passed them on the left to get in farther ahead, we would be cutting the line.


One third of us, on the other hand, zoom on by. For purposes of this problem, I shall call these sidezoomers. (When I raised the Caldecott Tunnel Problem with my father, who is 83, he startled me by suggesting a longer label that included more bad words than I believe I have ever heard him use at one time.) Sidezoomers have a variety of strategies, each exaggerated by the configuration of the Caldecott but replicated in bottlenecks across the land: there are the ones who zoom by a few dozen cars, angling in when they see a plausible opening; and there are the ones who zoom all the way up, to the very top of the cone-off funnel, at which point they thrust their aggressive little self-entitled fenders toward the lineup and nudge themselves in. And there are those who opt for frontage-road sidezooming, which requires maneuvering into the far-right highway lane in order to get off at a certain pretunnel exit that dumps cars onto a surface street alongside Highway 24. They zip along that street and get back on 24 at the next entrance, slipping in ahead of the bumper-to-bumper highway lineup they just bypassed. So now they’re cutting the line, too, but from the right.


And that very last exit lane before the tunnel, also on the right? You can’t get back onto the highway once you’ve exited there, but if you’re a sidezoomer you can slide into the empty exit-only lane, still on the highway but pretending you’re leaving, and then you drive and drive right past all the lineuppers until whoops, now at the last minute you’ve changed your mind and you’re not exiting at all; you’re sneaking back into the line.



So I started consulting professionals on my own: traffic engineers, the highway police, queuing theorists. The learning curve, it must be said, was robust. I hadn’t known queuing had theories. But of course it does, mathematicians and business-operations people have to work them out, the heart-attack patient gets in ahead of the sprained ankle and nobody has a problem with that, and anybody who has been to Europe intuitively understands what one engineer meant when in midsentence he said to me, “perfect England,” meaning culturally mandated compulsive queuing, and, “perfect Italy,” meaning culturally mandated compulsive nonqueuing. I learned about the father of modern queuing theory, an early 1900s Dane whose specific who-goes-first challenge was the new Copenhagen telephone system, which required callers, disembodied but queued nonetheless, to be moved along in a way both maximally efficient and acceptable to all. I learned some of the ways a crush of traffic is and is not like a crush of opera fans outside Lincoln Center — the speed factor, the isolating qualities of an auto’s steel bubble, the coarsening effect of no-eye-contact anonymity. I learned that Officer Sam Morgan, of the California Highway Patrol, occasionally uses the term “cranial-rectal inversion” when referring to drivers of especially poor judgment, which was one of the most satisfactory things I learned all summer, come to think of it. I asked each professional the same questions:


1. If you were inside your personal vehicle, approaching a bottleneck that offered you the options of lineup or sidezoom, which option would you select?

2. For practical purposes — maximum vehicle flow, minimal hang-up — who’s right?



A University of Washington engineer named Bill Beaty, who was one of the first traffic scholars I located, has come up with his own bottleneck-behavior labels: Cheaters and Vigilantes. He disapproves of both. When I acknowledged belonging to the choleric wing of the vigilante order, he was unyielding but sympathetic. “That’s just human,” he said. Beaty is a proponent of the third-way prescription, which I’ll get to in a minute; he’s an electrical engineer, not formally trained in traffic flow but so interested in it that for a decade he has kept up a link-filled Web page,, connecting to scores of diagrams and scholarly papers and discussion groups, a whole subuniverse of people preoccupied with the physics and psychology of traffic. (You can click from Beaty’s page to a comic Italian animated traffic short, a German traffic-flow simulator that twitches and rotates and a live-cam shot of one nasty section of Seattle’s I-5.)



Nearly every time I asked one of the traffic people to assume the role of the great vehicle arranger in the sky, remote-controlling each of us bottleneck drivers as if we were so many video-game characters, the reply went as follows:


FIRST, EVERYBODY REMAINS UNRUFFLED, without abrupt changes of lane or speed, as the lane-drop comes into view. Everybody takes three deep, cleansing breaths — all right, the experts didn’t say that, but they meant to — and considers both the imminent needs of everybody else and the system as a smoothly functioning whole.


Then everybody begins to slow, not too much, all in concert. All cars remain in their lanes, using all the real estate. (On the question of frontage roads and exit-only lanes, the experts waffled; those are arguably part of the real estate, they agreed, but they are meant for a different purpose, and this scenario relies upon everybody buying into the same rules. So no frontage-roading or fake-exit-laning, unless there’s a sign specifically instructing otherwise.) People in the narrowing left lanes refrain from shooting ahead, while people in the right through lanes — this is hard to swallow, for those of us inclined toward vigilantism, but crucial — leave big spaces in front of their cars for the merging that is about to commence. We resist the freeze-out-the-sidezoomer urge. We prepare to invite them in.


Finally, at clearly marked or somehow mutually agreed upon places, everybody starts conducting beautiful “zipper merges.” That’s the technical term — one-two, one-two or one-two-three, one-two-three — as indicated by the roadway configuration. The process has now worked at its ideal efficiency/equitability ratio: if all have behaved correctly, the tunnel passage has been both benign and, relatively speaking, quick. Personal sacrifice has been called for, to be sure. The former sidezoomers have sacrificed the pleasure of high-speed bypass, also known as I Beat Out the Stupid Sheep Just Now, Ha Ha (less truculent rendition: I Want to Get Home More Than I Care About Strangers Whose Faces I Can’t Even See). The former lineuppers have sacrificed the pleasure of self-congratulatory umbrage, also known as Hmph, Good Thing Society Has People Like Me. Together we have all ascended to the traffic decorum of the army ants, who as Vanderbilt observes are among the earth’s most accomplished commuters, managing to get from one place to another in large groups without cutting each other off, deciding their time is more valuable than everybody else’s, or — apparently this is the fast-lane domination method for certain traveling land crickets — eating anybody who gets in the way.


Cynthia Gorney teaches at the Graduate School of Journalism at the University of California, Berkeley. Her most recent article for the magazine was about Spanish-Language advertising.


Site Map  |Search this Site

Traffic Waves by Beatty Explained


eatty's traffic



Inquiry into Violence Associated with Motor Vehicle Use

Government of Australia Final Report April 2005


Chart of road violence

Key concepts:    Road Violence, Road Hostility and Selfish Driving.

Selfish driving involves time urgent or self-oriented driving behavior, which is committed at the expense of other drivers in general, but which is not specifically targeted at particular individuals.

The Committee came to the conclusion that road violence is not caused by any single factor. Rather, an act of road violence is the result of the complex interplay of a number of factors. In the Committee’s view, road violence is no different from other forms of violence even though the involvement of motor vehicles can increase the potential for physical harm. The model shown on page 186 (Figure 10.1) of the Final Report explains the Committee’s understanding of the interaction of the various factors involved. In any road violence incident there will be a chain of events starting with a triggering event. Person related and situational factors play a role in the interpretation of the triggering event that in turn play a role in how an individual will react to the trigger that may result in a road violence incident taking place.

The Committee believes that this model can assist in analyzing the effectiveness of  strategies and initiatives relating to violence associated with motor vehicle use.
See the full report here: Inquiry into Violence Associated with Motor Vehicle Use


These stunts, which can earn a driver a seven-day vehicle impound and license suspension as easily as a street race, can include:

1.      Doing a "wheelie" on a motorcycle

2.      Doing donuts

3.      Passing another vehicle and remaining in the oncoming lane longer than necessary to complete the pass

4.      Driving a vehicle with someone in the trunk

5.      Not having the driver sit in the driver's seat

6.      Preventing other people from passing

7.      Interfering with other vehicles by cutting them off or causing them to stop or slow down in circumstances where they would not normally do so

8.      Intentionally driving close to another vehicle, pedestrian or fixed object (this includes tailgating)

9.      Turning left in front of oncoming traffic as soon as the light for both directions changes to green

10.  Driving a motor vehicle at a rate of speed that is 50 km/h or more over the speed limit.



road rage photo

Younger drivers with the longest commutes are most likely to react to an aggressive or rude driver. Those with the longest drives are the most likely to make an obscene gesture.

To get the survey results, Prince Market Research, an independent marketing research company, conducted 2,512 interviews between Feb. 4 and March 23. The survey has a margin of error of 2 percent.


State takes on aggressive driving to change habits

By Mike Cronin TRIBUNE-REVIEW  Sunday, May 25, 2008

Local and state law enforcement, health department and nonprofit officials have created Smooth Operator, a $2 million state-funded  program that seeks to modify bad behavior on roadways and save lives.

"Sixty-five percent of traffic fatalities in the state are due to aggressive driving," said Jay Ofsanik, a PennDOT spokesman. (…)


Pennsylvania's approach is part of a nationwide movement toward attempting to define and prevent aggressive driving. State and federal officials don't agree on what defines aggressive driving, but generally agree it's a combination of driving behaviors that include speeding, weaving, passing improperly and tailgating.


Smooth Operator went statewide last year, said David Pritt, a PennDOT spokesman. Seven Western Pennsylvania counties receive an annual share of $740,000 to pay for police to work overtime several two-week periods a year and specifically look for aggressive drivers. The next period is scheduled for June 23-July 6. The most recent was April 6-20. (…)


Aggressive driving is a habit, Pritt said. "It's different than road rage," Pritt said. "Aggressive driving is being done on a daily basis. Road rage, like shouting profanities at another driver, is a description of what occurred during an incident."

Thirteen states have aggressive driving laws, said Matt Sundeen, a transportation analyst with the Denver-based National Conference of State Legislatures. Georgia and Indiana levy the harshest penalties, where people convicted face fines up to $5,000 and jail time of up to one year.


In Pennsylvania, an aggressive driving bill introduced in October by state Rep. Anthony Melio, a Bucks County Democrat, remains in committee. If passed, the law would levy a $300 fine on drivers who endanger a person or property by violating two or more traffic rules, such as passing and disobeying traffic signals. (…)


Neighboring Ohio and West Virginia do not have aggressive driving laws. Officials there, as in Pennsylvania, try to change driving habits through stricter application of existing laws or education.

U.S. Rep. Nick Rahall, D-W.Va., supports an education campaign to battle aggressive driving.


"Laws alone have a limited effect in changing human behavior," said Rahall, vice chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.


Speaking from experience, Leon James, a University of Hawaii professor who specializes in traffic psychology, said perhaps the best way to reduce aggressive driving is through personal responsibility.


Twenty-six years ago, his wife and his wife's grandmother told James that his driving bothered them. So James started carrying a tape recorder to record his thoughts while he drove.

"I learned you have to have an attitude of latitude," James said. "You have to be more tolerant of what other people do. Be less critical and judgmental. Because what they do, you do."


Road rules

How to respond to an aggressive driver:

Do not make eye contact.

Do not "argue with your car."

• Yield to the other driver in a dispute over who has the right-of-way.

• Let tailgaters pass you.

• Watch for tailgaters to pull in front of you too quickly.

• Always think: "What can I do to make this situation safer?"

How to stop driving aggressively:

• Try to change one thing every day.

Do not race another driver.

• Give yourself enough time to get to a destination.

Don't tailgate.

• Go with the flow and speed of traffic.

Don't get in the car to drive when angry.

Sources: J.J. Miller, AAA safety adviser; Leon James, University of Hawaii professor who specializes in traffic psychology



Calif. cell phone laws at a glance


Jun 29, 2008 By The Associated Press, AP




Here is an overview of the two cell phone laws that take effect Tuesday in California:


- Drivers under 18 are prohibited from using a wireless telephone, pager, laptop or any other electronic communication or mobile service device while driving. They cannot talk on a cell phone, even with a hands-free device, nor can they text-message. They will be allowed to make calls in an emergency.

- Drivers 18 and over must use a hands-free device when using their cell phone while driving. Text-messaging is not specifically banned for adults, but the California Highway Patrol said they can be cited for negligence under existing laws.

There is no grace period for violators. Beginning Tuesday, anyone seen driving while holding a cell phone to their ear will be subject to base fines of $20 for the first ticket and $50 for subsequent tickets, plus additional fees that will more than triple the fine.

The California Department of Motor Vehicles will not assign a violation point to motorists' driving records.


Drivers of all ages - with or without a hands-free device - can use their cell phones in an emergency.


See also: Distracted Driving


The New York Times    By STEWART AIN

Published: June 8, 2008


Stopping Aggressive Drivers From on High

(...) The Long Beach police have begun cracking down on speeders and reckless drivers with a novel approach — stationing an officer in a utility-truck bucket 25 feet in the air.

The officer radios information on traffic violators he spots to three officers on the ground. Instead of pursuing the violators in a police car, the officers stop all traffic and then “surgically extricate” them from the traffic, Lieutenant Tangney said.(...)

There were 24 fewer accidents during the first three months of this year even though the project did not begin until February. That was a 10 percent drop compared with the same period a year ago, Lieutenant Tangney said. At the same time, he said, the department’s 45 patrol officers have issued about 400 more traffic summonses, a 20 percent increase.  (...)

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The Psychology of Hypermiling driving, rapid acceleration and braking can affect fuel mileage. By avoiding such behavior, you can see savings up to 30 percent. That could be a savings of more than $1 per gallon. See original article here




Hypermiling: the new way to save money on the road

Rob Barrett finds driving a new kind of challenge. That's because the Eden Prairie dad is coasting along using a new driving trend: hypermiling.

"You take a two thousand pound car, you accelerate to 60 miles per hours. That's like a thousand joules of energy," Barrett said. "You just throw it all away by putting on the brakes."

Instead, Barrett -- like other hypermilers across the country -- rely on a technique of coasting and little accelerating. They also use the standby techniques of driving the speed limit and keeping their tires inflated to the right pressure. The trend is getting traction, especially with rising gas prices. "It's only going to go up and it's not going down. If I can use half as much it's just great," he said.

Barrett estimates he's gone from 27 miles per gallon... to 40, using his 1999 Acura Integra, not a hybrid. That's 50 percent better gas mileage, which is saving him money.




Fuel economy-maximizing behaviors

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Various terms describe drivers using unusual driving techniques to maximize fuel efficiency. A few of these are:

·         Hypermilers are drivers who exceed the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimated fuel efficiency on their vehicles by modifying their driving habits. The term 'hypermiler' originated from hybrid vehicle driving clubs and Wayne Gerdes in particular.[1] As people began comparing fuel efficiency, they noticed that by using certain driving techniques, they could greatly improve their mileage. With the aid of real time mileage displays, drivers were able to refine these driving techniques and greatly exceed the EPA rating for their vehicle. Decades before the word 'hypermiler' was used, the techniques were used in events such as Mobil Economy Run dating to 1936. [2] Gas rationing during World War II forced some drivers to adopt these techniques, but they largely fell out of favor with the population after the war. Hypermiler Wayne Gerdes can get 59 MPG in a Honda Accord and 30 MPG in an Acura MDX.[3]

·         Ecodriving is a term used in Europe to name initiatives which support energy efficient use of vehicles. The campaigns include training courses with hands on training - fuel gauges etc.[citation needed]

 Techniques used to maximize fuel economy (continued)

See the Wikipedia article




(...) He said he would drive below the speed limit whenever he could do so without holding up traffic, and Engels said he doesn’t mind taking a curious turn or two on his way to a destination. (...) Engels is a hypermiler – a growing number of drivers who modify their driving habits to exceed EPA fuel efficiency standards for their vehicles.” (...)


Engels owns a hybrid car that he customized with aerodynamic hubcaps and an internal radio antenna to cut down on drag, but he said anyone can benefit from hypermiling. (...) “Actually, the people that have regular cars can turn out better percentage performance than the hybrids do,” he said. (...) In addition to well-known fuel-saving techniques – such as maintaining proper tire pressure and keeping windows rolled up and air conditioners turned off – hypermilers try to keep their vehicles in constant motion. (...)



Hypermilers driven to maximize gas mileage

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

By IAN HAMILTON / The Dallas Morning News

Chuck Thomas regularly putters along on the highway at 50 mph in his Honda Insight, swerves into turns rather than hitting the brakes, and, when nobody is looking, jumps from the car and pushes it into a parking space.


All just to save a little gas.


Mr. Thomas of Lewisville belongs to an emerging subculture born of the ability to track gas mileage via a dashboard gauge. Hypermilers use a variety of techniques to maximize fuel efficiency: airing the tires up to or beyond the recommended pressure, forgoing air conditioning, coasting whenever possible (sometimes with the engine off), timing their arrivals at intersections to hit green lights and traveling around 50 mph on the highway.


Since he began hypermiling, Mr. Thomas has been squeezing 85 to 90 mpg out of his hybrid Insight, a car rated at 53 mpg.


"Fanatic is what the lazy call the dedicated," notes Mr. Thomas at the bottom of his posts at, a Web site devoted to the hypermiling community and its fuel-efficient techniques.


Hypermilers cite several reasons for maximizing mileage, including protecting the environment, saving money, having fun while driving, and even decreasing American dependence on foreign oil.


"Hypermiling is a little addictive," said Reid Stewart, an attorney from Irving who started when he bought a BMW with a gas mileage gauge. "It becomes a competition with yourself to see how well you can do."



Hypermilers do sacrifice travel time for the sake of gas mileage. In a televised event, Mr. Gerdes and a reporter each drove from Chicago to New York in a hybrid Toyota Prius. According to Mr. Gerdes, the reporter made it in 13 hours at 39 mpg. Mr. Gerdes needed 15½ hours, but he did it on one tank of gas at 71 mpg.


"There's a thousand reasons to choose to be a hypermiler," Mr. Gerdes said. "There's only one reason not to, and that's: 'I've got to be there first.'"




Digital mileage gauge: This device hooks into the vehicle's computer and gives instant feedback on fuel consumption, allowing drivers to see what practices burn excess fuel. It costs about $150.

Tires: Filling tires to the recommended or maximum pressure can have a big impact on fuel economy. While there is less friction in a highly pressurized tire, it also can make the ride bumpier.

Speed: Varying speeds can be ideal for gas mileage, but driving more than 60 mph always decreases fuel economy substantially. Every 5 mph over 60 mph reduces fuel economy by the equivalent of 30 cents per gallon.

Weight: Keep the car as light as possible. Every 100 pounds off the vehicle can increase fuel economy by 1 percent to 2 percent.

Gas and brake pedals: Only use the pedals when absolutely necessary, which means keeping an eye on the road ahead and planning your drives accordingly. Don’t accelerate toward a stop sign. Coming to a complete stop nets 0 miles per gallon, so setting a pace in a traffic crunch and timing green lights can go a long way toward helping gas mileage.

Sources: and hypermiling expert Wayne Gerdes'Hypermiling' tricks save gas but stir up some criticism



By Liz F. Kay and Josh Mitchell | Baltimore Sun reporters June 11, 2008


 (...) Estimates of potential savings vary, but one expert says the driver of a nonhybrid vehicle could improve his fuel economy 50 percent by applying basic tips. (...) Other hypermilers stress the environmental benefits. But some auto experts question the safety of advanced hypermiling techniques such as "drafting" - closely following tractor-trailers to cut down on the flow of air against a vehicle.


Leon James, a University of Hawaii professor who has written about the psychology of driving, said hypermiling can become a form of aggressive driving if, for example, drivers practice it in the fast lane, forcing others to drive around them, or if they coast through stop signs.


"If you were behind someone who's practicing certain features of hypermiling, you get very annoyed," James said. "Hypermiling can be a selfish thing to do."


Ed Kriston of AAA said that the automobile group encourages gentle driving to save gas but discourages aggressive types of hypermiling. "Some of the things they do are very dangerous," he said. He pointed to drivers going below the speed limit on highways such as Interstate 795, where the limit is typically higher than those posted on most highways.  (...)


The biggest factor in getting better gas mileage is driving at a moderate speed - 55 mph instead of 65 or 75 mph - the publication reported. When the Toyota Camry's cruising speed was increased from 55 to 65 mph, the car's fuel economy dropped from 40 mpg to 35, it reported. Other techniques include keeping tires properly inflated and avoiding frequent bursts of acceleration, sudden braking, the use of premium fuel and driving on a cold engine.


(...) Hypermilers also use their air conditioning more efficiently, Gerdes said. He cools his car before he starts the engine by opening windows and doors. (...)


"I don't go so slow that it would be annoying," said Semmes, a founder of the Mount Washington Green Club. He also shifts into neutral when going downhill and tries to get behind big trucks, although, he said, "I'm afraid to get too close, so I'm not sure it makes a difference." Semmes is motivated by his concern for the environment, but he also hypermiles, he said, "because it's cool." Other drivers gave various reasons for starting to slow down.


(...) Other drivers said the potential savings on gas wouldn't compensate for time lost by driving slower. "That's what old people do," said Carl Henninger, 27, another Costco customer. "It would definitely make a difference, but I'm not going to change my life for 50 cents a gallon." (...)


Hypermiling tips

•Avoid accelerating quickly or braking heavily.
•Do not idle excessively.
•Keep tires properly inflated.
•Avoid speeding.
•Warm up the engine before driving.
•Remove cargo or cargo racks to reduce weight and air resistance.

Sources: Consumer Reports, 



AAA Advises Hypermilers to Steer Clear of Dangerous Techniques



Updated: June 24, 2008

(...) They are referring to the measures drivers take to conserve fuel called "hypermilling." AAA defines it as trying to exceed a vehicle's fuel efficiency rating by drastically modifying driving and maintenance habits.

"The goals of hypermiling are positive, such as eliminating aggressive driving and saving energy," said Marshall L. Doney, AAA Automotive vice president. "Unfortunately, some motorists have taken their desire to improve fuel economy to extremes with techniques that put themselves, as well as their fellow motorists, in danger."

Hypermiling includes cutting off the vehicle's engine or putting it in neutral to coast on a roadway, tailgating or drafting larger vehicles, rolling through stop signs and driving at erratic and unsafe speeds. AAA says such actions put drivers at risk because loss of power to steering and brakes limit how they will react to quickly changing traffic conditions.

Doney says these extreme driving behaviors are dangerous, and some are illegal. There are, he says, several safe and legal techniques motorists can use to conserve fuel, such as smooth and easy acceleration and braking, maintaining a steady speed, using cruise control and looking ahead to anticipate changing traffic conditions.

Hypermiling, the term given to a range of techniques whose goal is to cut costs, may also include how motorists maintain their vehicles to obtain optimal fuel economy. That can include keeping tires properly inflated, which can improve mileage by two to three percent, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. 

AAA notes some drivers have taken this advice too far by over-inflating their tires, which the Rubber Manufacturer's Association says can make them more susceptible to road hazard damage and result in premature wear to the center portion of the tread. Over-inflation can also cause handling issues because less tire surface is making contact with the road.

Using the recommended grade of motor oil is also helpful in improving fuel economy. However, some hypermilers opt to use the lowest 'weight' oil which has the lowest kinematic viscosity. Engineers say using too light of oil can cause major damage to a vehicle's engine. (...)

"We recommend that motorists avoid jackrabbit starts and lead-foot braking that are proven fuel wasters," said AAA Idaho spokesman Dave Carlson. "Don't go overboard on hypermiling techniques that can hurt you or damage your vehicle." 
When Hypermiling Is Considered Aggressive Driving

By Dr. Leon James  6/08

People can be motivated to join the practice of hypermiling for many good reasons and motives.


For example:

1.     they want to stop wasting expensive gas

2.     they want to reduce contributing to pollution

3.     they want to help the nation to become less dependent on foreign oil

4.     they drive slower to be less dangerous

5.     it gives them more alone time in their car

6.     they altruistically desire to have others get ahead of them

7.     they want to be able to enjoy the scenery more

8.     they want to be good driver role models to their children

9.     there is a police car behind them

  1. and still other good reasons


See What is Hypermiling?


These are all good and legitimate reasons for joining the group of hypermilers.


Now here are some cautionary things that hypermilers should be aware of and make them into part of their practice. These are recommendations I have on the basis of the driving psychology principle that aggressive driving consists of imposing a level of risk on others that they are not prepared to handle.


Part of the proper practice of hypermiling on public roads and parking lots, is to always take into account what is the effect of their practice on other drivers. We are almost never alone in public places, The way we walk and drive has an immediate and unavoidable impact on another pedestrian or motorist. This is obvious to everybody.


The problem is that we can fabricate a justification for ignoring this obvious reality.


We all need to ask ourselves some questions and especially, to practice self-witnessing in public places. We need to teach ourselves the skill of monitoring how our actions in public impact others. Take for instance the motorist we call “the left lane bandit.” Drivers will occupy the passing lane when there is plenty room and opportunity to move over into the right lane. They might think, “It’s OK. No one is behind me.” But then, they are not as vigilant as they should be for safety and courtesy. They don’t check their rear view mirror every minute. So when a car comes up behind them, the left lane bandits don’t see it, or they see it, but don’t care. They think, “Let them pass me in the right lane. There is plenty room. Besides, I am going at speed limit.”

Here you can see that drivers have the habit of spontaneously fabricating justifications for maintaining the aggressive behavior. It is aggressive to block the passing lane, whatever speed one is travelling, as long as one can move over safely, and someone is behind wanting to go through. Not to move over is aggressive. Drivers know this instinctively, but if they fabricate a justification, they can keep themselves from moving over. The reason that not to move over is aggressive, is that it forces others to take more risks for themselves and others. It also causes them to react emotionally, unless they already trained themselves to handle traffic emotions appropriately. Drivers who react emotionally to the behavior of left lane bandits, tend to execute the passing on the right in a flurry of counter-aggressive moves. They do it faster than is safe. They waste a lot more gas. They become a danger to other motorists. They continue venting for minutes afterward, losing their focus and concentration. All this is the consequence of the fabricated justification of left lane bandits. Aggressive driving that promotes more aggressive driving on the road.


Now let us look at what the hypermilers sometimes do, and what they need to avoid doing in order to practice safe and acceptable hypermiling on public roads.

There are two categories of hypermiling strategies. One category involves doing something to the car that does not affect other drivers. These include strategies relating to:

1.     engine oil types and amounts

2.     tire pressure

3.     cargo / load

4.     towing

5.     running electrical accessories

6.     maintenance schedule

7.     fuel consumption display

8.     others

The second category involves doing something to one’s driving style, which always impacts directly on other motorists. These include strategies relating to:

1.     speed and speed variation techniques

2.     acceleration and deceleration pattern

3.     using a gradual stepped up speed technique (“Warm up P&G”)

4.     avoiding hilly terrain

5.     idling and warming up the engine

6.     coasting

7.     following close in an attempt to benefit from the “Draft-Assisted FAS” of a car ahead of you

8.     others

If you Google or Yahoo hypermiling or hypermilers, you will find sites, blogs, and discussions that warn against driving style strategies that are aggressive or illegal, and those that are enthusiastic about any hypermiling technique that can improve one’s fuel economy (FE). This is the danger zone of the hypermiling practice that is spreading across the land. Current hypermilers, and all who join their ranks, can be practicing both types of driving styles without realizing it.
As an expert on driving psychology, I strongly recommend to all hypermiling practitioners to monitor their driving techniques to observe how they impact other drivers. The practice of hypermiling must contain two components: the motivation to improve fuel economy, and the motivation to avoid aggressive driving techniques. Both motives must be present.
Aggressive driving techniques by hypermilers include anything they do which impacts other motorists by increasing the risk to which they are exposed by the hypermiler.

Here are some examples from the description of hypermilers. These techniques will often affect other motorists, so that hypermilers must monitor how their driving strategy affects the risk on other motorists.

1.     Pulse and Glide (P&G) (e.g., accelerating to 40 mph, easing off to 25 mph, accelerating back to 40, etc.)

2.     riding in the wake of a large trailer truck at highway speeds (in FAS). It's not safe, DON'T DO IT. We only mention it here because it is part of some hypermilers' arsenal of tricks.

3.     driving with minimal brakes, but it must be done with a good dose of common sense--it's really not a good idea to take a 25 MPH curve at 50 trying to save gas

4.     looking far down the road to anticipate traffic stoppages, sharp curves and signal changes and begin to decelerate or coast beforehand

5.     driving very close to the outside edge of the road in order to keep the vehicle's tires out of the slight depressions (ruts) worn into the road surface by the constant pounding of daily traffic

6.     when parking, locating a spot that is on a bit of a slope, and then using gravity to help get the vehicle moving from standstill

7.     etc.

These techniques can be aggressive and annoying. Driving in a way that annoys other motorists is to contribute to a risk hazard. For instance, “ridge riding” involves the practice of driving very close to the outside edge of the road in order to keep the vehicle's tires out of the slight depressions (ruts) worn into the road surface by the constant pounding of daily traffic. This may seem innocuous when you’re alone on the road, but if you’re driving in traffic drivers behind you have to readjust to seeing your car slightly off center, which is not what they normally expect. It reduces predictability and introduces some confusion.


Here are two recent email messages I received from hypermiling enthusiasts:

I've been reading through your site, and I feel it is very good. My nature is to try to agree with people and to delve into the reasons why they say what they do.

One example from your writings involves letting a person in who is trying to merge with traffic. An inexperienced hypermiler might be intent on maintaining exactly 57.3 mph or some other speed in order to maximize their mpg. Yes, I would consider this a form of "aggressive" driving and would not condone it. I try to pick up merging traffic as soon as possible. If they are not moving in my windshield, I know we are on a collision course, so I will adjust my speed (usually slower for hypermiling) in order to let them in without conflict. I don't expect a wave of appreciation as it happens so early, they would not perceive that I did let them in. It will actually improve my mileage as hypermiling adjustments must be very subtle or it ruins my mpg. Far better to make a relaxed adjustment early than an abrupt one later.


Our concern as hypermilers is that we are being portrayed in the media as crazy drafters (we don't condone drafting closer than 3 or 4 seconds) or selfish people who don't care if we block traffic in order to get the best mpg. The reality is that we get the best mpg when we become a part of the traffic flow in a way that the fewest number of people have to make abrupt changes.

Yesterday, I took a 15 mile ride around town pretending a hostile reporter was in the right seat and would report everything I did to inconvenience others. I found that I never needed to go slowly to enhance my mpg at a time when it would inconvenience others. In order to be a good hypermiler in the city, it's imperative to get in those spaces between the packs that form at lights. If someone from the trailing pack is catching me, that means I'm going too slowly to get a green light at the next intersection and I speed up.

This type of driving is new to many people and mistakes will be made. Hopefully, you will become accepted among hypermilers as a source of information that can help us out. I'll do my best to understand  your point of view. Meanwhile, I'd suggest you give the slow acceleration, constant speed, anticipating lights way of driving which forces intent concentration on traffic patterns in all directions and then perhaps, you will understand our point of view.

Gary Thaller (“Gershon”)


And the second message:

Dr. James,

This week, the Baltimore Sun had two hypermiling articles...the first one was clearly anti-hypermiling. After visiting  and a second read, I strongly suspect your quote in the article was taken out of context to promote the reporter's bias.

The quote was: "hypermiling can be a form of aggressive driving". This can be true, but the vast majority of hypermilers are working hard to also be courteous while driving - something we promote at . There were many things in that article dissing hypermiling. Numerous article over hype the rare practice of drafting semis...I suspect this is partially due to reporters copying earlier articles on the topic (which it was mentioned), it's an attention-getter, and simply a dislike for non-aggressive driving. In general, I have found a number of speeders angered by the mere fact someone is going under the speed limit. For instance - I leave before rush hour in Dallas going 50 in a 60 with three lanes. I'll be in the rightmost lane, but someone going so fast they obviously never behind me will blast their horn. In rush hour I'd adjust, BTW.

At, we do promote defensive driving and to do what we can to pursue better fuel economy with annoying drivers behind us.

Chuck Thomas aka Delta Flyer at

Dr. James,
Thank you for your reply. To briefly describe what hypermilers are doing.

The community of hypermilers I know and converse with at do whatever we can do to stay out of the way of faster drivers while attempting to go farther. Tactics include avoiding rush hour, choosing less congested roads when available, driving on the rightmost lane, on freeways taking the access road between intersections, putting the emergency flashers on as a would be tailgater is approaching (a tremendous stress reducer!), allowing others to pass whenever possible. In heavy traffic situations, I will speed up if necessary.

If a hypermiler fails to do what was just described, then he would be inconsiderate and probably the variation of an aggressive driver as quoted in the Baltimore Sun. The basic issue with that article's general tone to all but the careful reads made it seem like you said "hypermilers are inconsiderate drivers" when you actually said "hypermilers could be inconsiderate/selfish drivers". Again, I apologize for being a bit too quick. Yes, a hypermiler could poke in the fast lane or HOV lane, go 20mph slower than the traffic immediately around them, roll through stop signs, hold up traffic. All of those actions are inconsiderate and are discouraged at

Beyond the article, I have found both on the road and whenever netizens can comment to any hypermiling article that aggressive drivers simply hate hypermilers - strong statement, but google one up and it will be obvious. Several personal theories. One is speeders probably feel more secure in packs - if the 90% of drivers speeding start to observe the postings, the remaining speeders are going to be much easier to pullover. Guilt is another pet theory. I liken this to the "sex, drugs, and rock-and-roll" dudes giving the preacher's kid a hard time because the mere presence of a clean cut person makes them stories of hybrid drivers getting hostile looks at the gas station from others filling up gas guzzlers, occasionally taking it to the freeway as road rage.

Finally, some read politics into hypermiling and hybrids to an absurd degree...if you took that "your ride reflects your politics/religion/orientation" - I'd definitely be driving a one ton pickup truck, but I chose my Honda Insight for pragmatism and economics instead.
Chuck Thomas

Date: Fri, 20 Jun 2008 19:52:05 -0700 (PDT)
From: Gershon ben Franja <>
Subject: bumper stickers

I am reading your site a lot, which is a good thing. In the past couple of weeks, I've noticed a big change in traffic patterns. Hypermilers are common in the right lane. Probably most of them don't know the term, but people are slowing well before red lights. This is making traffic much smoother in the city as it avoids what I call the "bump and go" at a red light. Instead of everyone coming to a stop at the light, people are coasting, so when it changes they are able to go through. It seems to be much more efficient. Nobody seems to tailgate those slowing early. In fact, people seem to recognize that keeping about 2 -4 second spacing will make it better for them. So, I think hypermiling is a good thing for the city.

I've also noticed a LOT of people turning off their engines at lights. There is no problem with anyone getting started in time. So that's a good thing. The interstate is a different story. Most of the problems seem to be caused by trucks that can't accelerate to pass and don't want to waste gas by slowing. This is creating more bottlenecks around trucks. It's not so much the truck, as it is the person behind the truck who waits until they are right upon it before wanting to pass. Now people in the left lane are hesitant to pass because the stuck person might pull out.

There is also more traffic on the interstate as people spend more time there with the average speed being slower. In time, I think this issue will work itself out as people get used to it. Country roads are empty. Last night I rode my bike 35 miles on a mountain road and didn't see a single vehicle coming the opposite direction. Sometimes we will have different opinions on things. I saw this quote from you:

"Leon James, a noted expert on driving psychology and road rage, says people who act on their road rage tend to express their emotional territoriality more than others, something that could easily translate to the purchase of "overt" vehicle adornments. "Anything you put on your car is aggressive because it forces other people to look at it," says James, a professor at the University of Hawaii. "Drivers aren't out on the road to read your message."

Nobody can force me to do anything. If I am not in a place where I can read a bumper sticker, I don't read it. I think billboards are the same way. Anyway, not a big deal, but the funniest one I saw was "The closer you get, the slower I go." I think we'd agree this one is aggressive. On tailgating. In my car, I've found a very effective way of dealing with tailgaters. I find that if I slow ever so slightly to where they would hardly notice and then accelerate about 5 mph they pretty much stay back. I seldom get tailgated as I find people tend to mimic the spacing the car ahead of them has. If I don't tailgate, I don't get tailgated.

Quoting Comments on Hypermiling from readers on various sites (6-11-08):
(…) It’s not acceptable to go five under because most people are on the road to get somewhere, not to extend their fuel range. The hypermilers become moving roadblocks. They have noble intentions, but they’re practically off-base. I would suggest that instead of playing the high-mileage game with their cars, they might just try riding the train or the bus. (…)
Posted by Brandon
You are most definitely right that going slow is not socially acceptable. Cars moving quickly don’t force anyone to speed up, however cars going slowly force everyone behind them to go slow. If you insist on going slow then use surface streets, and if you go too slow for surface streets use residential streets.
Posted by Mike B
Getting up to the speed of traffic in a timely manner is basic human decency. If you pull out of a driveway or turn from an intersecting street and proceed to coast along 15 mph under the limit, forcing cars behind you to jump on their brakes, you’re causing traffic snarls — not to mention potential accidents. If even 10% of the cars on the road insist on coasting around well under the speed of traffic, we’re all going to spend so much time idling in traffic jams that all energy-saving measures are moot.
When I get trapped behind one of these people, I often can’t even change lanes safely, because cars will be approaching from behind so quickly that I can’t see them until they’re already dangerously close. I want to be okay with people driving under the speed limit, but I can’t figure out how to accommodate them without endangering myself.
Posted by EAS
Hypermiling might be fine, but when you become a moving roadblock and are doing less than the speed limit, plus coasting you incite roadrage in the people behind you. Take that guy in the large SUV that now is pissed and wants to pass you. You may be getting 60 mpg’s out of your Prius by coasting and driving 5 mph under, but when he gets a chance to pass you he’s gonna floor that beast and eeek out maybe 8 mpg’s. So what you’re conserving in gas he’s consuming. The end result: All that hypermiling you just did was for nothing.
At least obey the speed limits and don’t go pissing off those large SUV’s. And if you’re gonna do it on the interstate get ALL the way over to the right hand lane!!!
Posted by Capt. Concernicus
I really do wish, though, that those who are driving below the speed limit would move to the right rather than sitting out in a left or middle lane. They really just don’t seem to get that they are causing danger by messing up the traffic flow as others try to get around them. They *also* seem oblivious to the fact that cars bunching up behind them isn’t particularly safe, either.
Posted by jen l
To posters 2 and 3, they are proof that it is not socially acceptable. The problem (for them) is that it is perfectly legal. It’s true that most people “are on the road to get somewhere,” but that does not somehow mean that they have the right to force other people to get there at the same speed. There is nothing wrong with driving 5 under the speed limit when the only minimum speed limits I have ever seen on a highway are 20 below.
This is the same type of argument given by people who try to run cyclists off the road in town. a Bicycle has every right to drive in the road at 15 mph, even if someone behind them is trying to “get somewhere”.
Posted by Kwali
Before deciding what to make of “hypermiling”, I actually spent time on the web site, and discovered that they do NOT condone drafting other vehicles and/or coasting with the engine off. It appears from their blogs that a just a few try it, but most stick with safer techniques. What I see is mostly sensible things like keeping the car tuned up, not exceeding the speed limit, and avoiding jackrabbit starts/stops. Therefore, I conclude that these folks are making our roads safer, and not more hazardous.
Posted by Kenneth

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Hypermiling Article

The New Practice of Hypermiling –
The Philosophy Behind the Hypermiling Driving Style


The War Between Hypermilers and Non-Hypermilers


By Dr. Leon James  July 2008


If you observe motorists at traffic lights you notice that a hypermiling driving style is being practiced by more and more drivers. They coast towards the intersection, slowing down earlier, gradually decreasing speed, instead of the usual way, which is to approach the intersection at the rate of travel, then more or less abruptly, putting on the brakes. This usual technique uses up more gas. Any time you apply the brakes, you are “wasting” gas – this is the central motivating idea of the hypermiler’s philosophy of driving. It’s an attitude that leads more drivers to shut off their engine while “sitting” at a red light.


One practitioner recently wrote to me in an email: “Hypermiling changes a person psychologically into being more relaxed while driving.”

To hypermilers, doing hypermiling has become a special driving identity.


“Yesterday, I was watching traffic approaching a red light. Out of maybe 50 cars that I watched, only 2 didn't slow down early. I was also sitting at a red light and noticed several people had their engines shut off. I saw an elderly grandmother type do a perfect coast to a light last week. She seemed to be an expert.”

As this comment illustrates, hypermilers admire each other’s “expertise” in the skills of fuel-efficiency-conscious driving. A well documented hypermiling practitioner’s Web site has replied to recent news stories reporting criticisms by safety officials of hypermiling strategies.


You can see the article here:


Quoting: “CleanMPG stresses that beginning Hypermilers should add only one new method at a time, if necessary testing at low speeds in an empty parking lot or on a deserted back road, and should never try anything they feel will be unsafe. In Hypermiling , the driver exercises the same discretion required in all driving. Going 65mph may be deemed “safe” on a highway with a 65mph limit, but not in a mall parking lot, or for that matter on the same highway in rain or snow. Hypermilers drive more safely than today's average US driver because (a) they do not drive at speeds above the posted speed limits, (b) they focus intently on the road and traffic conditions around them, and (c) they keep to the right hand lane.”

Now this is what I would call good hypermiling practices.


Others include:

(1) smooth and gentle acceleration and braking

(2) maintaining a steady speed

(3) using cruise control

(4) looking ahead to anticipate changing traffic conditions.

The article also mentions techniques that I would call bad hypermiling practices, such as,

(1) not keeping to the right

(2) rolling through stop signs and red lights

(3) drafting or tailgating

The CleanMPG Website article defends good hypermiling practices: “Over the past few years, reporters from respected institutions such as CBS, ABC, Dan Rather Reports, and other regional as well as local news outlets have gone on "ride-a-longs" or Hypermiling Clinics with various CleanMPG members to experience Hypermiling firsthand. None of them stated either in person or in their reports that they found the methods hazardous but all witnessed respective fuel economy increases of as much as 100%!”

Gary Thaller (“Gershon”) wrote to me in an email:

“Perhaps if you are going to be giving interviews on hypermilers, you should try to become one. Then you will see the psychological changes it brings about for you. They may be different than for others. You may see it as a way of toning down aggressive riding by substituting a different form of competiveness. For example: One might smirk when they catch a racer at the next lght. Another might not care or even notice. The external actions are the same, but the intrinsic motivation is different.

If one stereotypes the type of people who become hypermilers, it gives a perception of a limitation to those who can start doing it. For example: To run in the Olympics, one needs a certain level  of ability. But as is seen in the NYC Marathon every year, even a very handicapped person can be a runner. One may not have the desire to implement all the techniques in the way an Olympic runner does, but they can still hypermile at the level they are capable of doing.

There is a buffet of techniques. I'd suggest a person pick one, say coasting to lights instead of keeping speed up and braking late. Try it until it seems natural and then try another one.”

As you can see, hypermiling has become a new social community of practice on the roads and streets of America. They have their own new standards of “good driving.” Drivers who “waste” gas are not considered good drivers. New fuel efficiency standards have become an important measure of driving excellence. It’s not enough any more to merely meet fuel efficiency standards recommended by the vehicle manufacturer. Those are set too low, way too low, according to hypermiling standards.


Now From the Perspective of the Drivers Behind the Hypermilers


Not hypermiling is also a social practice in the driving community on the roads.

Before the great gas price hikes, when gas was esteemed “affordable,” hypermiling was not known as a community of practice. And yet, as an illustration, I know that my wife was taught to drive by her father in the 1960s and he taught her that the gas pedal should not be used more than is necessary, like a “led foot,” and that coasting was a good and smart thing to do whenever possible.


Monitor Your Mental Driving Economy

What Causes Driving Stress and the Emotional Use of the Gas Pedal?

Emotional Territoriality in Driving – What Is It?


By Dr. Leon James 

Driving involves traffic emotions, traffic thoughts, and traffic actions.

These are three independent systems of the driver that need to be trained to work together efficiently. All drivers improve with experience. But this is usually true only about one sector of their traffic actions -- handling the vehicle. The majority of drivers do not improve in their traffic emotions and traffic thoughts.


Emotional territoriality refers to all the things that the driver cares about and reacts to emotionally.


For instance, some drivers care about how other motorists take care of their car, whether it obviously needs a wash, or repair in a dent, or engine maintenance. This traffic emotion is an extension of the territory of things they care about. Other drivers hardly notice anything about other cars, but they always notice when another driver forgets to turn off the signal, and they have an emotional reaction to it, which is sometimes expressed facially and verbally, for example “Look at that idiot. His signal is still blinking!”, which may be accompanied by shaking the head in disbelief, or in disapproval. Overtly aggressive drivers may go even further in the expression of their disdain by yelling at the driver while passing the car.


The yelling and the shaking of the head are traffic actions that result from the cooperation of their traffic emotions and their traffic thoughts. Understanding this cooperation is the key to managing our traffic experience, and improving it so that driving becomes less risky, more efficient, less stressful, more peaceful, more supportive, and even enjoyable and productive.

We need to practice monitoring our mental driving economy. This refers to how we keep track of what’s happening around us in traffic. Every moment of driving consists of a loop that we repeat as we drive: Noticing where the other cars are; appraising how you need to adjust to that – like when to slow down or when to pick up; and executing the decision.

Noticing-Appraising-Executing. This is the driver’s loop. 

Drivers feel overwhelmed by traffic emotions. This causes driving stress and the emotional use of the gas pedal. Both involve costs in higher risk and unhappiness. Drivers can learn to better manage their traffic emotions by monitoring their mental driving economy. This will give them an indication of their emotional territoriality. What are the things they notice about other cars and motorists? How do they react emotionally? What are their traffic thoughts in connection with these emotions?

Knowing their traffic thoughts and traffic emotions, will allow drivers to intervene in the process. The goal is to shrink one’s emotional territoriality, to stop extending their emotions to traffic events that do not impact them directly. It involves shrinking one’s emotional territoriality by practicing an attitude of latitude. We can notice another driver speeding past us without reacting emotionally. We can experience the sudden fright when someone cuts us off and we have to break quickly. We can’t help the emotional reaction, but we can do something to cut it short. We have the choice of choosing traffic thoughts that exasperate and intensify our disapproval of the other driver, or, we can choose traffic calming thoughts. We are in charge of our thoughts much more than of our emotions, and by controlling our traffic thoughts, we control our traffic emotions.


To achieve effective driver self-management, we need to know what we care about emotionally as we notice things around us. We need to monitor the traffic thoughts that go along with the traffic emotions. For instance, you’re looking for a parking space and notice one right next to a larger car that is not perfectly aligned. You’re annoyed. You feel outraged that you have to either squeeze in, or look for a better stall. If the driver would show up at this point you might glare at the person, or even verbally express hostility. When you think about this scenario from a manager’s perspective who is responsible for a fleet of drivers, you would not rank high with such traffic emotions, thoughts, and actions.



In Love With the Gas Pedal


Meanwhile the generation of drivers around did not get or heed this message. With gas cheap and car maintenance affordable, a new driving practice evolved, which can be called the emotional use of the gas pedal. It became an unconscious thing to do for all “normal average” drivers. I have observed that drivers today commonly use the gas pedal to reduce traffic frustrations.


Many motorists love to hear the roar of their own engines, and love to experience the thrill of acceleration, straight ahead, or around the bend. It feels like a great relief. This relief is an emotional relief. The good feeling is attached to the foot. We begin to love that pedal. We play footsie with it. We press it, and the mechanical monster whirls, roars, and bounces in a faithful dependable response. We are in love with it. It is possessing power in a world in which we have but little, and in which we get tossed around. But the gas pedal gives us power, for a nice change. The gas pedal puts us in charge of things, of how the vehicle is to move and locomote, and even fly (for brief miliseconds anyway).


I observed that when drivers encounter a “left lane bandit” who just refuses to move over, even when being tailgated, they drive around the car in the right lane, as they have no other choice, but they do so by flooring the gas pedal, or using it more than is required for passing. This fuel inefficient maneuver is an emotional defense mechanism, to relieve the negative and explosive traffic emotions occasioned in us by the inconsiderateness of the passive-aggressive driving style of the left lane bandit. We feel inner road rage, and this dangerous traffic emotion is released in a less harmful manner than gesturing, yelling, or cutting off. The emotional use of the gas pedal may save the rageful driver from something much worse and unsafe.

Another common instance of the emotional use of the gas pedal is to accelerate and decelerate abruptly whenever some blockage to forward motion is experienced – slower moving vehicle, slow moving pedestrians, traffic lights, stop signs, on ramps, construction zones, coned merge areas, back-ups, -- and now hypermilers.


More on the emotional use of the gas pedal in a Section earlier above...

Hypermilers and non-hypermilers have evolved into two road user communities that are in conflict with each other behaviorally, emotionally, politically, socially, and morally.

Their driving values clash. Their driving attitudes do not fit together smoothly. Their traffic thoughts are contrastive. Their driving goals are dissimilar. Their vehicular behaviors are mutually antagonistic.

How is the non-hypermiling driver behind the hypermiler driver, going to experience the vehicle mediated contact?


I have been studying traffic emotions and traffic thoughts for three decades. I can predict that the war between hypermilers and non-hypermilers is going to heat up in the entire range of the driving community – motorists, safety officials, government agencies, advocacy groups, online discussion groups, blogs, and Web sites. We don’t want to follow in the footsteps of the terrible war between motorists and bicylcists.

Right now there is still the possibility of a resolution, of peace, between these two groups gearing up for highway warfare. Hypermilers and non-hypermilers need to develop a feeling of mutual respect. Non-hypermilers can admire the tenacity and expertise with which hypermilers perform their fuel efficiency strategies. This requires strong motivation for persisting and being good at it. Americans can admire that. Non-hypermilers can learn some of the techniques used by hypermilers. It’s a good thing if we drive with less acceleration and more situational awareness. Crashes at lower speeds are far easier to recover from. Distracted driving is lethal to thousands every year. Hypermilers prompt us to stay more focused on the driving task itself. It remains the main thing to do when driving, instead of dividing attention by multi-tasking with things not directly relevant to driving.


But for non-hypermilers to learn to respect and appreciate hypermilers, they need to experience hypermilers as considerate. This is critical. In the online culture of hypermiling, I found little emphasis or awareness of strategies, techniques, and driving styles that monitor and moderate the effect hypermiling has on the other motorists. This is then a psychological problem between the two camps on the road. For the sake of peace and safety, hypermiling communities need to step up their practices in the area of driver to driver influences.


How one driver acts impacts on hundreds of other drivers. We all know this, but few of us have made it into a focus area for observation while we are on the road and in parking lots. Situational awareness must include conditions, vehicles and drivers.

One of the safest ways to drive is in convoys, with vehicles around you that travel at the same speed, and maintain a relatively safe four-second interval between cars. This style of driving makes events predictable, so that mistakes are avoidable or correctable, as long as the driver is focused and not distracted by other in-car activities.


What is Your mental driving economy?
What things do you keep track of when driving?
What is your situational awareness?

Do you Practice the Emotional Use of the Gas Pedal?


1. When the light turns red on me just as I get there, I feel depressed for a few seconds.

2. When I just make the light, I feel elated.

3. When a slower driver blocks my way, I get enraged with impatience and disapproval.

4. When the slower driver blocks the passing lane, I feel outrage and condemnation.

5. When I get to work in less time than my average, I feel elated and competent.

6. When the lane I am in is slower than the other lane, I feel like I am being cheated or that I have chosen the wrong lane.

7. When ...

Let me know what else you do as a driver that pertains to how you keep track of other drivers in relation to you. Why do you do that? Email DrDriving

See also this news interview:  


For comments, email Dr. Leon James


Date: Fri, 11 Jul 2008



Leon, I think many of your concerns are based on what you feel hypermiling is rather than what it actually is. Slow starts: The most efficient load factor to accelerate on an engine is 50 to 80% of capacity. A hypermiling start done correctly may actually be a bit faster than traffic around us.


Pulse and glide: This is something unique to the hybrids. It really doesn't work on a regular car. A variation does work. Getting up to speed going uphill and pushing in the clutch going downhill in places you can maintain speed. A person behind me would never notice what I'm doing.


Left lane hogs: Yes, people do this, but this is not hypermiling. It's a lack of consideration. Being polite to other drivers is a huge part of hypermiling.


Coasting: If I can't maintain speed coasting, it's more efficient to use a light touch on the gas pedal and maintain speed. If I'm coasting to a light, people seldom come closer to me here. Coasting to lights seems to be the norm here. It's rare to see cars more than 2 or 3 deep at the busiest red light. Just a month ago, they were 10 deep. I get a chuckle when I plan to start a coast a bit later due to approaching traffic from the rear and they slow down before I do.


However, if I'm on a 2 lane road doing the speed limit and someone wants to go faster, legally, I can't exceed the speed limit. It's something the speeder is going to have to deal with. Surprisingly, I'm more often the one being held up than the one holding up traffic. I simply adjust my technique a little and it's no big deal. On the use of the word "convoy." Perhaps a third word could be chosen as the word convoy may also have a negative connotation due to the movie. It hints at aggression. It's something I see mostly on the interstate where a homogenous streem of traffic forms in the right lane with people content to maintain whatever the stream does. It's usually led by a Swift truck (whose speed is governed at 64 mph) or one of the other usually led by a Swift truck (whose speed is governed at 64 mph) or one of the other carriers that govern the speed.


When I started riding the bike, I noticed that if I did 65 in the right lane, traffic was much smoother than it was at 75. People realized they have to pass me sooner and move left. Since they are going 75, they get by me quickly and don't clog things up. The traffic pattern becomes more hazardous if I do 75 in the right lane. However, if I do 60, then people overtake too quickly, slow down, and then possibly get blocked by the person behind them creating a mess.


So, I am against going 15 below the speed limit unless traffic is already moving at that speed due to congestion.


I'd really like to see any terminology relating to war not used. I don't see any war on the roads here. I see people just trying to get someplace, some driving differently than others. To me, it's more like a complex video game than a war. Other traffic is simply part of the terrain I need to navigate through in the safest way possible while still saving gas. However, if you personally consider that there is a war going on, you will find there is a war going on. I prefer to feel I'm at peace with those around me, and I find people around me act peacefully.




Date: Mon, 14 Jul 2008
From: Gershon ben Franja
Subject: Hypermiling videos

Leon, You said in a previous post that hypermilers need to examine their effects on traffic around them. Yesterday, I rode the bike to Ft. Collins and back a distance of about 370 miles round trip on the interstate. I video'ed the whole thing and made shorter videos of the more interesting parts. The first video is an area of moderate traffic with 2 lanes. of traffic. The speed limit was 75. I was doing 65 through most of the video following a truck pulling a 5th wheeler about 5 or 6 seconds behind me. This is a good distance as I can see ahead far enough to avoid an obstacle that might pass under the vehicle ahead of me. It also gives a vehicle to the left a place to go through for an exit. Notice how smoothly the traffic flows throughout the whole video. There isn't any severe tailgating and no weaving. Here is the video:

The second video is through Denver with multiple lanes. The speedlimit was 55 or 60,
depending on where I was. I maintained 55 in the right lane when able or one over from
the right lane if the right lane was exit only.

Notice the right lane was the only lane doing the speed limit. All the lanes to my left
were braking the law. However, traffic was moving smoothly. Each vehicle tended to pick
the lane that was going their speed and staying in it.

The video is here:

You made this statement on your webpage:
"Hypermilers and non-hypermilers have evolved into two road user communities that are
in conflict with each other behaviorally, emotionally, politically, socially, and

Their driving values clash. Their driving attitudes do not fit together smoothly. Their
traffic thoughts are contrastive. Their driving goals are dissimilar. Their vehicular
behaviors are mutually antagonistic."

I don't see just two communities here. I see one for each lane and various
subcommunities in each lane. However, I don't see any conflict whatsoever. I didn't see
a single incident of road rage yesterday although I did see one glaring error. But it
was just that, a mistake.

The videos together run about 18 minutes. If you have any comments, please include the
time on the video.

Now, consider what might happen if the faster traffic became hypermilers. They would
move right and the right lane would fill up. When following distances got too close,
people would slow down, and some would move to the second lane which would also go

slower than before. However, this would leave more room in the lanes further to the
left for people to go faster.

"Hypermilers and non-hypermilers have evolved into two road user communities that are
in conflict with each other behaviorally, emotionally, politically, socially, and

Their driving values clash. Their driving attitudes do not fit together smoothly. Their
traffic thoughts are contrastive. Their driving goals are dissimilar. Their vehicular
behaviors are mutually antagonistic."

I'd perhaps change the statement a bit. Hypermilers and others seem to have two
different goals. One likes to go slow, one likes to go faster. Surprisingly, the needs
of both are being met. As the hypermilers move right and maintain a steady speed in the
left, resisting the urge to pass to gain a small advantage, others are given more space
to go faster. Instead of a war, it seems to be a mutually beneficial relationship.

Hypermiling History: Here are Selected Google Results for Hypermiling  6/08

Hypermiling Becoming More Popular as Gas Prices Rise : TreeHugger

It's really no surprise that the combination of various gas-saving techniques known collectively as 'hypermiling' are getting more attention these days with ...

COPING WITH GAS PRICES, Canada - 3 hours ago
To accomplish the latter, many drivers are adopting a set of techniques collectively known as "hypermiling," or ecodriving. Hypermiling, a term coined by ...
How some are trying to ease the pain The Gazette (Montreal)

Gas prices skyrocket overnight across Canada
all 22 news articles »


100 - count 'em - suggestions for hypermiling - AutoblogGreen

... Even veteran hypermilers will probably find something worth remembering in this list of 100 ways to increase a vehicle's miles per gallon. ...


Helping the consumer overcome the rising price of fuel
CJAD, Canada - Jun 8, 2008
Driving less is hardly an option for some people, so they're turning to a set of techniques known as HYPERMILING, or ecodriving. Basic hypermiling practices ...

Fuel economy-maximizing behaviors - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Hypermilers are drivers who exceed the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimated fuel efficiency on their vehicles by drastically ...

The Ultimate Guide to Hypermiling: 100 Driving and Car Tips and ...

Hypermiling, or driving your car in a manner that maximizes mileage, has become more popular among drivers worldwide, as concerns over ...

How to Become a Hypermiler - Instructables - DIY, How To, ride ...

The best way to save on fuel is to not use it at all - ride a bike, use mass transportation, etc. However, there is a rather large subset of the popul...

Want to improve your car's gas mileage? Try 'hypermiling' (KNXV-TV), AZ -
May 27, 2008
The cost of a gallon of gas has increased and so too has the popularity of so-called hypermiling. Hypermiling is essentially driving your car as efficiently ...
Beat High Gas Prices By Hypermiling
MyFox Phoenix
all 3 news articles »


Hypermilers take extreme measures to stretch fuel, Canada - May 18, 2008
The elder statesman of a group of fuel misers known as hypermilers, Gerdes is obsessed with fuel consumption. He is driven, so to speak, by the urge to go ...


CleanMPG, An authoritative source on fuel economy and hypermiling

This discussion forum is dedicated to increasing fuel economy, mileage ( MPG ), and lowering emissions of whatever automobile you own and drive.

Hypermiling - The new menace on the road?: Consumer Reports Cars Blog

In fact, sites like and promote many safe and effective ways to maximize fuel economy. But you should always be courteous to ...


Hypermiling Forum

This is a forum dedicated to discuss Hypermiling techniques, tips, and ideas to increase Gas Mileage (MPG), Gas Savers, and Fuel Economy regardless of what ...      

Site Map  |Search this Site   ||  Asess Your Road Rage Tendency ||


From: Your Car Says About You

Whether you like it or not, your vehicle choice oftentimes speaks volumes about who you are.

By Lawrence Ulrich

(...) Over Mind

For more than 20 years, Dr. Leon James at the University of Hawaii has researched and taught the psychology of driving. In our car culture, James says, drivers idealize their rides and even lend them human qualities. Under hypnosis, drivers will refer to their car as if it were a friend or lover. In everyday life, owners name their cars and talk to them. whether the car is racy or outdoorsy, owners seek attributes that mirror their self-image. "People construct an ideal in their mind of the perfect car, and those attributes are transferred to its driver as well," James said, noting how negatively we associate the drivers of dilapidated or dirty cars. Some of us get so offended we'll deliver a hand-scrawled scolding, strangely written from the car's point of view: Wash Me. (...)


See this article on DrDriving: Moving Relationships Befriending the Automobile to Relieve Anxiety Jameson M. Wetmore


"Interacting with an automobile as though it were human opens up a way of conceptualizing its "incomprehensible" mechanical problems and offers a method of communicating with an automobile that is understandable to people who are more comfortable with human interactions. This relationship, in turn, is occasionally used as a way to calm a person when the driving situation appears dangerous. Thinking of the driving process as a team effort helps give the driver the confidence that often results when more than one person is working together toward the same goal. Conceiving of an automobile as a friendly companion is a method many people use to assimilate the sometimes troubling technology into their everyday lives. (...)


In this paper I will argue that anthropomorphism is a method some people have used in similar negotiations with their automobiles. Even though the automobile has attained closure in the United States as the predominant method of vehicular travel, individuals who use them must still assimilate them on a personal level. Because automobiles are a source of anxiety for many people, this is not always a simple process. Not all automobiles are the flawless, shiny objects that are sometimes discussed in automotive histories. They are just as often a ten-year-old hand-me-down station wagon that doesn’t always start when it rains. Cars have the potential to break down at inopportune times, perhaps leaving the driver in a dangerous place or causing him or her to be late for an important occasion. In addition they are sometimes dangerous to use. Car crashes claim the lives of tens of thousands of Americans each year. When these fears are overwhelming, it can be difficult for a person to use an automobile. Conceiving of a car as a companion can help mediate these concerns and make it easier for a person to use. The ability for individuals to use a car with relatively little stress helps give automobiles the predominant place they hold in American culture today. (...)


One man I interviewed addressed the difference between cars that are liked and those that are disliked when he reflected on the one car he had not named: "I wanted to name it, but it had no personality. It was a 78 Brown VW Dasher. Nothing stuck. It never had enough personality. My girlfriend at the time proposed ‘Maxime,’ but I didn’t have enough affection for it, so it didn’t deserve a name." (...)


The personalities these people developed for their automobiles were quite varied. Some spoke of their cars as sprightly and fun while others regarded their cars as slothful or weak. But most of their descriptions revolved around their car’s reliability. Sometimes this was an explicit part of their vision, at other times implicit, but it was always an integral part of their vision of their car’s human characteristics. Quite often, the owner’s conception of their car’s personality was expressed in terms of its quirks and idiosyncrasies. These traits, whether the result of miles and miles of use or a manufacturing mistake, were explained as the primary way an owner can see his or her car interacting with him or her.

For instance, in a 1918 journal, MIT Professor Walter James reflected on his experiences with "Lisize="3ie," his Model T: "In these chronicles I have remarked that the Ford is inclined to have a mind of its own, and to exhibit that mind at most unpleasant times and in most unexpected ways, stopping dead without apparent reason, standing still in the face of all kinds of persuasion and abuse, then, when good and ready, starting off again." All of the car’s idiosyncrasies are described as a manifestation of it being "Lisize="3ie" and having a personality. (...)


Nearly all of the people interviewed attributed a specific gender to their automobile. This was often an intricate part of the personality they envisioned their car as having. They often displayed this attribution in the gender specific name they gave their automobile and also by referring to their car as "him" or "her." In most cases this attribution was a conscious act and in describing the personality of their car, many of the interviewees made references to what they themselves termed "gender stereotypes."

One family, for instance, has given all their cars masculine names except one. Why? "Because the older cars were all masculine. They had speed and power, so they were masculine." In the early 80s, the mother of the otherwise all-male family argued that women were underrepresented in the family and they needed to give a car a female name. Their next purchase was a white Chevrolet Citation compact they named "Cindy." The car’s "check engine" light kept coming on and they kept taking it to the dealer for service. The dealer found nothing wrong with the car, but they decided it was not worth the hassle, so they returned the car and purchased another. They discovered later that the car’s engine exploded a month after they returned it. As the mother of the family tells the story, her husband and son "decided that females were too temperamental" and they did not want to give another car a feminine name. When asked if their outlook had changed in fifteen years, they said that the mother was interested in purchasing a Cavalier, another compact Chevrolet, with a sunroof. The husband argued that "we can have a female name for that, or a wimpy male name." The wife questioned if this would ever happen, arguing that her husband likes V8s, and she did not believe they would give a feminine name to a car with such a powerful engine. (...)


Continues here:


Your Car's Personality Reveals a Secret knew? Cars may be inanimate objects, but they have personalities. The characteristics you give your car--from gender to a name--reveal a secret about you, specifically your propensity for road rage.

Colorado State University psychology professor Jacob Benfield says knowing the personality of drivers' cars is a better indicator of how aggressive they will be on the road than knowing the drivers' own personalities, reports The Washington Post.

In this survey of 204 college students, all of whom owned a car, Benfield assessed the degree to which the students gave their cars human characteristics. The results were similar to previous research:

Each student took a personality test that measured his or her propensity toward road rage and aggressive driving. Then they took the same test again, but this time, they were given these instructions: "Imagine that your vehicle had a personality. Now rate the following items based on the vehicle's personality."

The results? The students who thought of their vehicles as being male or female "scored significantly higher than non-gender-vehicle drivers on verbal aggression, physical aggression, use of vehicle, driving anger and pejorative labeling/verbally aggressive thinking," Benfield and his colleagues report in the journal Personality and Individual Differences.

This is where it gets really interesting: The personalities of the drivers and the cars were not the same. In fact, "the perceived personality of the car sometimes was a better predictor of aggressive driving tendencies than the owner's personality," writes Post reporter Ricard Morin.

Example: People who think of their car as friendly are more likely to be polite drivers, even if they are not particularly friendly people themselves. "If people perceive their Corolla to be a jerk, they might drive more aggressively than if they thought their Mustang had a nice personality," Benfield told the Post. Naming the car had no effect on road rage tendencies.

--From the Editors at Netscape

The above is from:


People Love Angry-Faced Cars

By Jeremy Hsu, Staff Writer
posted: 06 October 2008 10:42 am ET
If a Toyota Prius just looks too friendly for your tastes, you’re not alone. People readily see faces and traits in cars, and a new study suggests that they prefer cars to appear dominant, masculine and angry.

The finding rests on the propensity we have to actually see faces or human characteristics in everything from cars to clouds, a phenomenon called pareidolia. But now researchers hope to better understand what goes on in the brain when people see faces in objects versus humans faces, as well as help automakers design more appealing cars.


(...) For this, Thorstensen enlisted his own group of experts that included Sonja Windhager, an anthropologist at the University of Vienna. They asked 20 males and 20 females to rate 38 passenger car models which came out between 2004 and 2006.

Study participants assessed cars based on a system known as geometric morphometrics (GM), which allowed the men and women to rate certain traits on a sliding scale (such as "infancy" to "adulthood"). The traits represented maturity, sex, attitudes, emotions, and personality — all things that people infer from human faces at a single glance.

After rating car traits, participants then answered the question of whether they saw a human face, animal face or no face at all on the cars. They drew facial features such as eyes, nose and mouth on the car images whenever they did see faces.
Lastly, the study participants answered whether they liked a car or not. The study restricted car choices to passenger cars, because hulking SUVs would have skewed the results.

People overwhelmingly preferred cars that rated highest on "power" traits." High "power" cars like the BMW 5 Series tended to be lower or wider, and have slit-like or angled headlights with a wider air intake.
The participants also largely agreed on which cars had which traits, such as arrogant, afraid and agreeable. A few traits such as disgusted, extroverted and sad caused more disagreement.


The above is from:


 National Safety Council (NSC): Fatal accidents increasing

By William Atkins Tuesday, 12 June 2007 According to a June 7, 2007 NSC report, the number of fatal, preventable accidents in the United States is increasing after a decreasing trend for over twenty years.

Specifically, the number of human deaths from preventable, fatal accidents has risen over 20% between 1996 and 2005. In 2005, approximately 113,000 people in the United States were killed accidentally.

The all-time record high is 116,385 accidental deaths in 1969, which the report says could easily be exceeded, if the percentage trend continues, within a few more years.

The all-time record low occurred in 1992, at about 99,440 people dead from preventable accidents. The decreasing trend in fatal, preventable accidents occurred between 1969 and 1992. That good trend is related to the initial installation and use of seat belts and air bags, home smoke detectors, and better drunk-drinking laws.

Accidents are the leading cause of death in the United States for all people aged one to 41 years. Overall, in all age groups, accidental deaths are fifth on the list of preventable fatalities—with heart disease, cancer, stroke, and chronic lower respiratory diseases being in the top four.

The number one activity involved within accidental fatalities include motor vehicles, especially, activities such as speeding, general distractions, multitasking, using cell phones, and not wearing seat belts.

The number two activity involved with accidental fatalities includes the ingestion of illegal drugs, prescription drugs, and over-the-counter drugs. The NSC report states that overdoses from all types of drugs are the fastest-rising cause of accidental deaths.

Falls, choking, and drowning, in that order, are the third, fourth, and fifth leading causes of accidental fatalities in the United States.

These five categories of accidental fatalities account for about 83% of all U.S. accidental deaths. The state of Massachusetts has the lowest death rate from preventable, fatal accidents. Unfortunately, New Mexico has the highest death rate.

The website of the National Safety Council is The NSC has tracked statistics of preventable, fatal accidents since the 1920s. Its results are published in the Journal of Safety Research.




Territorial Markings as a Predictor of Driver Aggression and Road Rage

Journal of Applied Social Psychology Volume 38 Issue 6 Page 1664-1688, June 2008 To cite this article: William J. Szlemko, Jacob A. Benfield, Paul A. Bell, Jerry L. Deffenbacher, Lucy Troup (2008) Territorial Markings as a Predictor of Driver Aggression and Road Rage.  Journal of Applied Social Psychology 38 (6) , 1664–1688.  

Aggressive driving has received substantial media coverage during the past decade. We report 3 studies testing a territorial explanation of aggressive driving. Altman (1975) described attachment to, personalization of, and defense of primary territories (e.g., home) as being greater than for public territories (e.g., sunbathing spot on a beach). Aggressive driving may occur when social norms for defending a primary territory (i.e., one's automobile) become confused with less aggressive norms for defending a public territory (i.e., the road). Both number of territory markers (e.g., bumper stickers, decals) and attachment to the vehicle were significant predictors of aggressive driving. Mere presence of a territory marker predicts increased use of the vehicle to express anger and decreased use of adaptive/constructive expressions.

The above is from



Parents 'behind road rage rise' 

Young drivers aping their parents' bad behaviour behind the wheel could be the cause of a rise in road rage incidents, according to a survey.

Road rage is most likely to occur among inexperienced motorists aged 18-29, with 61% of this group admitting to personality changes while driving, the survey from insurance company Norwich Union found.

Two-in-five young drivers blame their parents for their erratic driving behaviour, saying they inherited their road rage tendencies from seeing their mother and father at the wheel, the survey also showed.


Radio Iowa News 

High gas prices may help keep traffic deaths down

Friday, June 20, 2008

By Matt Kelley

Finally, a silver lining is appearing in the dark cloud of high gasoline prices. The number of traffic deaths statewide is down significantly from a year ago, which Triple-A-Iowa's Rose White attributes, in part, to the rising cost of filling our gas tanks.

"With many motorists curtailing their driving to conserve gasoline and vehicles traveling at reduced speeds on the interstate to maximize fuel efficiency, high fuel costs may be a factor in helping to drive fewer deaths on the roadways," White says. "We also believe teens may be driving fewer miles since they have fewer dollars to spend on their gas."

Iowa has seen 145 traffic deaths this year, compared to 166 on this date a year ago. White says it's becoming clear, more people are trying to save fuel by driving less -- and by driving smarter. "Some people may be avoiding those aggressive driving behaviors, such as hard braking and fast acceleration that waste fuel and that frequently contribute to car accidents." White says. "It certainly is interesting that we have this double-digit drop (in highway deaths) and that may actually be a result of high fuel prices."

The number of motorcycling fatalities has also fallen this year, with 17 recorded statewide so far in 2008, compared to 21 on this date a year ago. She says fuel consumption rates are dropping as gas prices rise -- and more people are riding mass transit as well.

Driving slower on the interstate can help save gas, White says, but how do you know the ideal speed for your car? Most owner's manuals will list the optimum speed for maximum fuel efficiency, and White says for most vehicles, it's between 55 and 65 miles an hour. Triple-A says the statewide average for a gallon of unleaded gas is $3.93, which is 14-cents below the national average. with bumper stickers likely to be aggressive: study

Misty Harris ,  Canwest News Service

Published: Wednesday, June 18, 2008

The next time you think about tailgating someone, check their vehicle for bumper stickers, window decals and vanity plates.

A new study shows these kinds of "territory markers" indicate whether a driver will respond to offensive behaviour with forgiveness or the finger.

Researchers from Colorado State University report that personalized items on an automobile - everything from dashboard decor to Support Our Troops stickers - predict road rage better than vehicle value, condition, or similar clues to aggression behind the wheel. What surprised study authors most, however, was the fact the content of the items had no bearing on levels of hostility. (...)

Leon James, a noted expert on driving psychology and road rage, says people who act on their road rage tend to express their emotional territoriality more than others, something that could easily translate to the purchase of "overt" vehicle adornments.

"Anything you put on your car is aggressive because it forces other people to look at it," says James, a professor at the University of Hawaii. "Drivers aren't out on the road to read your message."

The above is from


See also by Leon JamesEmotional Use of the Gas Pedal || Musings in Traffic ||  Emotional Spin Cycle || Self-monitoring Inventory || Drivers Behaving Badly on TV || Children and Road Rage || More articles...


From our book on Road Rage and Aggressive Driving


What principles are safest for children as passengers, pedestrians, and cyclists


1.      To become more aware of habits of thinking while walking or riding.

2.      To develop objective judgment about strangers' behavior.

3.      To develop emotional intelligence as drivers, passengers, and pedestrians.

4.      To critically analyze driving incidents (scenario analysis) by focusing on identifying choice-points (how to prevent or break the chain of errors that leads to catastrophe).

5.      To acknowledge the human rights of all drivers.

6.      To acknowledge passengers' rights (their convenience, comfort, and safety).

7.      To acknowledge pedestrian rights (why they must have the right of way).

8.      To acknowledge the rights of bicycle riders and how to behave near them.

9.      To acknowledge the rights of truck drivers, the need for truck deliveries, and how to behave near them.

10.  To practice group discussions on the importance of civility in public behavior (respecting mutual rights, inalienable rights, fairness, character, community, etc.)

11.  To be able to defend the ideal of social responsibility in public places

12.  To recognize the benefits and rewards of being supportive and positive.

13.  To practice self-witnessing activities as passengers

14.  To practice self-witnessing activities as pedestrians and other road uses

The Highway Safety Act of 1996 authorizes the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), through its separate agencies of the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Federal Highway Administration (FHA), to fund traffic improvement programs implemented by state and local governments, including funding safety improvements in the areas of occupant protection, emergency medical services, police traffic services, roadway safety, impaired driving, speed control, motorcycle safety, traffic records, and pedestrian and bicycle safety.

Bicycle advocacy groups want more restrictions on the movement of cars, which drivers oppose. Controversy surrounding the issue is inevitable since the parties involved protect contrary interests, and because it is amounts to speed control, traffic calming tends to set opposing lines between neighborhood constituencies

Motorists in transit vs. local residents
Drivers vs. bicyclists ·
Drivers vs. pedestrians Bicyclists vs. pedestrians ·
Private vs. commercial drivers 4-wheel drivers vs. truckers 

Authorities set speed limits according to traffic engineering studies. They find that the best way to ascertain the appropriate speed limit for a stretch of road, is to survey the speed of free flowing traffic, and to set the speed limit at the 85th percentile. This is the speed exceeded by 15 percent of the vehicles. This practice minimizes accident risk and maximizes motorist compliance. The NMA argues that instead of following this approach, current speed limits are based on political considerations (...).

for more, see DrDriving's Page for Cyclists and Pedestrians


Safety: Aggressive driving targeted by new technology

08 Apr 08 15:01

Military personnel are among the first in the UK to benefit from a new technology that measures aggressive driver inputs and flags them up on the dash, writes Nick Gibbs.

Designed to alert drivers to unsafe maneuvers, the gadget from US-based GreenRoad Technologies measures g-forces and compares them with a safe-driving benchmark. Sophisticated software can then recognize 120 different driver actions and will judge whether they're dangerous or not. If a danger is recognized, a red light appears in the driver's peripheral vision.

article continues below taking a toll on psychic health, experts say


By Christopher Goffard, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer June 8, 2008

(...)  For Leon James, a professor of psychology at the University of Hawaii, a lifetime's academic pursuit began 25 years ago when his wife told him his driving scared her. She pointed out that he switched lanes before he looked, took curves too fast and raged against other drivers.

The rebuke stung his pride but got him thinking -- and led to his pioneering role in the small academic field of the psychology of driving. He began by asking his students to carry voice recorders to monitor their responses on the road, and learned that they were no strangers to rage -- particularly when cut off, tailgated or stuck behind slow cars in the fast lane. James said studies have found little correlation between motorists' personalities inside and outside of the car. Road rage can overtake those who are models of agreeability at home or at the office.

"People tell me, 'I'm amazed at myself. I'm not an aggressive person. I'm not this way. Why do I feel this way?' " James said. He has concluded that asphalt aggression is not an anger-management problem but one of socialization -- people absorb their driving mores in the back seat at an early age, watching grown-ups curse, pound the steering wheel and cut each other off.

Even as kids learn self-control on the playground, he said, they are taught the opposite on the road. "What we need is traffic emotions education starting in kindergarten," he said. "You can't just act the way you want."



The following is excerpted from: 
Road Rage and Aggressive Driving : Steering Clear of Highway Warfare
by Leon James & Diane Nahl (Prometheus, 2000).



The following twenty steps are arranged along a continuum of escalating degrees of hostility, beginning with relatively milder forms of aggressiveness (step 1) and going all the way to extreme violence (step 20). How far down the uncivilized path do you allow yourself to go? The majority of drivers we tested go as far as step 13.


1. Mentally condemning another driver
2. Verbally denigrating another driver to passengers in your vehicle
3. Closing ranks to deny someone entry into your lane because you're frustrated or upset
4. Giving another driver the "stink eye" to show your disapproval
5. Speeding past another car or revving the engine as a sign of protest
Preventing another driver from passing because you're mad
7. Tailgating to pressure a driver to go faster or get out of the way
8. Fantasizing physical violence against another driver
9. Honking or yelling at someone through the window to indicate displeasure
Making a visible obscene gesture at another driver
11. Using your car to retaliate by making sudden, threatening maneuvers
12. Pursuing another car because of a provocation or insult
13. Getting out of the car and engaging in a verbal dispute on a street or parking lot
Carrying a weapon in the car in case you decide to use it in a driving incident
15. Deliberately bumping or ramming another car in anger
Trying to run another car off the road to punish the driver
17. Getting out of the car and beating or battering someone as a result of a road exchange
Trying to run someone down whose actions angered you
19. Shooting at another car
20. Killing someone

How far down did you go on the continuum? The checklist is divided into five equal zones of intensity of aggressiveness.

Unfriendly Zone: Items 1 to 3 -- mental and verbal acts of unkindness toward other drivers

Hostile Zone: Items 4 to 7 -- visibly communicating displeasure or resentment with the desire to punish or retaliate

Violent Zone: Items 8 to 11 -- carrying out an act of hostility either in fantasy or in deed

Lesser Mayhem Zone: Items 12 to 16 -- epic road rage contained within personal limits

Major Mayhem Zone: Items 17 to 20 -- unrestrained epic road rage; the stuff of violent media headlines.

The above is excerpted from
Road Rage and Aggressive Driving : Steering Clear of Highway Warfare by Leon James & Diane Nahl (Prometheus, 2000).

See also Congressional Testimony by Dr. Leon James

Search this Site |Children's Books at

Esquire magazine May 7, 2008 


Leon James, professor of psychology and coauthor of Road Rage and Aggressive Driving: Steering Clear of Highway Warfare, says such impulses are neither uncommon nor significant. "It's very similar to other behaviors that don't have to do with cars, like throwing yourself down a cliff. People don't like to look over the edge, because they suddenly feel, Oh, no, I want to jump. They don't really want to do it; they're just toying with the idea. For people who are worried about it, I recommend making funny animal noises -- like a bear or lion or kitty cat -- and bingo! You're out of the whole thing."

Even so, adds James, "If it happens frequently, that's a different story. It should only happen once in a while."



01/07/2008 - News In Brief

What's driving motorists to 'road rage'

Inconsiderate and slow drivers, as well as congestion are fuelling road rage among Britain's motorsists.

Research by Norwich Union found that road rage was most likely to occur among inexperienced young drivers aged 18-29, with three in five (61%) admitting to a personality changes behind the wheel.

The study found that reckless driving (82%), slow motorists (69%) and traffic jams (49%) toped the list of main road rage triggers. And while one in five (22%) drivers simply shrugged off any confrontation, over half of UK drivers (52%) reacted differently to how they would normally by swearing, shouting, making rude gestures, and flashing their lights.

Interestingly, almost 40% of young drivers blamed their parents for their erratic driving behaviour, saying they inherited their road rage tendencies from seeing them behind the wheel.

Norwich Union's Nigel Bartram said: "With more and more congestion on UK roads and driving becoming an increasingly stressful experience, it's no wonder road rage is more widespread than ever.

"However our research shows how important it is for drivers to try and keep their cool when on the roads - not only will it help make their children better drivers, it will also make their journey easier and less stressful, not to mention safer." 


    by Dr. Leon James



Our research shows that the aggressiveness syndrome is made of the following 16 driver behaviors. Ask yourself how many of these apply to you on a regular basis:

1.      feeling stress

2.      swearing

3.      acting in a hostile manner

4.      speeding

5.      yelling at other drivers

6.      honking at other drivers

7.      making insulting gestures

8.      tailgating

9.      cutting someone off

10.  expressing road rage behavior

11.   feeling enraged

12.   indulging in violent fantasies

13.  feeling competitive with other drivers

14.  rushing all the time

15.   feeling the desire to drive dangerously

16.  feeling less calm and level headed behind the wheel

These 16 driving behaviors define the aggressive driver syndrome. They are all significantly intercorrelated. This means that if you do one of them regularly, you will also do many of the other 15 on a regular basis.

See also:   What Drivers Complain About Arranged by Feelings, Thoughts, and Acts

Do you swear behind the wheel?

There are large differences in driver swearing behavior when you compare age groups. Young drivers (15 to 24) admit to swearing the most (66% do it), but as they get older (25 to 54), they tend to reduce somewhat (60%), and finally, when drivers enter the senior category of motorists (55 to 94 -- in this sample), they greatly reduce their swearing (42%). Still, these data show that swearing is a cultural driving norm related to age, and a strong one. Six out of ten young drivers admit to swearing and cuss at other drivers, and 4 out of 10 senior drivers do so. Obviously, we need to examine this lack of civility between drivers.

Do you switch lanes without signaling?

Do drivers of different age groups vary in their lane hopping behavior, depending on the type of car they drive? The answer is Yes, as usual: Regardless of the type of car they drive, young people outdo older people in illegal lane switching. There is a high cost for this recklessness since crash fatalities are one of the main causes of death for this age group. The tragedy of it is compounded by the fact that our culture raises these youngsters by providing them with an ideology of driving aggressiveness and hostility as portrayed in the public media--see my report here. The good news is that cultural habits can be retrained by a new cultural focus as I argue in my congressional testimony, namely, Lifelong Driver's Ed from K through 12 and after that, Quality Driving Circles or QDCs that are neighborhood-based or related to the workplace (see our new proposal here).

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Songs About Driving Cars on Roads and Highways

Do you tailgate dangerously? results for the 10 states in this sample for which I had enough respondents to make statistical comparisons, show the worst five States with a mean of 21% dangerous tailgating: Colorado (25%), Georgia (20%), Pennsylvania (20%), Michigan (19%), Texas (19%). The lowest tailgating States are: Illinois (8%), New York (10%), Florida (14%), Ohio (15%), California (18%).

There are as you might expect, age differences as well as gender differences. Among young drivers, 19% admit to tailgating dangerously, which is about one in five. This is more than middle aged drivers (15%) and senior drivers (6%). This age pattern recurs in many aggressive driving behaviors: as we get older, we drive less aggressively. Women admit to as much tailgating as men (15%), in general, but once again there are significant influences attributable to the type of car they drive, as show in this table:

You can see that those drive the "soft" cars (family and economy) tailgate less than those who drive the "hard" cars (sports and SUV) with a ratio of two to one. This holds true for both men and women. However, with SUV drivers we see a reversal between the genders: more female SUV drivers tailgate dangerously, by their own admission, than male drivers of SUVs.

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Road Rage Videos on YouTube

BMW road rage |critical mass road rage ||  grandma responds to roadrage || crazy driver impatiently plows over crowd  ||  Ladies in parking lot with a bit of road rage ||  Trunk Monkey road rage commercial ||  female road rage  ||  bad drivers episode 1 ||  police chase crazy road rage ||  Simpson's road rage  || truck rollover pileup road rage ||  cyclist assault road rage  ||  road rage In Singapore  ||  more.....


What Motorists Are Saying about Anger and Road Rage in Their Lives

^^^ Anger is a natural emotion, and is rather self-protective at times. Anger can be maladaptive, and during those times we need to check ourselves, or wait to overtly react. It is healthy to have the ability to get angry, but it is unhealthy to let anger rule or overcome your life to the point that the only thing you can see or feel is anger. Our moods need to have some balance, and controlling anger when it is inappropriate is important. Knowing the difference between inappropriate anger and appropriate anger is an important exploration. For instance, if you want your job, you cannot yell at your boss because you are angry at him, but instead sit calmly and explain your feelings if possible. I am rarely enraged, except when someone i love is hurt. I get depressed oftentimes, but not to the point of feeling hopeless. A little depression can lead to self-exploration, which can be good (reevaluating things, etc.) Again, if emotions are out of control, no matter what emotion it is, that is not healthy.
 ^^^ As the light changed from red to green to yellow and back to red again, I asked myself "Is life really just a bunch of honking and screaming?"  Everybody is in a rush. Whether getting to work or driving home, most people are rushing! I know I have a bad temper. I grew up watching my father get extremely angry. He wouldn't hit us, the kids, but he would hit other objects and shake things. I grew up thinking this was the way to deal with anger. I know its wrong. I am trying very hard to control my anger on the roads and with the people I love. I tend to get most angry with those I love and who love me. I take the worst out on these people and then regret it later. Our society is like this too. We are all very selfish and want what we want when we want it. I hope this will help your survey. I can honestly say that I am trying to make a POSITIVE change in my attitude and the way I see others and the way in which I handle my anger. Thank you for this opportunity to express myself.

 ^^^ I believe that our society is becoming more self-centered in general. People seem to have a me-first attitude that didn't exist 30 or more years ago. There's a sense of entitlement that seems to justify bad (and/or narcissistic) behaviors. Anger, rudeness and lack of consideration for others are becoming so much the norm that I find myself surprised when strangers are kind or considerate (whether on the road or in a store or whatever). I find it difficult to be mean or rude, even when I feel I've been wronged -- it's just how I was raised and I think most others my age (50+) are the same. But it looks to me that this attitude will die with us and our society will be one mean place to be in future years.

 ^^^ I notice all the time in my city the people who have problems with "road rage". I my self am a borderline road rager, but I will say that I've gotten a lot better. However, there are people out there also that purposely do things to aggravate or irritate the "road ragers" and make situations worse instead of just moving out of their way. Like slowing way down or slamming on their brakes in the fast lane instead of just moving over. In my opinion they are just as bad if not worse than "Road Ragers". Sometimes they are the ones that cause the situations!!

 ^^^ I think people need to get more sleep, more exercise, and have more active relaxation (not tv or computer games). I think that thinking through situations, being compassionate and empathetic, helps. Give the person irritating you all the excuses you would give yourself if you made a mistake. Sometimes lying to yourself (e.g. "that person must not have seen me" or "they didn't mean to do that") helps to decrease anger, when necessary.

 ^^^ I think that socially - we are becoming more insular and have lost the art of patience. I work at maintaining balance - as do many of my peers/friends/family - yet also witness impatience among those groups - more than I recall as a child in the smae groups (or shall I say youngster). My husband - a normally patient person - paid a "per diem" for the horrific commute he has - recounts terrible incidents he has seen on the roadways -and the difficulty of trying to maneuver away from it. I try to travel side and back roads - and am often shocked when I get on our highways to witness the speeding and weaving - beeping and bad behavior on the roads. I must also comment that I NEVER NEVER see State Police out on the roads. I have called in plates of dangerous drivers - and have written letters that have seen no follow up. I wish you had one more question on your survey. It would be this: Do you ever wish you/your family could get around without having to drive on our nation's roads? Yes! Yes I do.

^^^ I think we get angrier as a society because we're eating too much artificial food. I've cut back on the amount of caffeine I drink, and it's helped a lot, but I'm still very impatient.

 ^^^ I want to find a way to let out all the stress of the day so that by the time I hit the road I don't get so angry at the guy the "cuts me off" on the way home. Trouble is, how do you get the other guy to find an outlet for his anger? I am seriously considering taking up kickboxing to vent.

 ^^^ Sometimes I feel discouraged like we are completely losing sight of the things that really matter in society, like family, love, religion, children and family virtues and values. I had a brother who passed away at 26 five years ago. It was a very depressing time for me. I used to listen to very angry, aggressive music to revert all of my sadness and discouragement to anger and rage. Now, I find sometimes it is hard to let go of those things.

 ^^^ I'd like to say that there is a good side to road rage: that is that it tends to deter people from intentionally being rude to other motorists. and on the other hand, there are so many cell phone owners that 'road rage assailants need to be particularly careful that there are no witnesses, before they offend.

 ^^^ It seems people do not take responsibility for their anger or feelings. my favorite quote is from the movie "The Big Chill": "I could have, I chose not to."

^^^ Anger can help you to act constructively, to push you to the point where you will do what you previously thought yourself incapable of doing. To act off anger is not always to act in violence or negativity. Most people don't realize this, but anger is the greatest motivator.

For explanations see this article.

See alsoCars, Drivers, Passengers |and| Relationships, Marriage, Romance

See alsoPets Psychology and Rage-Depression -- Pet Loss, Human Catheads, More...

See alsoSongs About Cars

Road rage parents likely to snap at kids

Lara Hertel ,  Reuters Life

Published: Tuesday, June 24, 2008


TORONTO - Parents who succumb to fits of road rage are also more likely to blow a fuse at their children's sporting events, according to U.S. research.

University of Maryland researcher Jay Goldstein said these type-A individuals were more prone to erupt in anger in many situations -- from being cut off in traffic to an unfavourable referee call -- because their ego takes it personally.

"Taking things personally is a strong trigger for anger," Goldstein told Reuters. (...)

Reports of so-called "sideline rage" are often in the media, most recently when a lacrosse league in Winnipeg, this month temporarily barred spectators from games following a string of complaints about abusive parents.

Loud, interfering parents have prompted several youth sporting teams in North America to implement "Silent Saturdays," which bars cheering or yelling during games.

To see which parents were most involved, Goldstein surveyed 340 parents attending their children's soccer game and asked them to rate factors such as stress, pressure and levels of anger. (...)

Those identified as "control-oriented" more often viewed the actions on the field as a personal affront, and reported more feelings of aggression than parents identified as "autonomy-oriented," or less affected by external factors. (...)

Even parents who usually don't take things personally admitted to feeling angry during their children's game, although they were able to control their reactions longer than those who were "control-oriented." 

© The Windsor Star 2008

The Great Rubbernecking Debate

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An urge to gawk fuels trouble

Rubbernecking drivers create problems, and it's getting worse, area road officials say.


Published June 25, 2007


Rubbernecking is not a new phenomenon. According to H.L. Mencken's classic book The American Language, the word entered the American vernacular as part of a wave of compound words invented during the late 1800s and early 1900s: Joyride, highbrow, skyscraper, pinhead. Rubberneck.


So why do we do it?


To a certain extent, it's natural, experts say. Humans are a curious species and drawn to the unusual. Drivers are trained to survey the terrain around them.

"That's the driver's job -- to cover all the visual field, to the side and in front. Drivers are supposed to do that," said Leon James, a University of Hawaii psychology professor who's considered one of the nation's top experts on traffic habits.

"The problem is slowing down while you're looking at an accident," James said. He suggests drivers train themselves to look without holding up traffic -- maintain your speed, keep a safe following distance and take quick glances while passing a crash scene.

When a driver stops or slows drastically to rubberneck, experts say it causes a "backward traveling traffic wave" -- the next driver must stop and the next and the next, potentially affecting thousands of vehicles. From the air it resembles an accordion, with gaps closing until the cars are bumper-to-bumper.


When that first vehicle takes off again, the reverse happens. Reopening those gaps takes a few seconds per car and, when multiplied by thousands of cars, leads to traffic jams.

"These traffic waves have been observed to go as much as 25 miles behind one little slowdown," James said. "Long after you get home, the traffic wave you created is still slowing down people on the highway."

That's why sometimes, after being stuck in traffic for an hour, you never even get to see the reason why. It's all been cleared away by the time you get there. (...)


Interview with Leon James and Diane Nahl


Chatelaine Magazine Shandley McMurray December 2000


Could you classify this as a road rage incident?

Yes. A chase took place, someone got out and beat on the car and used their car to block, police were called.


How would you define road rage?

Road rage is the inability to let go of the desire to punish or retaliate. It is an emotionally impaired state of anger leading to aggressive behavior in words, gestures, assault, or battery.


How could she have avoided this? Could she have avoided this?

You said she drove for 5 mins. before realizing she was being followed by a hostile car. After inadvertently cutting someone off one must be vigilant and alert to the consequences. And in that case she could have called 911 sooner (rather than calling a friend). Also, how could she have prevented inadvertently cutting someone off--this is important because it's a frequent source of road rage duels. Late at night one must be especially vigilant, and especially for women driving alone in a sports car--all of these are social signs of vulnerability on our highways that require increased prudence. Because being in a rush is so fundamental to our society's dynamic, inadvertently cutting someone off has become routine and not unusual, hence a very large pet peeve of the driving public.


How can women drivers avoid being the victims of road rage?

Besides the above, women drivers need to practice being more alert and conscious of other drivers. We are not alone out there, driving is a group activity and all of us need to treat it as such.


Can you name 10 ways that women drivers can avoid being road ragers or aggressive drivers themselves? (or what are the top 10 ways to dispel road rage?)


Dr. James and Dr. Nahl:

1.      Slowly count to ten. While you force yourself to count slowly, your adrenaline goes down to normal levels. Take deep breaths as you do this.

2.      Forgive and forget Think about the people who are waiting for you to arrive and how you don't want to disappoint them. Tell yourself it's just not worth the hassle.

3.      Make funny noises Laughter not only interrupts your negative thinking, it unloads the stress. Try animal sounds or any nonsense noise--really get into it.

4.      Use the Castanza Technique When you're in a bad mood, act the opposite of what you feel like. It worked for George on Seinfeld--remember that episode?

5.      Act as-if Do your courtesy waves and put on a pleasant face. The way you drive is contagious. You're influencing others' behavior, not by retaliating, but by peacemaking.

6.      Shrink your emotional territory Develop an attitude of latitude. Think of positive reasons why drivers do things that annoy you. Perhaps they're sick or confused. Maybe they're rushing to the bathroom. Maybe they just got some bad news. Maybe...

7.      Come out swinging positive Don't be rude to the rude. Seize control by defusing anger. Apologize, don't argue, be sympathetic. Don't challenge anything. Go out of your way to appear friendly and peaceful.

8.      Drive with emotional intelligence It's intelligent to choose positive explanations, rather than negative because they are less disturbing, more community oriented, less alienating, and ultimately more satisfying than the "you stupid clown" approach.

9.      Commit to Lifelong Driver Self-improvement Keep a Driving Log or Diary and make appropriate entries after each trip. Or, you can record yourself while driving, speaking your thoughts aloud. What a revelation when you listen to it later! It's a wake-up call to a driving personality makeover.

These tips and explanations are part of a large collection on our Web site:

See Traffic Emotions Education (TEE Cards)  ||  See DrDriving's Collection of Tips and Advice


We review various gender issues in driving differences between men and women on our site.


Why did you write your book "Road Rage And Aggressive Driving"?

We wanted to improve our relationship, and later to teach our students a useful method to improve their driving personalities, and now we want to help people on a wider scale to gain self-control over their traffic emotions and stress for a safer, happier, healthier life.

What did you hope you would achieve by writing this book?


What we learned by recording the thoughts and feelings of many drivers in traffic made us realize that we're in the midst of a public health crisis on the roads, and that people are ill equipped to cope with the complexity and intensity of driving today. For today's generation of drivers, both men and women, young and old, professional and inexperienced, it has become normal and common to drive aggressively but calling it something else--assertive, excellent, precision, effective, defensive, careful. This is a symptom of the definition gap we discovered that exists between most drivers' definition of what is aggressive and law enforcement's definition of what is aggressive driving.


The reason that aggressive driving is now the norm in society is that we as toddlers in the back seat, absorbed our parents' driving emotions and attitudes, including how fast they usually drive, what they say out loud to or about other drivers, how they handle distractions inside the car, who they blame after an incident, and their ongoing feelings in the vehicle.


We discovered that people can acquire self-control behind the wheel by overcoming misconceptions acquired in childhood and using simple strategies to diffuse dangerous situations or to avoid them altogether. Our book enables drivers to re-educate themselves to cope with the increasing complexity of driving, including emotional complexity, technological complexity, and situational complexity. Our hope is that people will learn Driving Psychology, practice safer behavior on the road so that the crash and fatality statistics will be dramatically reduced within a generation. We created driving psychology because it teaches drivers of all ages and experience how to engineer their own driving personality makeover. Since we begin our long driving careers as adolescents rigged for road rage and aggressive driving, people need technical skills in self-science to change long habits.


How long have you been interested in this topic?

Since 1981, when we got married and Leon began to drive Diane and her grandmother, who was a vocal commentator on Leon's driving (this is portrayed in the Preface). Subsequently we designed instruction for our college students who learned to engineer their own driving personality makeovers.


Do you think this topic is of more concern to women than men? If so, why?

We get more from women. They are usually concerned about a spouse whose aggressive driving has become very dangerous and frightening to their children. Women spend more time driving children and have more opportunity to pass on their driving habits to their children. We devote chapter 7 to Children and Road Rage with exercises they can do in the car to teach children to become emotionally intelligent passengers and future drivers. A basic tenet of driving psychology is that driver education begins as toddlers. We recommend that mothers take time to engage the children in critical thinking about routine traffic and driving issues.


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't do this in your car


Pushing buttons

Car companies and their suppliers jump through lawyers' hoops when developing central information consoles that can include satellite navigation, stereo controls and climate gauges. And with good reason.

Tweaking these devices while driving is a leading cause of accidents and near misses, according to Drive for Life, the National Safe Driving Test and Initiative. Most new consoles won't allow you to plug directions into a sat-nav while the car is in gear, but almost all allow you to play with the stereo. Try to do this when stationary, at traffic lights if you must. (...)

Aggressive driving is a factor in about 56 percent of fatal crashes, says the latest study on driving habits from the Surface Transportation Policy Partnership.

Though subject to debate, the study has classified aggressive driving as "speeding, tailgating, failing to yield, weaving in and out of traffic, passing on the right, making improper and unsafe lane changes and running stop signs and red lights." The group says that most drivers admit to making the same mistakes they hate to see other drivers commit.

As a group, teenagers are more likely than most to take their eyes off the road to concentrate on mobile devices, including cell phones, iPods and instant messaging gadgets.

They are also the age group most likely to impress their friends both with the latest in gadgetry and by taking risks behind the wheel. The National Safety Council points out that traffic crashes are the leading cause of fatalities in teens, accounting for 44 percent of deaths. (...)

Driving while upset  || Turn signals  || Pushing the wrong pedal  || Speeding and tailgating  || Buckle up  ||  Driving while tired



According to Natural Resources Canada, speedy and aggressive driving burns excessive fuel and money and only saves a matter of minutes.

If someone told you you could save two minutes of time by burning 39 per cent more fuel would you still do it? Would it be worth it?

With gasoline prices at over a dollar per litre and with the growing concern for the environment, does it really make sense to speed and drive aggressively?

Reducing your speed from 120km/hour to 100km/hr can save drivers up to 20 per cent in fuel costs while aggressive driving (rapid acceleration and braking) can cost up to 39 per cent more in fuel use and cost (as well as increasing the wear and tear on the vehicle).




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Apr 30 2008

Lollipop lady Val Atkins


Passenger Contract  |Pedestrian Rage  ||  Bicycling Safety  ||  Surfing Rage  ||  Shopping Rage  ||  Dear DrDriving Letters and Answers || Controversial Issues Debated || Cars, Drivers, Passengers |and| Relationships, Marriage, Romance  ||  Songs About Driving Cars on Roads and Highways


Useful Outside Links

Summary Table on Aggressive Driving Laws
State By State Analysis

Survey of the States Speeding Laws



Safe Senior Citizen Driving 


Interview Answers on Road Rage and Other Rages for Various News Sources by Dr. Leon James

More Topics on this Site

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1.     Road Rage -- What is it? Who has it? Why is it happening now? How do we avoid it?

2.     Aggressive Driving -- How does the law define it? What do people consider to be aggressive driving? How widespread is it? What are the top aggressive driving behaviors? Which cities have the highest rate of aggressive driving? How do you deal with it? Who is an aggressive driver? How do I assess myself on it? What do I do about it? Aggressiveness in relation to type of vehicle, gender, geographic area.

3.     Stress and Driving -- Why is driving stressful? Does it have health effects? How do I reduce my stress in traffic?

4.     Driving Angry -- Why do drivers get angry? What triggers anger? Is venting anger helpful? Who gets most angry? How can you reduce anger behind the wheel?

5.     Congestion and Frustration -- Is congestion ever going to improve? Which cities have the most congestion? How does it affect our quality of life? What's the best way to handle it.

6.     Music and Driving -- Why do drivers like to listen to music? Does it have an effect on their driving? Is some music more calming than others? Is some type of music too exciting for driving?

7.     Men and Women Drivers -- Do they drive differently? How do crash and fatality statistics differ for men and women? Why do women drivers have a bad reputation among men?

8.     Distracted Driving-- How big is this problem? What does it include? How does it happen? How do I assess my tendency to drive distracted?

9.     Emergency Vehicles -- How big a problem is ambulance chasing? Who is doing it and why? What's being done about it? Why don't drivers get out of the way of emergency vehicles? The EMS perspective.

10.    Rushing -- Why are we in a hurry all the time? How does rushing affect other drivers? Is it aggressive to drive in a hurry?

11.    Drunk Driving -- How does the law define it and what are the penalties? Designated drivers. Breath analyzers and BAC levels. Sobriety check points. MADD.

12.    Driving Emotionally Impaired -- When do our emotions interfere with our driving? How do we avoid it and regain control?

13.    Driving and Cell Phone Use -- How dangerous is it? Should it be illegal? Can we train ourselves to use it safely?

14.    Driving Drowsy -- Is it a big problem? How do I avoid it? What are the signs? How dangerous is it compared to drunk driving?

15.    Teen Driving -- Why is their crash rate so high? When should they get their permit? What impact does peer pressure have? How do cruising and partying in the car contribute to teen crash and fatality rates? Underage drinking. SADD. What is graduated licensing? How can parents help? Scenario analysis to build critical thinking about driving (There are always new cases to analyze from the media and the courts). What courses are available? Distance education courses.

16.    Older Drivers -- Is there an age at which one should give up driving? What are the symptoms? Is it fair to impose restrictions? How can older drivers compensate for declining physical ability?

17.    Drivers and Bicyclists -- Is there a war between them? Who is affected? What groups are involved in activism?

18.    Traffic Calming -- What is it? Why install road bumps and traffic circles when cars are just going through an area? Benefits and opposition.

19.     Ramp Meters -- Why are they needed? Are there going to be more of them? How can drivers adapt to them? What public agencies can do to reduce anxiety and frustration.

20.    Intelligent Highways and Cars -- What are they? Do they exist now? What's planned for the immediate future? Will it make a big difference?

21.     Mobile Computing -- What communications equipment are being placed in cars? How do people use them? Is there a safety problem? Are there laws about it? Should there be more required training?

22.    Rubbernecking -- How does it hinder traffic? What are traffic waves? How can you minimize them?

23.    Drivers and Passengers -- Is there a battle between them? Do passengers have rights? What is bad and good passenger behavior? What are a driver's responsibilities towards passengers?

24.    Speed Limit Enforcement --The Great Speed Limit Debate on the Web. What organized groups are there against speed limits? What is a Speedtrap Registry? How effective are they? What's their thesis?

25.    Partnership Driving -- Enlist your passengers to help you become a better driver. How to proceed. Benefits.

26.    SUVs -- How do people feel driving them? Why do people buy them? How do people in smaller cars feel around SUVs? What impact has the tire recall had?

27.    Driver Support Groups -- What are QDCs (Quality Driving Circles)? How do they work? Who should be in them? What are their benefits?

28.    Driving Around Trucks -- What is the "No Zone"? How do truckers feel about 4-wheelers? Why do people complain about large trucks? Are they dangerous to the public?

29.    Driving Informatics -- The new information field covering the many new areas in society that have become connected to cars--DMV databases, travel, communications, computing, law enforcement, insurance, consumer groups, sales, advertising, automotive medicine, traffic psychology, driver education, dashboard dining, anger management, the Web, e-mail, e-commerce, entertainment industry, road management, traffic calming, speedtrap registries, and others.

30.    Children in the Car -- Driver education begins when we ride in cars driven by adults. How to avoid teaching them to become aggressive drivers when they grow up. Helpful activities with children in cars.

31.    Safety and Driver Education -- The new curriculum for lifelong driver education K through 12. Road rage against children. Children's road rage. Critical thinking. Affective education.

32.    Aggressive Driving Initiatives by Police -- What are they? Who funds them? How do they operate? How are they trained for it? How do they combine education with enforcement?

33.    Dashboard Dining --Who eats in cars, how often? What new fast food products make it easier or safer to eat while driving? What are the concerns.

34.    Photo Radar -- Red light running--why people do it. How does photo-radar work? Automatic ticketing by mail. Benefits and concerns.

35.    Training Our Traffic Emotions -- What are traffic emotions? Why do we need to identify our irrational driving rules? How can we become emotionally intelligent drivers? What is the Threestep Program for driver self-improvement training? Critical thinking for emotional challenges--how to be prepared. What is the driver's prime directive.

36.    Traffic Stops -- How should the driver behave? What not to do. Law enforcement perspective. Public's perspective. The use of video cameras.

37.    Driver's Diary -- Keeping a log of your mistakes. Recording yourself thinking aloud. Other self-witnessing methods suitable for changing your driving personality.

38.    Traffic Violator Schools -- Who gets to take it. Typical curriculum and new aggressive driving components. Benefits and incentive programs.