Home>Dear DrDriving Letters>Part 3


I am an undergraduate psychology student from Liverpool John University carrying out a dissertation on road rage in relation to aggression.

I am interested in this topic and have found your e mail address. I would like to hear from you if you have any current research relating to driving and aggression.

Regards Marcia
Liverpool John Moores University
Liverpool, England

Hi, please check out my Web site at DrDriving.org where you'll find lots of info on road rage and aggressive driving. Let me know if you need more.

Take care and drive with Aloha spirit! **DrDriving**



Dear Dr. James,

I am a senior at the University of California, Irvine, and I am doing a research paper on aggressive driving, focusing mainly on gender differences. Could you supply me with some statistics on this subject? I need to know "who" is actually driving more aggressively--males or females??

Thank you for your attention,



Hi Ms. Donna, try this address for research on gender issues by my

students in traffic psychology

Take care and drive with Aloha spirit! **DrDriving**

One thing I have noticed and really ticks me off is that most drivers here don't seem to understand they put turn signals on cars for a reason. If I know what you're intentions are, and you show me exactly what you intend to do I can be probably the most courteous guy on the road. But when some jerk decides he/she wants to speed up, pass me, cut in front of me, just to make it to another red light anyway, in my opinion, is just plain stupidity. All I want to say is this: drive right. nuff said.


I am the traffic safety coordinator for the city of Edina Mn. I am interested in anything reference traffic safety especially traffic calming items. My pleasure to find you here.



I enjoy your web site very much! Over the weekend, I tried making animal noises instead of my usual swearing, stomping and fist shaking. It was a blast! Especially the "moo" sound! That's the best! Thanks for your cool tip. I'm sending out a memo to all the car sales people reminding them to act like animals!


Dear: to whom it may concern,

My name Roberto . I am a first year student at the University of Utah College of Law. I will be doing some research regarding a case that went to the Utah Supreme Court. What I am analyzing relates to the foreseeable consequences of Road Rage in the Salt Lake City area. Please brief the survey and if you have any information that might help my research I would greatly appreciate it. Salt Lake City, Utah, 84102


Female / Male

Age group: 16-20 20-25 26-30 31-40 41-50 51 and over

How many years have you lived in Salt Lake City? 1 year or less 2-3 years 4-7 years 7-10 years 10 years or more

If you have lived less than 3 years in Salt Lake City where did you reside before? State ___________________ City _________________

Nationality; Mexican/Mexican-American/Hispanic Asian Polynesian

Caucasian/White African American/Black other________________


You are driving on I-15 (or any freeway) in Salt Lake City, at night, and a car behind you flashes his/her high beams at you then speeds up and passes you. Upset, you flash your high beams at him then speed up past him. This occurs a few times until you are so upset that when you are along side the other vehicle you decide to give him the middle finger and then he returns the favor.

(sample of possible questions)

1. Would it cross your mind that your life might be in jeopardy? Y/N 2. Would it cross your mind that he could possibly have a gun? Y/N If yes how extraordinary do you think this is in Salt Lake City? Often / Occasionally / Rarely

3. Would it cross your mind he might point a gun at you and possibly shoot at you? Y/N If yes how extraordinary do you think this is in Salt Lake City? Often / Occasionally / Rarely

4. If you answered no to all the questions above would you answer yes to any of the questions if it were a Friday or Saturday night at midnight and the driver of the other vehicle looked a little shady? Y/N To which questions? 1 2 or 3

Feel Free to write any comments on the back of this survey


Try this analysis

Take care and drive with Aloha spirit!   **DrDriving**



Dr. James,

I am an undergrad student at Hamline University in St. Paul, Minnesota and I am doing a study with another student under the guidance of our social psyche professor on road rage. Specifically, we are studying how an aggressive personality is related with road rage. We are using the Aggression Questionnaire (Buss & Perry; 1992) and we would also like to use your Road Rage questionnaire.

We would like permission to use your questionnaire and also were wondering if it has been validated in any other studies. If you approve of our use of your questionnaire, could you please send me a copy of the complete questionnaire?

We are really excited to do this study. It is a fascinating subject and I have really enjoyed reading your web-site. Keep up the great work!!

Sincerely, Allison


one thing that I have not noticed in any of your sites yet, and I have not checked all of them out mind you, is that sometimes whatever kind music one may be listening to when he/she gets themselves into a hairy driving situation can have a big effect on how they are going to react to it. I grew up during the 70's, learned to drive during that era, and of course, relate certain songs with driving along the freeways with excessive speed coupled with engaging in activities that one normally would not had they been driving with the stereo turned off. I grew up around the San Diego area and it was common practice that when a song such as "Radar Love" or "Ride like the wind" came on and I was out on I-5, or I-15 esp, coming back from Vegas, to hit that gas and pretend you were the guy singing about doing what the lyrics depicted.

It may sound funny but when I got into situations like that and somebody did something to slow my progress they were also impeding my rhythm of going down the road at the same speed of the music therefore, making me doubly angry. sometimes causing me to do risky moves just so I could get back to flying down the road before the song was over. I'm older now, still listen to great classic rock music when driving but have learned to not let that ego trip some of us get from a cut on the radio station to put me into a potentially deadly situation. My advise is, when you hear a tune that may have an effect upon your judgment behind the wheel, turn it off or change the station. Otherwise you may never get to hear that great tune again.

Bill: thanks for your note about the effect some type of music can have on young people. I posted it on Dear DrDriving so others can get your warning. My students in traffic psychology are looking into this subject.

Take care and drive with Aloha spirit! **DrDriving**



I am doing a research paper for my Anger and Conflict Management class, and I have not been able to find the origin of the term "road rage". Do you know who coined the term or when.

I would appreciate your thoughts on this.

I enjoyed reading the information that you have provided on this deadly issue.

Thank you,

Rick J

Mr. J, thanks for your kind words! As to the origin of road rage--good question. I'm surprised I don't know the answer--as I'm supposed to be an expert on this subject!! Someone asked me if I knew the origin of giving the finger among drivers--I didn't!

In case you don't already know, one possible lead might be the Oxford English Dictionary--New Words Supplement for 1997, which (I heard on the news) has road rage as a new expression entering the English language for the first time. I suppose they might tell you about its origins. Please let me know if you find out. I've posted your question on Dear DrDriving and perhaps someone might see it who knows the answer.

Take care and drive with Aloha spirit! **DrDriving**



I applaud what you do! It's about time someone started speaking up on these issues. Namely: your approach to the bad driving examples in movies and on television.

What do the creators of these medias think the young people learn when they observe this? GOOD driving? I don't think so. I don't understand how so many so-called "intelligent" people running this country, and communities, haven't realized that part of the reason our children behave so badly, i.e. youthful crime, gangs, youthful rudeness in every arena, and lack of guidance...is that "WE ARE TEACHING THEM THESE BEHAVIORS WHEN WE DON'T CENSOR OUR OWN BEHAVIOR". It gets one big: "DUH" from me.

I fear the days when I am a senior citizen in this society, but maybe with some of the productive work you do, things will be better by then. Good luck!

Thank you! Carol


Hi there from Wellington, New Zealand! I have read about your research in Time and am very impressed by your Internet testimony. I am a Senior Lecturer at the School of Medicine, University of Otago, specialising in health promotion. I would like to do research in your area of Road Rage and would appreciate any helpful suggestions - literature reviews, surveys, specific needs, etc. Thanks,

Jiri R Senior Lecturer, Department of Public Health WSM, Wellington, New Zealand


Hi Jiri! Thanks for writing and indicating your interest in doing research in road rage and aggressive driving. What a wonderful idea for public health! In 1987 I wrote an article in the Hawaii Mental Health Newsletter warning the profession that road rage violence is going to reach epidemic proportions if we don't retrain drivers. I found this out by my research which I call "the self-witnessing method" and which consists in having people talk their thoughts out loud in a tape recorder as they are engaged in doing things--in this case it was behind the wheel in traffic.

So I was able to see that all drivers have an emotional problem in handling highway exchanges, and that they need to be trained in emotional intelligence. Please visit my DrDriving Web site where you'll find this and other articles by me, as well as much more. Then let me know how I can help you start some research on some subject you're particularly interested in.

Take care and drive with Aloha spirit!


Dr. James,

Thank you giving us permission to use your questionnaire. We will of course site you and your website in our study. Take care and enjoy the sunshine and warm weather - we have about a foot of snow! 



In regards to the email about driving and music. Well, I'm going to have to agree on some of Bill's points. I mean whenever I hop into my car and pop in a tape, I think the speed racer in me comes out. It doesn't really help that the type of music that I listen to seems to be getting faster and faster. And when I get stuck in traffic.....oh, boy that's another story!!! Well, I've been rather lucky in the past month or so in that I my car's been at the mechanic's. Perhaps when I sell my car and get a motorcycle I will be a better "driver" in that I won't have any ridiculously fast and heart pounding music to listen to. I think if I strapped on some headphones, played some of my tapes and went jogging, I would get in shape really fast.....hmmmm, food for thought....


On Wed, 28 Jan 1998, Leon James wrote:

> Hi E., let me know if you run across this answer...

Mr. J, thanks for your kind words! As to the origin of road  rage--good question. I'm surprised I don't know the answer--as I'm  supposed to be an expert on this subject!! Someone asked me if I knew the  origin of giving the finger among drivers--I didn't! In case you don't  already know, one possible lead might be the Oxford English  Dictionary--New Words Supplement for 1997, which (I heard on the news) has  road rage as a new expression entering the English language for the first  time. I suppose they might tell you about its origins. Please let me  know if you find out. I've posted your question on Dear DrDriving and  perhaps someone might see it who knows the answer. DrDriving

Happy Groundhog Day, DrDriving. I did a quick check of several databases; earliest references to road rage are given.

ABI/Inform: July 11, 1996 from the journal _Marketing_

UnCover: Oct. 1996 from _Police Journal_

Newspaper Abstracts: Jan. 18, 1997 from _Chicago Tribune_

Expanded Academic Index: June 2, 1997 from _U.S. News & World Report_

UH Lib. does not have the Oxford New Words Suppl. for 1997 (but I've recommended that we buy it.)

Let me know if you find anything else.


What bothers me about other drivers is their tailgating, their driving over the speed limit in school zones when children are present, their total disregard for the words speed limit, and this world being so bent on going fast, fast, fast!




> Please inform me when your book can be ordered. Thank you.


Thanks for asking Ms. M. The book is now available


Hello, My name is Kelley and I am a student at St Cloud State in Minnesota. I am working on a research proposal focusing on road rage and what causes people to get so upset over such trivial occurrences. This is for a criminal justice class. I am interested in any guidance or references you could provide regarding research that has been conducted on difference theories of explanation for road rage. Any response you could give would be appreciated. :)


Hi ... I'm a writer with parenting magazine. I've gleaned some quotes from Dr. James and this site that I'd like to use in my article, which will also direct readers to your Web site. I'd like to verify these quotes with Dr. James directly.


Thanks, Dr. James, for your reply. Before this article goes to press (a month or more from now), a fact-checker will call to double-check your quotes. She'll know in what issue the article will appear and can send you a copy if you give her your address.

All the best, Jessica








I am to complete a research paper for my high school English class, and I have chosen the timely topic of "Road Rage." I am considering four areas of focus, 3 of which are needed in my final paper:

* Causes * Effects * Types of violence (probably to be used in intro) * Treatment/Solutions

I would appreciate any and all help you could give me in finding more information on these areas of focus (your Web site is so large and full of excellent information that it is somewhat difficult to find some of this information, for research purposes!) :)

Thank you in advance for your time and quick consideration (the paper is due in 3 weeks; my research is to be done w/i a couple of days)!

Sincerely, Adam


Mr. G, the following article and topical index contain materials for
what you specified you're writing about:  here and  here.



Dear Sir/Madam,

I am currently a Product Design degree student at the University of Central Lancashire, England. My current project involves generating a product solution to combat driver fatigue and the consequent accidents that occur because of it. At this stage of the project, I am researching the causes of driver fatigue and the possible methods of detecting fatigue applicable to a passive cabin device/product. As there are few if any existing products of this nature on the market, I have found difficulty in establishing a foundation on which to base the project.

I would be grateful for any feedback regarding your own views and opinions on the matter of driver fatigue, and any further suggestions you may have on the problem of combating driver fatigue. Thanking You in Anticipation, Jamie


Thanks for writing Ms. Jamie! What an intriguing topic--though as a behaviorist psychologist I don't quite know how to think in your field about reducing fatigue. Maybe I need to hear from you how you got into this topic, what you thought it might have to do with detecting fatigue, and what's behind this approach so far. Then I'm sure I'll be able to say more.

Last night I was watching news and there was a small part on driving and road rage. A bunch of concerned citizen got together and talked about the how people nowadays are not driving with aloha. This means saying thank you to others on the road and not cutting people off. They said people in the past were more curious but now with more cars on the road, people are just darn rude! Now the government are trying to promote Driving with Aloha by airing commercials to remind people of their aloha spirit. What do you think of it??


Dr. Leon~

Hi. I was wondering if there was going to be a new law that says kids can not get their licenses until the age of 18. Is this true? Thanks Erin


Hi Erin--there are legislative proposals for graduated licensing, meaning that those who are between 16 and 18 (I believe) can drive but under various restrictions which vary from state to state (e.g., first 500 miles with adult; no driving after 10 pm; 0 BAC tolerance; etc.).

Take care and drive with Aloha spirit! **DrDriving**



Please send me any info you have on your book ASAP. As I mentioned in my Guest Book reply I teach driver awareness and Defensive Driving (both AAA and DDC) to fleet drivers, but I also teach five DDC8 classes each month at a local college for first time offenders. Each class averages over 30 students. This is a part time job as my full time vocation is Fleet Manager with the City of Greenville, SC. Part of the duties of this position keeps me involved in driver training and driver safety. I have been interested in road rage for some time and have read AAA's reports. I have scanned your report with interest and am now in the process of copying it. Please suggest anything along this line or other driver related topics that I can pass along to my students. Thanks!


Hello, My name is Amy G and I am a high school newspaper advisor in George, Iowa. We will be focusing on Random Acts of Kindness Week (Feb. 9-15) in our next issue. We would like permission to publish some of your material and cartoons. You will of course get the credit and byline and your web page will be listed under your name.

Conari Press has already given us permission to quote material from their books.

Please consider my request. Thank you for your time.

Mrs. Amy G
Newspaper Advisor


Thanks for writing. I hereby give you permission for the request below. I would appreciate a copy.




This is exactly true. Pets do create a hazard for the driver because it can interfere with the driver's arm movements, vision, and concentration. We should invent a law that all pets ride in the rear seat or put them in a restraint.


Dr. James,

I think that making animal noises is a great idea to cool yourself down, instead of cussing and doing things that you don't want. It would take some time for people to adjust to this new method, but I think it's worth it. I can say, even as a passenger you can do something about it. You as a passenger can also calm the driver down. I tried it once when my brother was cut off on the road. He was cussing and speeding up, so I just started barking. And boy, do I look like an idiot to my brother but then he started laughing and he forgot that he was angry.


Hi, I am a freshman at Capital High School. My name is Andrea. I am currently doing a report on Road Rage, for my social studies psychology unit. The information that I've gotten off of your internet page has been very helpful. I don't know if you'd know the answer to this question but, do you know where I could find some actual number statistics on road rage? If you happen to know, could you e-mail me the answer. Please. Thank you for taking time to read my letter.
Actual stats on road rage: see the AAA Foundations studies available in summary form in this file

Take care and drive with Aloha spirit! **DrDriving**
Your web site looks interesting. I own a small company that contracts with companies for driver awareness/defensive driving training. Keep up the good work.  Thanks for writing! Feel free to use whatever materials help you out in your training program against aggressive drivers. I'm particularly interested to know if you try the QDC idea (Quality Driving Circles) with some of your drivers.

Take care and drive with Aloha spirit! **DrDriving**

Dear Leon

I spoke to Donne in your media relations department today. She suggested I e mail you directly. My name is Martin Pearson and I am producing an hour documentary for The Learning Channel called The Secret History of ... Cars. Amongst other things we are tackling the issue of Road Rage, as well as exploring the complex issue of our psychological relationship with our automobiles. I understand from talking to Donne and looking at your web page, that both of these subjects are very much within your area of expertise. I would welcome the opportunity to talk on the phone about both these issues, and perhaps at a later date to interview you on camera.

I do have one specific question at this time, that you may be able to help me with. I am wondering whether you, or anyone else for that matter, has done any research on behavior changes related to driving, using cameras hidden in the drivers' cabs? Does any videotape exist, to your knowledge, which shows drivers changing emotions in high stress driving situations?

Martin .


Professor James,

I am doing a term paper on 'Road Rage' for my Soc101 class. Your website is extremely helpful and I just wanted to thank you for your work. One of the reasons I chose this topic for my term paper is because I realized I have this problem. It's a very serious issue and I hope that it comes to be more recognized. I would venture to say this is the worst of all the driving issues.

I had been involved in a very serious accident where I attribute fault to the other driver involved. Since this accident, at times driving has become horrifying to me, to the point that I won't drive in weather conditions similar to when I was in the accident, I won't drive white or red cars and I won't ride in a car with someone I think is a horrible driver (many people). I also have had for many years (prior to and after this accident) nightmares involving dying in a car. It's my biggest fear and I believe this is why I get so upset at people when I am driving. Since I have recognized that this is a major problem for me things have gotten better. Again, thank you for all the hard work on the issue. I wish everyone could take a look at the site...maybe the highways wouldn't seem like an obstacle course anymore!


Hi Bill, I love your page--real neat and useful.  I put a link to your Test Frame questions on DrDriving's main entry page.  Have you seen my new teaching module?

Take care and drive with Aloha spirit!   **DrDriving**


Dear Dr, I am a traffic policeman from Australia and am currently attempting to obtain a grant to study road rage which is getting a bit of TV coverage at the moment. I wish to study the cause, effects and give some answers on how we can stop road rage. I am especially interested in any data or research from the U.K as I am traveling to Europe this year and am attempting to fit some study there. I look forward to your reply and enjoy reading your web page.




Hi Leon,

Great to hear from you. Thanks for the encouraging comments. Thanks also for the links. I have to say that I find your site very interesting and thought provoking. I re-visit it often for inspiration !


Dear Dr. James (DrDriving):

 I work with the Greater Dallas Injury Prevention Center. We coordinate a coalition of traffic experts, police, nurses, etc. that plan a one week traffic safety public awareness campaign. I recently came upon the wonderful information on your web site and thought about how we might involve you in our efforts. Do you travel to cities to share your message? I noticed you have a new book coming out...do you promote the book in any way? The media work team designing the PR element of the campaign is interested in knowing your interest and availability in coming to Dallas for a few days during the week of May 4th. We are in very preliminary discussions and have limited resources...but Dallas really needs to hear your message...we're a mess here! Please let me know what you think.

Greater Dallas Injury Prevention Center Don't Wreck Your Week Campaign


Dear DrDriving:

I was surfing the web awhile back and came across your Random acts of kindness page.

I appreciated this and have added this site to my Kindness search engine  These are always timely, and hope that you continue with on this.

Many areas around the world are hosting Random acts of Kindness events during this special "Valentines week", and I would encourage you to put in a plug for this Kindness search engine someplace on your site, it would be greatly appreciated as well! This is a totally volunteered project, and does not earn any revenues what-so-ever!

Thank you for your consideration ... Dale, Canada


Dear sir or madam, Greetings. My name is Virginia, and I am doing an oratorical speech on road rage for my high school's forensics team. I was going through your site, and wished to view more on your theory that Princess Diana's death was linked to road rage. However, the links to the messages weren't found on my server. I would love to put this theory in my speech - however, I need to see the messages. If you could tell me how to manually locate them, I would be most grateful. Thank you for your time.

Sincerely, Virginia


Is there any way that you can help me locate information on laws being considered on lowering the driving age? I'm a senior in high school and am working on a research paper involving the subject of teens driving. Anything statistical will do, but I was specifically looking for legislation!

Thanks Beth


Dear Sir:

Road Rage is very much a Public Administration problem from the point of view of State governments' and their agencies.

For example in formulating my plan to combat the aggressive driver I would suggest that the Department of Motor Vehicles change the current point system levied against violators of Vehicle and Traffic laws. Increase the number of points that goes on a persons driving record when they violate certain offenses which we believe to be traits of the aggressive driver.

Ex. Tailgating and flashing your highbeams simultaneously, weaving in and out of traffic or my favorite the guy who drives on the shoulder when traffic is at a standstill. The Justice system and the state's law making body would have to get involved to change the way we prosecute thesis cases, set mandatory fines and take away driving privileges for a period of time. If you have any other suggestions or if you could suggest what type of statistics I should be collecting before our state changes its current law , would be much appreciated.




Hi Mr. J, Your explanation makes sense, thank you. I'm aware that legislators are struggling with the attempt to make more laws that specifically would allow prosecution of drivers who are observed by law enforcement officers to engage in the specified behaviors--such as those you mention: weaving, tailgating, driving on the shoulder, and so on. While I believe that the overall driving problem is a cultural norm and needs a cultural solution, I also agree that law enforcement and legislation efforts have their role to play, and this is what interests you.

Given my perspective as a social psychologist I would like to see statistical data on the following types of variables: -- What are baseline occurrences for these driver behaviors? -- How do they vary across demographics, time, area, and attitudes -- Regarding attitudes: what are people's justifications for behaving aggressively -- What are the drivers' mutual perceptions of each other, and, how do they rank other drivers on these aggressive behaviors -- What is the accuracy or error rate in observing other drivers' behaviors as aggressive: by police in a moving car; by police in a stationary location; by surveillance equipment; by fellow drivers; by observers standing at the location; etc. -- What are the attitudes towards increased law enforcement activities including surveillance; how do people interpret what these actually consist of; how do people relate to the consequences for their community; their safety; their security; their privacy.

Well I hope some of these suggestions might be helpful. I'd be interested in hearing about your progress! Thanks.

Leon James


Dear dr driving,

i just wanted to thank you for your web site. With your insite and some other reference materials, i am putting together a safety meeting for our road and shuttle drivers on this topic and the laws that are in place now concerning this matter. I found a lot of humor in your presentations and good ideas. Thanks again. Do you cover the area of trucking transportation? This has been my area of mgnt for 18 years now and i play a very active role in our safety council and safety program. We have exceeded our goals in safety in 1997, the first time ever. I want this trend to keep on improving and exceeding. Sincerely


Hi Ms.A, thanks for your kind words. I have an interview online you might be interested in, the one I gave for SuperDriver Audio Magazine intended for truck drivers.  You can reach it here.

Let me hear from you about how y our project is going, and especially, I'd appreciate it if you could email me what you produce in terms of handouts, if possible! It would be useful for sure. Thanks in advance.

Leon James


I am a 4/5 teacher in Portland schools whose TAG students want to do a community service project concerning road rage. I would appreciate information concerning CARR--is it organized, where to write or e-mail, could our project become a part of it, etc.



Mr. Vogel,

what a nice idea indeed! At the moment we are working on developing YARR (Youth Against Road Rage).  I'm sending a copy of this to Dr. Richard Kirby, Founding Director of YARR who may wish to write to you as well. I would be interested in seeing the selections you think are relevant. I created a CARR Page summarizing all the links that will take you to what's available now on DrDriving regarding children and driving.

I am a college student (44 yrs old), major in Industrial Engr., planning to organize a training program for young adults; given 4 lectures on rr in 6 mos...


Dear DrDriving,

I discovered your website after reading a brief article in our local paper and I have read your overview. I just wanted to touch on one point. While I agree with several of your observations about bad driving being a learned activity, and your suggestion for early and continuing education, I was very disappointed at fact that I saw absolutely no reference to the law. ]

My experiences on the road show a total and complete disregard for the laws. People treat driving as a right, it is a privilege, and that privilege should be taken away if the laws are not followed. We have the technology to observe and ticket people for offences without every other car being a police car. If the offender does not comply with the ticket, their tabs can be revoked. People need to take personal responsibility for following the rules of the society in which they choose to live. Maybe on a day when I have more time I will tell you my story of how I went from a typical driver to one who obeys each and every law to the best of my ability. And I did it without counting, thinking happy thoughts, or doing random acts of kindness. I simply decided to obey the laws and you would not believe the difference it has made for me.

Thanks for your time.

Margaret Minneapolis, MN


Hi Margaret, thanks for your thoughts. I agree with you! Respect for authority or obeying the law is sadly lacking. You did it--good!! But many others can't--and is it fair to punish them? There are millions!! I think the answer is training.

Leon James

I know I should just let this go and get on with life, but when you said in your response to me that many others can't--and is it fair to punish them? There are millions!! I almost fell off my chair. First of all, I believe you are confusing the word can't with the word won't. If tomorrow we as a society decided to make tobacco illegal, we would be in a situation that might warrant your statement. Millions of people are addicted to a substance that up until that time was legal. As it stands, every person on the road was taught (probably inadequately) the rules...laws. Most have chosen not to follow them, many have gotten into bad habits, and our legal system has failed to properly enforce the laws. But none of that changes the fact that the laws have always existed, and people are quite capable of changing their behavior.

Is it fair to punish them? Yes, that is how our society works. We make laws for the good of the entire society, and if you choose not to follow those laws, you are punished. The form, or severity of the punishment depends on the crime, the intent and the risk to others.

There are millions of them...exactly why it upsets me so. Although it is very difficult to make people understand this, choosing to follow the rules makes for a much less stressful experience in the car. There are times when my way of driving angers others to the point where they do something that puts lives in jeopardy, but those moments of fear are still fewer than the tension I used to feel when I drove like everyone else. In our state this year, they voted to increase the speed limit to 70 mph on the interstate and from 55 to 60 on the metro hwy. The reason...because everyone is already speeding, so lets make it legal. As you can imagine, I was very much against this move, and now people are driving 75 to 80 on the interstate, and still tailgating as if if something happened to the car in front of them, or 4 cars in front of them, they would actually be able to react fast enough at 75 mph to avoid an accident.

What bothers me most, I think, is how many of the cars breaking the laws and putting people in danger have little kids in the car. They are just not thinking. Education, as I stated in my first note to you is important, I am all for it, but it does not take the place of simple responsibility. Bad driving is not a disease, people have the choice.

Thanks Margaret, Minneapolis MN



My name is Jim. I am on the Safety Focal Team at Boeing Renton. Renton is a town at the south end of Lake Washington. Seattle is on the west, Bellevue and Kirkland are on the east. and Bothell and Lake Forest Park are on the north of the lake.

We discussed road rage in our last Safety Focal Meeting and I am interested in pointing my safety page at your website. I would not do that without your blessing.

My website is on the Boeing intranet behind extreme security firewall. We can communicate out, but outsiders are stopped by whatever can be seen from www.boeing.com.  Sorry, but my website cannot be seen through that site.

Thank you, James H. J


Yes, Mr. J,

 go ahead and link to DrDriving. Thanks!

Leon James

Hi. I'm a sophomore in HS and I have decided to do a research paper on Road Rage in Chicago. And I was wondering if you have any information pertaining to Road Rage in Chicago. And maybe if you could give your opinion on the topic (I have to get an interview also)

Thank You


I have not yet completely read your report, so you may have addressed what I am about to say. If that is the case, just call me a twit and throw my letter in the trash.

I am one of those that is very short tempered on the road. I am all for cutting drivers some slack, but to what extent? Here in Idaho, it is ridiculous. On the commute to work I drive about 5 miles of rural 55mph road. At the times I drive (6 am and 6 pm) there is little traffic. People insist on only driving at 45mph. Yes that irritates me greatly.

My feeling is that if you can not obey the "rules of the road", take the bus. Like I said, I can forgive mistakes, heck I make them too, but a daily, blatant disregard for others desire to arrive at their destination in the same calendar year really frosts me.




hi, please share any information concerning career opportunities in traffic psychology. Do you see it becoming a counseling/treatment niche? thanx...from a prospective psych grad student. Hi Stephanol! You asked about career info on traffic psychology. To my knowledge there is no such program in the US, though there may be one in Europe (type in "traffic psychology" on a Web search engine). They do have joint programs for transportation engineering and some other master's including psychology, public administration, etc. This is a Ph.D. modified from engineering to suit non-engineering people--a sort of expansion of the knowledge base for their field.

In terms of your suggestion for clinical psychology or counseling in relation to driving problems: excellent suggestion. Thus, if you are a clinical student in psychology at Hawaii (or elsewhere) you could convince your supervisors to let you specialize in driving problems or traffic psychology or "driving therapy" (type the last two words into a search engine...you'll find some).


Hi, Doc!

I live in Sao Paulo, Brazil, one of the biggest cities in the world and one of the worse (maybe the worst) traffics. Well, as you can imagine, we need to deal with a lot of road (and street) rage here. As long as I know, we don't have any figures about this phenomenon, just about how many people died in our traffic. In 1996, 26.903 people died in our traffic (9,03 per 10.000 vehicles).

A new and harder "set" of traffic laws have just been released, and it seems it's working to make our roads less dangerous. But we have a lot of other factors that make road rage a problem that is far from disappearing: bad streets and roads, little and bad public transportation in the bigger cities (Rio and Sao Paulo), an "happy, uncompromised" attitude, corruption, thousands of new cars in the streets, and little, very little, respect to each other. I myself acknowledged feelings of road rage, and all the feelings of pride, "they're wrong", "they must be punished" are familiar for me. That happened to me today, again, and a coincidence brought me some news about road rage. I search this subject on the Internet and found your articles.

Well, thanks a lot to help me understand and control these feelings, that, I know, are dangerous for everybody, not just me. If you want more data about Brazil's traffic, feel free to ask me and I'll try to get. Thanks, again, and "aloha"!

Sao Paulo - Brazil

Thank you Mr. J. I posted your letter on Dear DrDriving. I'm sure many of us would like to see more statistics if you have them. I will post them on the Facts page of DrDriving. thanks for your generous offer!
Dear Dr. James:

I am a doctoral student in Psychology at Carleton University. As part of my dissertation, I am examining the issue of driving anger. In a recent Time Magazine article on road rage, reference was made to a survey by a Michigan firm called EPIC-MRA. They found that 80% of drivers are angry most or all of the time while driving. Do you have an e-mail address for this firm so that I may be able to obtain a copy of this report.

Thank you

Dear Sir

I am working on a high school research project through which I hope to show that speeding - or an attempt to do so for fairly short distances - as in to and from school - does little toward in improving the amount of time it would take versus going the proper speed limit. The purpose of this is to demonstrate that, while most accidents happen close to home, most are preventable and are for really ridiculous reasons. Going five miles an hour over the speed limit really makes very little difference in how much sooner I get to school - but a great deal of difference in developing the wrong attitude toward driving and aggressive "Road Rage." I am interested in any information you might have relating to this concept.

Thanking you for any assistance you might be able to provide - or direction you might give in my search for information - would be greatly appreciated.


Hi Harry! I

 don't know of the studies you asked about regarding proof that you don't get faster if you rush in traffic. I myself have determined this and believe to be so.  I wrote about here
Go there and then give the Search Page command and type in "minutes" -- you'll get to the passage I'm thinking of.


Hello in Hawaii...

Leon, thanks for your quick and informative reply. I have read most of your Internet info + am VERY impressed! As I mentioned to you, I am planning to do research in the area of Road Rage. When I discussed that with the Head of the Department he was not very impressed - no need to elaborate.

I had an idea and thought I'd bounce it off you. Last year I was managing a huge research project dealing with evidence-based health promotion. As part of the project a colleague and I wrote a document on the social costs of road traffic crashes, having prevention of death, injury and disability as the main focus. If I e-mailed you the document would you be interested in looking at it? If you would like to tidy it up with me I'd LOVE to have you as co-author.... I thought this way I may inch my way slowly to road rage.

Please let me know how you feel about it. Thanks for your time...

BTW, I am originally from Prague, Czechoslovakia and my first marriage ceremony took place in Honolulu - I love Hawaii and was there last a few months ago.

All the best, Jiri


Hello- thanks for putting together the road rage web page- it's very interesting and informative.

May I submit a couple of suggestions for it?

1) In the list of things people can do to counteract road rage you did not list the remedy I have found most useful for myself: to reduce or eliminate your driving, at least for a while. Take a rest. I have learned to let other, less impulsive people drive when I must travel the urban freeways where road rage is worst, and I have taken up walking as many places as possible, which is better in many ways. It reduces your own opportunities to act aggressively, it helps in a tiny way to relieve congestion on the roads, and it gives you much healthier exercise.

2) I suggest eliminating the animated email icon, which is very distracting and makes it hard to focus on reading the very worthwhile text of the document.

Thanks again for your good efforts,


I am doing a classroom speech on road-rage. Would love some info but unable to access any from my internet link. Could you send some a.s.a.p. Prefer info on * causes, anger control, what to do to protect yourself from road rage. Hi, the info you want can be seen at this
  However since you have trouble getting there and since you need it ASAP, here it is below. Be sure to credit DrDriving and the Page address. Thanks. Take care and drive with Aloha spirit! **DrDriving**


Dr. James: I'm a columnist for the Columbus Dispatch, the daily newspaper in Columbus, Ohio. I'd like to interview you about your work in traffic psychology. Is Monday, Feb. 23 a possibility? Would take abou;20 minutes. Thanks.


Dear Doc: I'd love to have you as a guest on our Saturday morning "Drive Time" radio program re: road rage. Please contact me via email. The show airs live 8-9 a.m. CST.

Thanks Paul


I enjoyed visiting your site. Road rage a complex problem with no simple solution, but your analysis of the incident between the two women provided some good guidelines on what one could do to avoid things going to far. Any plans for a short, clear listing of do's and don't when faced with an aggressive driver?


Dear DrDriving,

What is the official definition of Road Rage? I am writing a research paper on the topic. I would appreciate it.

Thanks, Joey


Hi Mr. J, the answer can be found here.  

This is my Congressional Testimony. Be sure to mention me as the author and the address of the document.

Now to help you out, here are some paragraphs I copied from that document which I thought would answer your question:

Road rage is a habit acquired in childhood. Children are reared in a car culture that condones irate expressions as part of the normal wear and tear of driving. Once they enter a car, children notice that all of a sudden the rules have changed: It's O.K. 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.

Road rage is ubiquitous in America today. Evidently the average commute in our cities, towns villages and on our highways across the country is filled with anxiety, stress, antagonism, discontent, and fear that encourages such incidents. Most of the victims recognize a dramatic increase in road rage.

But if the two drivers amplify and re-cycle their combative emotions, their verbal rage can transform itself into epic proportions. The further the cycle of hostility turns, the more intense it becomes, and the individuals are less inclined to back down. This is because the intensity of road rage is determined by rationalizations and justifications, and the more "rounds" the antagonists go with each other, the more reasons they will find for continuing and escalating the feud.

Our analysis of other road rage incidents reported in the media confirms that this sequence of events is typical, clearly reflecting the choice points drivers have. These steps show that road rage is an inability to let go of a desire to punish and retaliate the other driver. Drivers need emotional intelligence training to gain this ability. Our research has uncovered different types of road rage which we were able to classify in three broad types.

There's growing official alarm about road rage. The US government has named "aggressive drivers" as one of the most serious transportation challenges facing State legislatures today. Ricardo Martinez, federal administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), has declared that road rage is now the Number One traffic problem. The New York Times reported a poll in Washington, D.C., showing that 42% of the residents rate aggressive drivers as the biggest threat on the road, followed by drunk drivers (35%). The problem is so serious that insurance companies are devising ways to deny insurance to aggressive drivers and cut rates for peaceful drivers.

Road rage is becoming a major problem for motorists and especially high mileage company car drivers. 78% of company car drivers said that at some time another driver had verbally abused them, while 21% said that another driver had forced them to pull over or off the road. However, although most cases of road rage did not lead to physical injury - only 3% suffered from physical violence -- 10% suffered damage to their car from road ragers.

Many people believe in the trigger-theory of anger which sees road ragers as maladjusted individuals who need therapy to help them manage their intense anti-social emotions. For this reason, anger management therapies and stress control programs have been around for decades for those who can afford psychotherapy. However, in my view applying this psychotherapeutic approach to drivers in general will have limited success because road rage is a generic, cultural problem and not an individual mental problem. In my view, the problem is not so much the presence of anger itself, but uninhibited aggressiveness. Our cultural norms permit the expression of hostility among drivers. This became clear to me when I analyzed the self-witnessing reports of many drivers. They felt justified in their road rage. They were proud of their aggressiveness. There was no consciousness of unfairness or wrong doing.

Leon James



Dear DrDriving,

My name is Seth , I am a freelance journalist based out of Boston, MA. I also produce a new 'zine called "The Heghehog" which is distributed around the Boston area. Our next issue focuses growing problems associated with traffic. I feel we would be remiss to ignore road rage. I was hoping you might be able to provide answers to several quotations I have about road rage. Any help you are able to provide is much appreciated.


1) In you view, is road rage a by product of overcrowding on our roads? I have read that the number of drivers has increased by 10% while the amount of new roadway has increased by only 1%.

2) Has road rage always been with us? Have we just started to notice it?

3) While, as you point out in your site, the key to reducing road rage is largely a matter of altering personal driving habits and changing the response to overly aggressive drivers. However, could so- called 'Traffic-calming' techniques have a more immediate effect? If not, why? If yes, could you explain some of these techniques.

4) Finally, is this an issue that North Americans take seriously? Are we prepared to deal with this problem, or will it continue to be ignored?

Again, thank you very much for any answers you might be able to provide.



Thank you very much. The material you send me was very helpful. It contained most of the information/answers I was looking for. My only remaining question would be; is road rage a rising phenomenon, and if so is due to increased traffic density? I have heard it said that road rage has always been a problem, but with more and more drivers on the road it is becoming ever more apparent. However, I cannot help but wonder if the worsening traffic in most metro area is not inducing road rage in individuals who might otherwise be uncompetitive drivers.

I know that this seems to be the case in St.. Paul/Minneapolis, Minn. (my home town). Already this year there have been a number of serious case cases of road rage leading to violence (intentional ramming of other cars, etc.) and this is in a region know for nice, polite people. Growing up in St. Paul I rarely heard a horn honked in anger and the road were comparatively empty (my mother once said you could fire a cannon ball down a major street at 8 pm and not hit anyone). Now when I go back to visit I notice that traffic is getting worse and worse and people honk all the time. Is this an isolated phenomenon, or is it representative of a national trend? Of course, in Boston road rage is a permanent condition for most people, and I think it has been since the industrial revolution (this city WAS NOT built for cars).

Finally, how did you become interested in the study road rage, and how did you earn the moniker 'DrDriving?

Thank you very much for all your help. I assure you, I will credit you for any and all quotes or ideas that are taken from the material you send/sent me.


From: Leon James, DrDriving

Hi Mr. Seth, nice hearing from you again! I will answer the three additional questions you formulated for me:

1)" I cannot help but wonder if the worsening traffic in most metro area is not inducing road rage in individuals who might otherwise be uncompetitive drivers."

I think this is indeed a correct hypothesis. As a social psychologist I'm trained to see personality traits as a distribution within a population; in other words, some people show the trait in the extremes, both low and high ends, and most others (the so-called "typical") around the middle. You may recognize the bell shaped curve. So it is with expressions of hostility and anger. In addition, I think of the threshold effect which refers to your point: namely, that given more intense and more frequent stress situations due to congestion, more drivers are going to reach their threshold level of expressing anger. So I conclude from these considerations that congestion is a contributing factor to aggressive driving and road rage.

Implication: We need additional training as drivers to acquire emotional control skills to counteract the increased challenge we experience in heavy commutes. As DrDriving I recommend lifelong driver's education starting from K through 12 in schools, and then continuing on a community basis through Quality Driving Circles (QDCs), through YARR (Youth Against Road Rage), and CARR (Children Against Road Rage). These initiatives and activities are described in detail on DrDriving's Web Site at DrDriving.org

In the meantime what can we do right now? I recommend two things: a) use the self-witnessing technique to get to know yourself better as a driver.

This means paying attention to your thoughts and feelings behind the wheel: what they are, what ticks them off, etc. Making this a regular part of your driving will allow you to retrain your "automatic self" habit by habit in a conscious way. Concentrate on little things like: how often you denigrate other drivers in your mind; what fantasies you have like I wish he...; and the sentences you say in your mind like cussing, insulting, catastrophizing, accusing, judging, ridiculing--and their converse: feeling insulted, accused, ridiculed, threatened. Long term self-witnessing behind the wheel is the only way you can obtain this information on yourself as a driver. Without this information we are condemned to road stress, highway madness, emotional hostility, negative moods, anger, lowering of immune system, and increasing our risk for crashes, violence, financial ruin, and death.

b) engage in partnership driving. Make an agreement with your passenger before you enter the car. It's best to do it in writing. You as driver agree to allow the passenger for the duration of this trip, to tell you how he or she feels about your driving, and how he or she wishes you to drive. Without cussing or getting mad, you as driver will then honestly strive to meet the passenger's criteria for what is a comfortable and safe driving style. The test of your success will be the passenger's assessment, not your own. You will then thank the passenger at the end of the ride. You can repeat this procedure for as many rides as you like.

I have used this technique for years with my wife Diane as passenger. It has greatly improved my driving and my marriage!

2)" I notice that traffic is getting worse and worse and people honk all the time. Is this an isolated phenomenon, or is it representative of a national trend?"

I believe it is national and world wide. You will notice this right away from the postings of drivers on electronic bulletin boards around the world: Boston, Chicago, LA, Singapore, UK, Australia, New Zeland, Hawaii, India. Drivers around the world are complaining about similar things: aggressiveness, hostility, violence, unhelpfulness, lack of alertness, uncaring drivers, left lane bandits, tailgaters, older drivers, taxicabs, buses, trucks, gridiron, etc. On Turkish highways you'll see this sign (I was told): Tame Your Dragon Inside.

In my view it is not only a national trend but a generational necessity. As kids we watch our parents behind the wheel completely loosing it, and as adolescents we watch TV commercials and movies portraying drivers behaving badly--and our society says to us: enjoy this, it's fun, but don't do it yourself. This is like saying, the jury will disregard that statement. Try to disregard it, most people can't. So we model drivers behaving badly and we enjoy it. Observe how people tell each other driving stories: they usually seem proud of their bad behavior. They love it. As DrDriving I appear on radio talk shows around the country. People don't like it when I tell them my favorite message:

There is nothing you can do do change the other driver's bad habits. If you stopped trying, you would not experience such intense emotional stress. A lot of negative stress behind the wheel is self-generated by venting anger. We find a reason for being even more mad. Anger feels better than helplessness. We can even enjoy expressions of intimidation and hostility against others, especially when it's safe and we can speed away or turn off somewhere, or when we are big or brave. So start working on yourself, how to manage better the inevitable exchanges and confrontations of today's traffic. It used to be that on a half hour commute to work you could encounter a dozen cars; now you encounter hundreds, sometimes thousands. Any one of these mini-encounters that last just a few seconds, can go wrong, in the sense that you or they can lose their cool and get hot against someone. But if if we all worked on ourselves as drivers, we could eliminate this epidemic in one decade.

3) "How did you become interested in the study road rage, and how did you earn the moniker 'DrDriving?"

Driving Psychology was born in mind 15 years ago when my wife Diane said to me one Sunday: "Leon, Grandmother doesn't think you're a very good driver." It turned out that I was taking corners too fast. But then Diane revealed to me that she too had lots and lots of problems with my driving but she had not dared tell me about them. For instance, I would drive in the left lane when she felt more secure in the right. Or, I would put on the indicator and start changing lanes as I started looking over my shoulders, thus before it was clear. I would have to veer back into my lane to avoid a crash and this made her very scared and tense. For years I denied doing that! I realized I had to use the self-witnessing technique behind the wheel to discover who my automatic self was who was doing the driving.

I started carrying a tape recorder in the car and spoke my thoughts out loud. I was astounded how impatient and hostile and aggressive I sounded. I was shocked by the risks I was willing to take. I was surprised to see that I made mistakes frequently. So I had to become DrDriving to fix myself as a driver. I also had hundreds of my students in social psychology study their driving personality and write reports on their self-modification attempts to become better drivers. All their reports, and mine, are available on DrDriving's Web Site.

As DrDriving I have given over 1000 interviews [today in 2007] and consultations with reporters and media producers since 1996. There is a tremendous explosion of interest and concern everywhere. In July 1997 I gave my expert testimony to the Transportation Committee of the House of Representatives. I receive hundreds of on my Web site. On June 19 I will be participating in the founding ceremonies of YARR (Youth Against Road Rage) in Seattle. Dr. Richard Kirby, founder of YARR, will be unveiling a plan for a national conference involving youth delegates from every state and One Thousand Parties celebrating across the country. The focus: how to encourage young drivers to become excellent drivers, which to us means supportive drivers, tolerant of diversity, and community oriented rather than competitive and territorial. We all stand to gain if this generational and cultural approach succeeds: 180 million drivers, insurance companies, state and county government, children.

See recent interviews list


i found your road rage web page interesting, but basically unlikely to reduce road rage for a number of reasons, principally the voluntary, peer-support therapy proposed. The people who are the most dangerous road-ragers, in my opinion, are highly change-aversive. I too have studied the subject long and hard. My conclusions are twofold: a new commitment by drivers ed and d.m.v. officials to stress strict lane discipline as a prerequisite for freeway driving, a la Europe, and secondly, a state sponsored citizen reporting system, whereby road ragers could be identified and reported to authorities by other road users; it is the anonymity of people in cars that encourage them to behave egregiously in ways they would never do personally in public. Mr. B, thanks for writing. I agree with you that increased and more effective surveillance techniques will reduce the expression of road rage and will force drivers to be more alert. However, I do not believe that this is the sole answer, or that this answer will work by itself. So that's where DrDriving's efforts come in.

These efforts are directed to bring about a generational transformation and a permanent cultural change in our current acceptance of the norms of hostility and disrespect. Hence the need for Quality Driving Circles (QDCs) and for lifelong driver's ed (K to 12 and continuing adult). I hope you can join in this great effort!


Dr. James,

My name is Marcus, I am a psychologist with the District of Columbia Public Schools working primarily in the area of drug and violence prevention. I also conduct a limited number of small group workshops in Anger and Stress Management for community agencies, schools and the courts in the Washington Area. Many teachers, parents, parole and probation officers and others identify traffic related stressors as some of their biggest triggers for angry episodes.

I would like your permission to use some of your information as the baseline for developing my own presentations in the area of "Road Rage".

I congratulate you on the very thorough and articulate information that you present on this very difficult, deadly and costly issue.


Hi, I'm a public Speaking student @CSUS, Stanislaus in Turlock, California. I would like to give a speech on this topic and would like to get as much information on the subject as possible. Thanks in Advance! June


Hello. We are looking for a comprehensive definition of road rage for a research project at The University of Tennessee. If you could give us any information regarding this topic or any links on a definition, we would appreciate it. Thank-you.


dear mr. james,

my name is brian and i am a student at ithaca college in ithaca, ny. i am taking a class called documentary research and as a group, we pick a topic and research it all semester. then in may, we go before a group of judges and present to them our research and try to convince them that it would be a good documentary to produce and put out on the air. our topic is road rage. while doing some quick research, i stumbled upon your testimony on road rage on the internet. it was very thorough and i think it can help us out with our project. i was wondering if you might be able to conduct a phone interview with us and let us know any updated information on the subject that we might be able to include in our presentation. if you could get back to me and let me know if this is possible i would really appreaciate it.

thank you!


Dear DrDriving, I just finished reading some of issues of B.A.D. driving. If they weren't so serious, they are down right funny. We have all expeirenced them at one time or another. I am giving a speech on road rage and I will be sure to read some of these and alot of the valuable material I have found in you web site. Thanks for the reminders! I am also guilty of getting angry on the road, fortunately I have had the good sense not to let my anger turn to abuse. I hope that those that in my speech class will have the same appreciation for this information as I do. Sincerly,
J. M,
student at California State University Stanislaus in Turlock, California.


Hi J.! Thanks for writing and good luck with your speech. You mention you also have anger behind the wheel. That's the first step to recovery from aggressiveness behind the wheel: acknowledging it. The other two steps: witness (observe) yourself behind the wheel so you can gain an objective assessment of yourself as a driver, then modify what you see one step at a time. This threestep program is described here Though I am DrDriving, I feel that DrDriving is really a national symbol of all drivers. Each one of the 177 million Americans who have a driver's license have a DrDriving within their mind, or heart. This is their highway driving conscience that tells each of us how to be a conscientious supportive driver. Like Jiminy Cricket for all the Pinocchio's in the world, and like Smokey the Bear for all outdoor lovers. DrDriving is our symbol of highway conscience and I just happen to have discovered him in myself before others got to. I have studied myself as a driver for 2 decades before I started seeing for real!! Leon

Take care and drive with Aloha spirit! **DrDriving**



Thank you Ms. Johnson for the fine Page. I'm glad you found it worthwhile to place a link to DrDriving!! You ask for topic suggestions. One interesting issue is gender differences among drivers. another: partnership driving. You might find it useful to check out my Topics page which I keep updated here. One thing I can assert: partnership driving has greatly improved my relationship to my wife Diane. Now when she is in the car, I let her tell me how to drive (e.g., "Slow down, Leon." or "Don't change lanes. Stay here." or "Come on, wave to that man, Leon." etc. But it takes deep commitment on the male driver's part! But it's worth it!

Take care...and drive with Aloha spirit! **DrDriving**


 thank you for responding to my inquiry. I am a lawyer in toronto and am  also a member of a large group of persons who are meeting for the first  time this week with a view to forming an official anti-aggressive driving  group. If I could ask for a further favour, do you have any thoughts or  suggestions which may assist me/us at this stage. thank you very much. Hi Daniel,
I'm glad you wrote back. There is a lot of information on DrDriving's site that is relevant to your setting up a citizen group against aggressive driving. Several such groups have sprung up around the country, for example CASAD which has a
home page here. My view is that a group such as yours needs to go beyond external enforcement procedures and to work from within the community with positive incentives.

An especially welcome challenge would be to form yourselves into sub-groups of around 6 people who meet regularly to discuss their driving improvement plans. You will find lots of such exercises on DrDriving's site such as the threestep program here. and partnership driving.

And you can read about Quality Driving Circles or QDCs that my traffic psychology students have experimented with. 

Let me know if I can be of additional help or stimulus!
Take care and drive with Aloha spirit! **DrDriving**


I wasn't sure until right now what CASAD was. My cousin asked me to get some information for a college paper she is writing. I think what these people are doing is fantastic. Just wanted to let you know that there are other people who are going through the same ordeals in their streets, and that they also want to do something about it. Again, congratulation! 

Sincerely yours, Sharon


Dear Leon, Thank you very much for your permission to use the web site materials. If we decide for sure to use this as our final exam topic, your articles will be very helpful in preparing the students to write on road rage. We will be sure to credit the Web Site address. A few of the students know how to use the Web and may want to visit on their own. Thanks also for the tip about your other web sites. The only web site I have so far is one about implementing The Internet into the ESL curriculum (City College of S.F. Title III web site). You're way ahead of the curve! AND you get to live in Hawaii; who says Paradise can't be productive?! 

Thanks again. Samra


Greetings! Found your road rage article on three springs site most informative. I research for curriculum development for our driving school here in Washington - thanks for the ideas on focusing on "emotional intelligence" skills. Look forward to visiting your site again.


Dear DrDriving,

I have recently been asked to be the safety monitor in our department. One of the duties is to present off the job safety topics. I would love to have you come as a guest speaker but I doubt I have the funds required to fly you to Philadelphia. Do you have any colleagues in the Philadelphia region who you could recommend?

On a more personal note my husband and I have decided to try your techniques for relaxing while driving. At first I thought the idea of making animal noises was pretty crazy, but there is no way I could stay angry while barking like a dog. I'm thinking of employing this technique in other aspects of my life (although I may have to bark silently to avoid being committed to an asylum) Thanks for your time,


Hi Carol,

If animal noises are no longer serviceable (at some point we get tired of it...) you can switch to other methods that involve your breathing. This is a key factor in anger control (probably in all emotion control)--the breathing. Anger has its own breathing rhythm. Its proper execution depends on that breathing pattern. By interrupting that breathing pattern, you are consciously intervening and making it more difficult for the anger to continue. Thus, it ceases even as you are barking--but also: singing, humming, saying mantras, praying, reciting poetry or other memorized matter, or just repeating a phrase over and over again. When I was an undergraduate at McGill university in the 1950s, one of the psychology papers I did was repeating a word over and over again. I discovered various things about it--how the sound changes, the meaning, etc.

At any rate the key is to gain control over breathing. My wife Diane sometimes tells me I'm interfering with her breathing, that I should stop. I was puzzled for many years, trying to understand, but now I think I do to some measure. Swedenborg says that thinking depends on breathing and different types of thinking go with different types of breathing. Well--I thought this might give you something to consider for your speech. Leon

Take care and drive with Aloha spirit! **DrDriving**



Dear DrDriving,

Am happy to find your website re: road rage. Am scheduled to present a persuasive speech for college. Do you have stickers with your current logo? If so, I would love to have them to hand out to my audience.

Speechless in PA P.S. I would need them by Monday, March 9 2000.

I'm sorry I don't have any stickers--perhaps in the future, after my book on Road Rage is published. In the meantime, for your current meeting, I give you permission to print and hand out the logo on Dr. Driving's site (there are two versions: green and black/white--see which one prints better.

Take care and drive with Aloha spirit! **DrDriving**



Just a personal experience...when I took my driver's test, the instructor or whatever was getting irritated at me for slowing down or stopping when I saw a pedestrian ready to cross the road. He told me that it was not necessary to let every pedestrian cross at the crosswalks that I encountered. My thought was that what if those pedestrians were dumb enough to cross with cars coming, it would be my fault if I hit them. pedestrians usually thank drivers who stop and that makes people feel appreciated...as far as I know. c - ya "nicki"


Dr. James~ My name is Lindsay and I am a junior in high school. I have chosen to do my big research paper on road rage and whether or not it can be cured. I was hoping that you'd be able to send me some information that may help me come to a conclusion. If you could, I would greatly appreciate it. I hope to hear back From you soon!!! Thanks in advance, Lindsay Hi Lindsay , to answer your question: Yes, road rage can be cured. I present many arguments to that effect. Perhaps you'd like to check a summary of them at this Web page here. Send me a copy of your paper when it's done. I'll publish it on Dr. Driving's site.

Take care and drive with Aloha spirit! **DrDriving**



Hi Michael,
I'm delighted you wrote because as DrDriving I'd be happy to participate in a TV program on road rage and related issues such as aggressive driving, driving personality makeovers, DBB ratings for movies and commercials (Drivers Behaving Badly), YARR (Youth Against road Rage -- being inaugurated June 19th in Seattle), Lifelong Driver's Ed, Quality Driving Circles (QDCs), Partnership Driving, CARR (Children Against Road Rage) and several other topics of interest including carrying a tape recorder in the car (or camera) and recording one's thoughts and feelings behind the wheel. You might like to check out the announcement of the YARR movement

Take care and drive with Aloha spirit! **DrDriving**


I am looking for information or correlation between road rage and another phenomena I have termed,^‘ Store Rage^‘. Within the retail industry I am seeing an ever increase in irrational customers. I was wondering if you could point me in the right direction for information on this topic. This is causing a great deal of stress within the industry, which is starting to affect the livelihood of employees and their sense of well being and safety. Your help would be greatly appreciated 

Thank You 


Andy, Thanks for the interesting observation on store rage. I'm definitely interested in this. Some of my students have done observations on pedestrians but a lot more needs to be done. I have noted "children's rage" and "husband rage" and "airplane passenger rage" etc. I think anger and rage are the most common human emotions when it comes to what I call "territoriality" issues. Let me know if you come across these things.

Take care and drive with Aloha spirit! **DrDriving**



hi -- i'm a librarian in anchorage ak and just showed your page to a group of high school kids who absolutely loved it! thanks very much, this is a great page, and nicely laid out too. dan


I must say that I do agree with much of what I see here. It is a little difficult, however, to fathom much of this being of assistance in a town such as Austin. This is one of the worst towns in the country to be a driver in. If if weren't for idiot rubbernecks and morons who do not know how to enter and exit from freeways here, we wouldn't have as many problems. I am by no means a perfect driver, but I do try to be as courteous as possible to others around me. It really chaps me that some people will hold up traffic to gawk and peer at the misfortune of others. These are the people who should be dragged out of their cars and choked on the spot. Well, a little tension release can't hurt now, especially if we can make public examples of boneheads such as these. T. Thanks Terry. I understand your frustrations--that's why I became Dr. Driving--to reduce mine! Well I discovered it's far more pleasant to not get frustrated with these drivers who don't meet our own standards. That's my message. As the current DrDriving, I'm sharing with others the techniques I learned that helped me be a happier driver. But everybody has a DrDriving within their conscience to help them change for the better.

Take care and drive with Aloha spirit! **DrDriving**



Hi, I'm doing a project on keeping the driving age of 16 and a half in my state, could you give me any reasons on why we should keep it that way? because tthat's how i have to present it, i want to make people to think that they should keep it the same, almost like a debate sort of thing. so if you could send me some information back, that would be great. Thanks!!!!!!


Dear Mr. Leon James: 

My news editor asked me to expand my article relating to stress caused by commuting. I just have several questions for you below, Mr. James. I just had one question concerning driver mentality. Besides the road, trying to find a parking also creates a problems for students once they arrive at campus. This might affect them with their first several classes. Do you have any solutions/suggestions you can offer to these students so that when they arrive at their classes, they are not angered by the traffic and the difficulty of finding parking? I also would like to ask you if I could quote you in some of the things you have written in your homepage? Also, my editor asked me to accompany my article with a sidebar (a table of information). I would like to ask your permission if I could use some of your information in your homepage as a sidebar (i.e., making animal noises when stressed out From other drivers). Finally, do you happen to know a class offered to the public dealing with how to become a better driver? My editor said she heard about this particular class From someone. Do you happen to know this class, Mr. James? Again, thank you very much for your help and time. I truly appreciate it. Safe Driving, 


As "DrDriving" on the Internet, I advise people who write to me that driving a vehicle requires training yourself in three areas.

 First, your emotions and attitudes. Second, your thoughts and judgment. Third, your handling and alertness. Students would greatly reduce their driving stress by training themselves in each of these three areas.

This training includes the skill of getting yourself parked without getting upset at yourself, at other students, at campus officials, at your girlfriend, at the world! This requires emotional intelligence or affective self-instruction. Students need to apply the knowledge they have acquired in college to their daily problems and needs. In this case, it's the need for greater emotional intelligence. Here are 10 examples of erroneous thinking which students might wish to consider, as they plan a "driving personality makeover." These tend to be some of the major errors in thinking before we train ourselves to think more rationally as a vehicle operator or pedestrian:

(i) That driver is stupid because he did not see me.

(ii) That driver will not hit me if I pass on the right.

(iii) I can squeeze between these two cars--they won't dear hit me

(iv) I have the right to be mad at this inconsiderate driver

(v) All drivers are against me

(vi) Campus officials don't care about my parking plight because they're

heartless and only looking out after themselves

(vii) How am I supposed to listen to this lecture when I'm so upset about

that driver who almost knocked me down

(viii) It's OK for me not to stop at this stop sign because there is no

one coming and because it's mostly for cars

(ix) Since I'm late for class it's OK for me to make exceptions and drive

with more risks than I would normally take

(x) I don't have to signal every time I'm supposed to

Take care and drive with Aloha spirit! **DrDriving**


Thanks for the information on road rage. I am looking for a video to use in a road rage presentation that I am doing .If you know where I could find one could you e- mail me back thanks. Sgt. G.A. Andes Rockingham Co. Sheriff's Office Try this Web page. They are working on a video on road rage though it may not yet be ready. Still, they may have other things that are relevant. Check it out.
Improv Comedy Traffic School  

Take care and drive with Aloha spirit! **DrDriving**



Dear DrDriving, I am a final year student at Swinburne University in Melbourne, Australia with a major in Sociology. I am currently researching 'Road Rage' for my research project and found your data on the subject interesting and informative. Would it be possible for you to e-mail information regarding any recent studies on this subject? Anything would be greatly appreciated, since this is a reasonably new but ever increasing problem in this part of Australia, and which, I believe, deserves considerable attention. Thanking you in advance, J. Mr. J, perhaps you can be more specific as to what you are looking for. Maybe this page of topics might help here.

Take care and drive with Aloha spirit! **DrDriving**



mr. james, just wanted to touch base with you, our 24 hr meeting started this morning. my drivers do agree that road rage exists and many had stories to tell. i was able to make several overhead sheets to assist in the presentation. this presentation will also be done in april with our other union group. thanks for the input and insight. have a good one. 



I am researching child road safety - do you happen to have any statistics or relevant articles? Thanks 

Andrew Munn 

Leicester UnI Bsc psy

Drew: Try this for your research:
Early Childhood Road Safety Education Program

Annotated Bibliography and Research Collection Hope this helps!

Take care and drive with Aloha spirit! **DrDriving**


I live in Scottsdale Az. and occasionally I witness aggressive or obviously impaired drivers, and would like to report the license numbers to the local police. However searching for various police words has turned up no email site to report such things. I have found sites for all kinds of weird police business that wouldn't interest the common citizen, but no place to offer information on drivers that risk my and others lives on the roads. HELP 



Hi- I am a writer for a trucking magazine, RPM for Truckers, an have been assigned an article on Road Rage. Could I possibly get a phone interview with you about your work. I would appreciate your help. Mostly I am interested in you, how you got into this field, how you feel you have helped, what the future holds and perhaps a few words that illustrate that road rage is an extension of rage that may be a marker of changes in our society in general (if that's true). would enjoy talking with you, I promise to keep it 15 min. 

Gary Bricken, Editor, RPM for Truckers, RPM eXtra, & TRUX

Hi Gary,

Thanks for the faxed article. I think you did a fine job with the whole thing--not too erudite or abstract, yet dealing with causes of things. Well I have one thing to clarify about the list of aggressive driving behaviors. Yours is a fine list but you might consider adding emotions and thoughts, not just overt actions--because these are also good signals:

  • "--having fantasies about doing violence to someone
  • --thinking overcritically of other drivers most of the time
  • --feeling depressed about your lack of enjoyment behind the wheel
  • --feeling in a hurry all the time
  • --ignoring one's DrDriving conscience and taking excessive risks
  • --feeling happy about another driver's mishap or trouble
  • --hating the road and feeling disconnected from other drivers
  • --stressing over highway police
  • --no longer experiencing joy and security behind the wheel"

I hope you like these examples. But you see what I mean: they are not OVERT ACTIONS yet they are part of driving because driving is made up of 3 parts acting together: one's feelings, one's thoughts, and one's actions. Well, that's it. I'm wondering if you've seen the interview I gave for SuperDriver Magazine a few months ago which was also for a professional driver audience.

 I'm wondering if you want me to post the article after it's published in your magazine--just let me know and I'll put it on DrDriving's site. Also, if you decide a continuation article let me know. For example, one article deals with the mental health aspect of aggressive driving, you can here. Another angle of interest might be to discuss exercises drivers can do such as the Threestep Program you can find here. And finally, the Random Acts of Kindness for Drivers is something truckers would surely endorse as a desirable thing (because it improves highway community and mutual support). You can see my page on that here.
Take care and drive with Aloha spirit! **DrDriving**


Hello Mr. James, Thank you for writing! You have a great site, yourself! These are excellent suggestions. With summer vacation time just around the corner. Maybe I could do an email interview with you, and we include these topics? I'll tell ya, I've been using "Partnership Driving" with my hubby ever since we've been together <g>. I was an over-the-road truck driver some years back, and am a real stickler for following the rules of the road... even more so, when I'm a passenger <G> I've read a small number of your articles, mostly on Traffic Psychology. Where exactly is the info on Partnership Driving on your site? You have such an extensive index of articles! I did a quick search and find on your page, but didn't come up with anything under "Partnership". Let me know what you think about the interview. Keep up the great work! Best regards, Hi Ms. Johnson, the partnership driving Page is at this location here.
I'd be happy to give an interview. Just let me know by email when it's convenient to call.


I strongly agree that we all have a DrDriving within us. I know that we all at one time or another have felt guilty when we did not wave or when we unintentionally cut someone off. This guilty feeling comes from the DrDriving within us. It also serves as our conscience. I think the reason why people all over the world are experiencing road rage is because we all have one universal trait and that is being --human. We also share the basic human emotions and so that is why we are so similar.


I'm interested in road rage incidents and statistics in and around the Seattle Washington area or Washington State. Along with the Do's and Don'ts of how to handle these situations. It is for a training lecture I'm putting together on safety. Any information you can provide would be appreciated. Thanks John


Now I have to consider how best to use the additional time -- an hour program is around 48 minutes of actual air time. I think that the issues you raise in your web sites and in your e-mail to me are very important and worth considering in the writing of my treatment. I would welcome any additional advice you might have regarding the content of the program.

Hi Michael,
Here are various possibilities for you to look at or consider:

1) A page of slogans for public service announcements  

2) A background and introductory article overall on road rage 

3) Various topics in what is driving psychology  

4) Driving sub-sub-skills in feeling, thinking, and performing used for the Nine Zones of one's driving personality makeover 

5) Driving vignettes for fun and instruction 

6) Transcripts of my thoughts in traffic here

Take care and drive with Aloha spirit!

Leon James


Is there any printed material, testing etc. that can be used in teaching adults on this subject thanks !! jim. young .( safety and compliance specialist) amoco oil company Hi, Jim,
I am in the process of preparing various materials. Perhaps you can let me know what are your specific needs or intentions and I might direct you to what is available on DrDriving's Web site. For example, there is one test in this document
here.  And there are various zones of your personality as a driver that you can find here.

Let me know if you need additional help!
Take care and drive with Aloha spirit! **DrDriving**



Dear DrDriving, 

Just wanted to let you know that I found your advice quite helpful. I have been the "victim" of numerous aggressive drivers and have frequently responded to what I perceived as a challenge and attempted to "fight back". Unfortunately, speeding to catch the alleged perpetrators only added to my psychological and physical stress, not to mention turning ME into the aggressive one. I will continue to try to fight my urges. I will try to realize that any perceived "insult" by another driver is not intended for me personally, and in any case only serves as an example of that person's emotional immaturity. Best of success in your effort to educate people on the foolishness and idiocy of road rage. 

Sincerely, DT


Subject: view from the road Are there any studies done on the relationship between road rage and the view form the road? Would a beautiful view reduce road rage?


Subject: Wanted to know if personality type has anything to do with road rage? I am doing a paper and wanted to know if personality had anything to do with road rage? Like do type A have more or less trouble in this area. Hi Thunder,

There have been some studies like that reviewed by my students--look here.

Take care and drive with Aloha spirit! **DrDriving**



DrDriving, Have you found that vehicle decorations (bumper stickers, fish etc) either reduce or provoke road rage incidents? Thanks in advance. Adam

Dear Sir, 

In one paragraph it is stated, "But anything on the road is seen as intentional, an insult to us." Some of the stunts drivers pull may in fact be intentional, but the issue for me is their uncaring attitudes and downright rudeness. Most of the time, people know when they are doing something wrong. This is what brings me to the brink of road rage. Maybe a class on civility would be in order. 


Dear DrDriving That was a great article concerning road rage in the Star Bulletin. I didn't think any one really cared. I have been driving for many years on Oahu and yes in the past I fought with every one that cut me off. There are two suggestions that I have learned that might help in dealing with aggressive drivers. First, in reality having self control in life is so important in every aspect of just every day life.

So what better way to learn self control than through driving? Now days nothing bothers me because I always practice driving in a way that develops self control. What a great way to lean self control. If you can drive with a cool head all the time then you have won. Not only on the road, but in life. Many times when some one cuts me off I try to see what kind of person is driving and 90% of the time the other person may look like a grandmother or father. Maybe your daughter or a friend Etc.

These are just people! It is a very good lesson. If I chased the other car and we fought and maybe the other person was hurt or even killed then did I win? NO because I am the one that must spend many years in Jail, so in that sense they won. Also one must understand that if the other driver really is crazy or a bully then he or she will get it some time. You don't have to be the one that challenges these people. You may just drive down the road and then see a police car giving him a ticket or maybe his car is all smashed up next to a telephone pole, Etc..

Life is more fair that one may think, but with out self control one can't see anything. Great home page, I'll study it more when I have some free time.

As always, Aloha
Aiea, HI.

Hi V., thanks for writing. I think you have developed for yourself the right driving philosophy that gives you the power to stay out of emotional entanglements with other drivers. If it's OK with you I'll post your message on . People need to acquire for themselves a "DrDriving" type rhetoric in their mind, just as you have done.

By "rhetoric" I mean all the reasons you have formulated for yourself regarding the importance of staying calm and non-aggressive--all the ways you have convinced yourself that it's better for you not to be hostile or reactive. This is the rhetoric and the philosophy every driver needs to develop for oneself.

 Congratulations on being a leader in driving psychology and finding your own DrDriving within yourself!!

Take care and drive with Aloha spirit! **DrDriving**



can you email me some surveys that may have been conducted regarding road rage. i'm doing a report a t school and we need to find a survey and emulate it, but we're having a hard time doing so. if you can help, 

thank you in advance.!!!!

Hi Ms. C,
you'll find an example of a survey type questionnaire about aggressive drivers
in this location.
Take care and drive with Aloha spirit! **DrDriving**



I am a high school senior trying to balance work and taking college courses at the University of Akron. Though this semester has been stressful, I must say that I am a relatively sane driver and I have seen my fair share of stupid drivers on our snowy, sloppy Ohio roads. I am doing my senior class term paper on the effects of road rage and why current methods of reforming this chronic problem aren't working. I have read just about every web page that you have posted, or just mentions your name, THANK YOU!!! I don't think I could even start this project without all of your information. But I'm still looking for something. I need to find more facts on current programs that deal with road rage and aggressive drivers. I have found through all of my readings that some accidents aren't even reported as aggressive driving, they're merely traffic violations like failure to yield. Since road rage is linked to aggressive drivers, why are they getting off on these minor violations when the problem lies much deeper than that? I would be so grateful if you could send me more information or even some websites that include this information. 

Thank you, EL

Hi Ms. L,

Here are two articles that might help: here and here. both belong to the National Council of State Legislators--they may give you info on the angle you want--what officials are thinking about when it comes to legislation about aggressive drivers.

Take care and drive with Aloha spirit! **DrDriving**

I am a graduate student at the University of British Columbia, Canada. I am planning on doing my thesis on speeding and the illusion of control and optimism bias. I am wondering if you have any information or can point me in the direction of information (refs) regarding speeding and why some drivers continue regardless of consequences (subjective and objective). Your help greatly appreciated. Mr. Bruno, here are two files that might contain the info you are looking for regarding speeding and risk--type in these two words in your Find command in your browser after you get to each article as a quick way of finding the passages or links. here and here.
Take care and drive with Aloha spirit! **DrDriving**



I searched the , and found these pieces of info that might help you out:

The Congressional Hearings Witness List for Aggressive Driving is given at this Web site where Dr. Nerenberg is listed as follows:

Dr. Arnold Nerenberg
Traffic Psychologist and
Director of Mental Health Services
Whittier, California

Elsewhere on that site you will find his testimony.
Take care and drive with Aloha spirit! **DrDriving**


Hi i'm Chris I have to write up a debate about why it is better to wait 8 months or more for your driver's license from a psychological point of view. THANKS From a psychological point of view. Hi, Yiptong! Here is a Web document that will help you with your debate on graduated licensing: here.
Take care and drive with Aloha spirit! **DrDriving**


Hello, Dr. James. 

I just had a couple of trivial questions for you regarding the interview you gave me recently. I'm wondering if "Leon" is also an Anglicization of your name. Was it "Lev" before you left Europe, or something similar? How long have you and Diane been married? (25 years?) That's it really, just a couple of personal things. As far as your research goes, your website and connecting documents have answered all my questions--what a wealth of information you've put out there! Take care, and reply at your convenience. 

Best, Rob Campbell

> I'm wondering if "Leon" is also an Anglicization of your name. Was it > "Lev" before you left Europe, or something similar? 

I was born in Rumania in 1938 as the war was breaking out all around us. My birth certificate was lost. As far as was told my original registered name was Ladislav but everyone called me Licu. Later in Belgium we picked Leon as more appropriate. The family name was Jakobovits, but after enduring name discrimination till age 50, I decided to switch to James (legally). This fits also my change of faith from Jewish to Christian, as "James" is the New Testament equivalent of "Jacob."

> How long have you and Diane been married? 

We just celebrated our 17th anniversary. Diane is known in the family as "DrDriving's doctor" because she has coached me through "partnership driving" for years (for this concept see: here.) Diane Nahl is an Information Science Professor at the University of Hawaii and she is co-author of our forthcoming book Road Rage: Emotional Intelligence for Drivers. I feel that DrDriving is a universal symbol for the conscience of every driver. Every driver has a "DrDriving" within but needs to develop it.

I am the current expert officially identified with DrDriving, but I feel DrDriving is every driver. You might think of a driver's mind as the battleground between your driving daemon and your driving conscience. DrDriving is your driving conscience that needs to be fostered and strengthened throughout our lifelong career as driver. Well, let me know if you want anything else. I assume you're aware of the photograph of me (here.) -- in case it's relevant.
Take care and drive with Aloha spirit! **DrDriving**

Could you please suggest a good training video dealing with Road Rage? I manage a trucking fleet of commercial trucks and drivers. 

Thanks. Randy

Hi Randy!

 I'm sending your request to the Improv Comedy Traffic School where they make such curricula for fleets and schools. I believe they may answer you directly. In the meantime feel free to use materials from Dr. Driving's site as long as you give credit. Let me know how it's going and what your needs are. You might like to check out what my students have done with group meetings and coaching involving drivers meeting in groups: here.

Take care and drive with Aloha spirit! **DrDriving**


New Jersey has more cars per square mile that any other state, you can't avoid these maniacs no matter how hard you try. Here's what happened to me the other day: I met another vehicle and a second road I was on, he was coming from off a state highway. he approached a yield sign at hi-speed (i.e. I had the right of way since I wasn already on the road) he almost hit me. Since I had "gotten in his way" just minding by business he felt the need to chase me. He followed me through several turns. At hte point I was near the local Police station, so I figured that would be a good place top head to scare him off. No chance, he followed me right in and as I headed to the station door he yelled "wanna go to court...wanna go to court.." Huh????

I was baffled. He then insisted against filing careless driving charges against me (he ran the yield!) forcing me to file failure to yield against him. I told the police I didn't want to file charges, but that didn't deter him from filing. I apparently ran into someone who wants to go to court and wants to cause trouble for other people. Now I have to go to court. The police officer says the judge will probably through both of them out since it's my word vs his. But I'm concerned, what's this guys deal and what does he have up his sleeve?? Any response, ideas or thoughts are appreciated. P.S. Do you know that road rage 800-number?? 

Sincerely FF


Sorry to hear about your woes with a scary irrational person who is forcing you through a court hearing. There isn't much you can do except to look at the positive side of it, if you can find one--that's emotional intelligence! Maybe the judge will be on your side. Luckily you didn't have a physical injury. Maybe the other person obsesses about this day and night, so he's got his own punishment already. And so on. If you succeed in feeling OK about this despite the challenge, you'll be gaining something spiritual from this encounter. Sorry I don't know about the road rage 800 number but let me know if you find out.

Take care and drive with Aloha spirit! **DrDriving**



Dear Sir, 

I am a SUNY Oswego Campus Police Lt. who sits on a speakers bureau in upstate New York. My topic this year is Road Rage. I am in the process of collecting articles for speaking engagements this coming month. Are there any particular studies, films or web sites that you can recommend to educate me more fully on this topic? 

Thanks in advance, Cindy

You asked for more info on road rage for your speech: I would recommend you start with these two pages: here. and here.
Take care and drive with Aloha spirit! **DrDriving**

Dear dyc: 

My Name is Alex Smart, coordinator of an Impaired Driver's Education programme in Kitchener, Ontario, Canada. We are at this time embarking on a new programme to address Road Rage and the development of pro-social driving attitudes. Your site about Quality Driving Circles sounds very interesting and would likely be a fount of information useful for our curriculum development. We would very much appreciate your forwarding to our Web Site any sample curricula or general didactic information. This information will be used towards our mutual goal of safer, saner roadways. Thank-you for your attention to this Enquiry. I remain hopeful that you will reply. 

Sincerely Alex

Hi Alex Smart! You have a fine idea about focusing on road rage. At this time we are all involved in preparing such instructional materials though they are not yet in the availability stage. I will let you know when this becomes available. Others have also requested such materials. I'm forwarding a copy of this to Henry Fiur and Gary Alexander, of the American Institute for Public Safety and Improv Driving Schools because they may want to advise you of what materials they have right now regarding road rage. In the meantime I welcome you to use the vast materials on DrDriving site. Please give DrDriving's site credit. The short address is:

(lower case also works) Let me know more specifically what your needs might be so I can take your suggestions into account as I'm working on the materials. Thanks!

Take care and drive with Aloha spirit! **DrDriving**


Dear DrDriving;

How would you deal with a situation where there are a half dozen antique cars puttering along at 25mph on the highway with traffic piling up behind them? I'm one of the antique drivers by the way. We try to space ourselves so folks can pass us but we still get dirty looks. This just began to happen in the last 3 or 4 years. When there's a shoulder to run on we try to pull over but usually the roads we prefer traveling are pretty narrow.

Best Regards,

Ham Lake, MN


Hello again.

I read the letter about Sao Paulo's traffic, and it reminded me of another number I saw regarding Brazil's drivers: More than 50 000 people died in Brazil in 1996 in automobile accidents. (I think I read it in the Globe & Mail.) And from what I've heard, Brazil is supposed to have the worst drivers in the world BY FAR. (I know several people who have been there.) And by the way, since the last time I e-mailed you I got in my first car accident (caused by an aggressive driver) and someone else tried to run me off the road. (Because I honked at him after he cut me off.) Drivers are so nice, aren't they? I just wish people would stop taking things in traffic personally. Oh well.

Drive safely. Dave


Sorry to hear about your accident Dave! Thanks for writing in.


Professor James,

Thank you very much for all your help. You have made the reporting of this piece much easier. Your answers were prompt, complete and very understandable. I cannot tell you how many dead ends I ran into looking for someone such as yourself. Sadly there are few academics or policy makers who make a point of understanding the dynamics of traffic and the phenomenon of road rage. As for myself, I prefer to take the subway around the city and avoid the perils of traffic all together. If you would like to see a finished copy of the article (or any of the other, traffic related stories we will be running) I would be more than happy to send it to you. Again, thank you for all your help. I will try and drive with Aloha spirit, despite the gloomy weather and perpetual cold rains which fall on the north Atlantic coast.



Dear DrDriving,

We would greatly appreciate being on your mail list (for hard copies). We are an EAP headquartered in NJ and have recently found ROAD RAGE to be of growing interest to some of our companies.

Manager LIFEWORKS Behavioral Health

Thank you!


Thanks for writing. I'll let you know when the book is coming out. In the meantime feel free to use all the materials on the Web site--just give credit and the address of the site: drdriving.org Thanks.
I am really glad that there is actually a website on road rage. While I was doing my generations report, on of the topics I chose to write on was on the concerns of road rage. I learned a lot while doing this report and I am glad that I had the opportunity to actually view this article. It also has made me look at how I drive and I am currently doing some self assessment. I am not sure how much my driving will be modified because I am afraid that when I go back to New York City, I will not be aggressive enough to keep up with the other drivers. For now I think that I will just concentrate on the safety of myself and everyone on the roads.

chedfbi special agent reporting


Dear Sir, I am doing some research in the area of road rage and was wondering if your research on road rage was in a survey format or how was it completed. My hypothesis is that stress at certain times of the month will lead to aggressive driving and that leads to road rage Any information that you have may help me Thank you John J. Howe Student FDU in Behavioral Research


Sorry I don't have such survey data as you asked about. Neither have I seen any by others. However there should be, I agree. Maybe you can collect some of it...Let me know if you do! I can also post a survey questionnaire on DrDriving site to get more data that way. Send me the form you make up before you use it so I can comment--if you like.

I think that road rage is the unhealthy emotions and frustrations which results from actions of inconsiderate motorists. It also includes taking unnecessary risks, the constant need for speed and people being impatient, irritable drivers. The only reason that I can think of for someone being a road rager is just plain selfishness. I agree with the person in the article when he said that it is a learned behavior ex. watching parents drive. I think that Dr. James idea of having driver's ed from kindergarten is a really good idea because this way our children are exposed to safe forms of driving at an early age. Also it is important to get other people's perspective on the matter--not only the parents'.


Dear DrDriving,

How do I report a road rage incident. I live in the San Francisco bay area.

Thanks, Rodney


> How do I report a road rage incident. I live in the San Francisco bay > area.

Mr. R, thanks for writing. Normally you call police to report traffic incidents involving illegal or abnormal behavior. I'd be interested to hear about it as well--I'll post your story as it will be instructive for others to read about. I'll also give you my reactions to the incident.


I love your site, it's filled with lots of usable information. I check in often to see what is new. Keep up the wonderful work you folks do over there is Aloha Land. Hi Beth, thanks for writing and the compliments! I'm glad you find my site of interest. Let me know if you want to contribute to it--I'd be glad to post it for everyone to read.

Take care and drive with Aloha spirit! **DrDriving**


Dear Dr. James;

I am currently enrolled in a psychological research methods class here in Powell Wyoming. My group members and I are hoping to survey behavior of the average driver. We will be conducting this survey in the general psychology classes at the Jr. College here in Powell. What I am looking for is reference materials to support our suggestion for the validity of this survey. Can you help us to communicate to our clinical psychology instructor that there is a place for the behaviorist? What sort of references can we find to support the worthiness of this sort of study?


About your question: I believe you'll find a behavioral justification for driving behavior in this article.


Dear Mr. James,

I am currently a student at The Art Institute of Dallas, and taking a course in Oral Communication. Aggressive Driving, a subject that came to my attention while driving to and from school, about a 40 minute commute. Acccidents occur everyday here in Dallas, Texas. Observing the aggresive actions of fellow drivers during my commute made me want to do my persuasive speech on ending aggressive driving. I came across your work here. I would like to quote your material and suggestions on the subject of Aggressive driving in my speech. If you have and questions or comments please reach me at my email address. Thank you very much for your time and effort.




Mr. T, permission is hereby given. I'm glad my materials are useful. Check back often to see what's new! I'm trying to build up people's consciousness of good driving--its advantages, benefits, and community building opportunities. DrDriving in my mind is like Smokey the Bear--a national conscience for responsibility and enjoyment of what we have. Dr. Driving is the nation's Jiminy Cricket!

Can I see a copy of your speech?

Take care and drive with Aloha spirit! **DrDriving**


Dear DrDriving, aka Dr. Leon James,

Aloha from your friends in California!

I have really enjoyed browsing your web site about Traffic Psychology. Living in car-congested San Francisco, it gave me a lot of food for thought. When I was in college (Tufts University), I majored in Social Psychology. I wish I had had the chance to take your class. It looks as though it has sparked a lot of thought on the part of your webmaster-newbie students.

I was wondering if I could photocopy some of the web pages from your site for my students. ( I teach English as a Second Language at City College of San Francisco). More specifically, two other teachers and I would like to use some of these materials during the final week of this semester to prepare ESL 62 (composition) students for a final exam. We are just starting to assemble articles on the general topics of Road Rage or Courteous Driving or Gender Differences in Driving, which we will narrow down later. Please write back to let me know if it would be ok with you if we use some of the web pages from your site. If you need to know which specific pages, I will tell you that too once we've decided which topic would be most intriguing for our students.

By the way,ESL 62 is an intermediate level ESL composition class. We would like to make copies for 3 classes (approximately 75 students). Thank you again for creating such a thought-provoking and entertaining web site. Sincerely,

 City College of S.F.


yes I hereby give permission. Just be sure to credit the Web site's address (drdriving.org). Road rage is a wonderful topic for ESL students! BTW, before my becoming DrDriving I was interested in language teaching.

Some of my articles are online here, if you're interested...


Take care and drive with Aloha spirit! **DrDriving**


My Name is Adam, and I am a student at Ohio University in Athens, Ohio. I am working on a research project for which the topic is road rage. Would it be possible to conduct an interview with you sometime this week (before Sunday, March 1)? It would probably only take about fifteen minutes on the phone, or we could conduct the interview via e-mail. I look forward to hearing from you.



Hi, Adam! Here are my answers:

On Thu, 26 Feb 1998, Adam Blue wrote:

 > 1. Do you think having something like the DATABASE OF UNSAFE DRIVERS > (www.comnet.ca/chezken/duds.html ) , which lets web surfers vent their > frustrations along with posting license plate numbers of offenders, as > well as proposed punishments, perpetuates the problem of road rage?


DrDriving's Answers:

Venting your anger is not good. It endangers your immune system and causes circulatory disease. Psychologically, venting anger only makes you feel better for the moment, but one tends to return obsessively to one's anger, pushing out all other feelings such as forgiveness, community spirit, and emotional intelligence.

As DrDriving I'm guest on various radio call in shows. People call in and complain about other drivers, venting their anger, expecting me to support them. But instead, I answer that they should get over it. It's irrational to think you can control or even modify the behavior of other drivers. It just can't be done. Further, you're braking the law by trying. People should realize that their anger stems from within themselves--specifically, the inability or unwillingness, to let go of the desire to control others, to punish them for being stupid, etc.

If this involvement with posting the license plates of drivers that angered you is a form of venting, then I don't think it's a good idea. If it's a method of punishment, it is not likely to work. Further, it has all sorts of problems in terms of creating suspicion between drivers instead of community building and support. A better idea, in my opinion, is to get together in small groups, each in our neighborhoods, and supervise one another's driving philosophy and improvement activities. I call these Quality Driving Circles or QDCs (see here).


> 2. Since statistics confirm a large increase of the number of > automobiles on the road today, do you think having expanded streets and > highways could in any way help to alleviate the problem?


Yes. Increased congestion needs two solutions. First, more highways space. Second, better training of drivers with regard to the emotional challenges of driving.


> 3. Young drivers seem to harbor a lot of anger and/or irresponsibility while behind the wheel. Is addressing road rage for teenagers during drivers' education another element that could help to alleviate road rage?


Yes. This realization has now been advocated in the latest proposals about driver's ed (see my article in DrDriving.org/yarr/index.html).


> 4. I've noticed in some interviews you've given on the topic or road > rage, you refer to it as a "habit." As such, do you support or protest > its inclusion in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental > isorders (DSM)?


No I don't. Some therapists have discussed road rage in public in terms of a pathology, and perhaps they would favor such a DSM category. However what I deal with as DrDriving is the universal feeling of stress, frustration, and anger which every driver feels behind the wheel at some time. Some drivers feel it all the time, some most of the time, and some only some of the time. Still, anger behind the wheel is a cultural norm or habit we learn as children from parents and TV. It is not a pathology but a learned style of responding that can be unlearned with training and new values or norms.


> 5. At times, I've found myself getting angry just looking at a person > who is on a car phone while driving next to/ in front of me. Are > external conditions such as car phones contributing factors to road > rage?


Yes. Now that society is making driving more complex allowing for multi-tasking such as car computers and phones, we need to train ourselves to use these gadgets in a safe way. Above all, we need to develop our emotional intelligence so that we are more aware of how we affect other drivers when we talk on the phone or try to use gadgets such as GPS, or CD player.

You remember Jiminy Cricket was Pinocchio's conscience that gave Pinocchio human intelligence to discern right from wrong, and true from false. In a similar way all drivers have a "DrDriving" in their psyche which tells them to improve and be safe and supportive. The symbol of "DrDriving" is like Smokey the Bear, a symbol of highway preservation and community support. Every driver is Dr. Driving! Or should be...


> 6. In Bermuda, there is usually only one drivers license permitted per > family. Without going to extremes like this, would making the actual > act of getting a drivers license more difficult increase appreciation > for the privilege of driving and perhaps decrease the number of road > rage cases? ++++++

Restrictive or punitive measures will not work. What will work: re-training on a generational basis with lifelong driver's ed starting in kindergarten and going on through high school, then lifelong, through QDCs. Further: we need to see how TV and commercials are a factor in spreading aggressive driving styles through the symbols they portray. Take a look at how my students in traffic psychology at the University of Hawaii have developed a rating scale for DBB (Drivers Behaving Badly) (in this page).


> 7. Are the current states of television programming and/or motion > pictures a contributing factor to road rage?

Yes indeed, see my answer to 6 above.


> 8. In reference to question #7, what are some examples of television > and/or movies that may perpetuate road rage?

See my specific data in the above location.

+++++++++ >

> 9. According to some interviews you've given, you favor self-help > techniques and therapy as methods to curb road rage. Is there a "point > of no return" when therapy or self-help are no longer effective?

It's not a question of so many therapy sessions then you're cured. As I said, it's a cultural norm, so we are just following others when we are being aggressive and hostile behind the wheel. This will continue until there is a new norm.

And if there is no new norm forthcoming, then I predict things will get worse and worse. Already in 1987 in an article in the Hawaii Mental Health Newsletter (see article at DrDriving.org/articles/violence.htm) I predicted the rise of road rage. Now I'm predicting road rage to spread to pedestrian rage, parking rage, shopping mall rage, beach rage, etc. The more we allow people to vent their anger against other users of roads, spaces, lines, etc., the more we train them to vent some more. Aggressiveness is reinforced unless we act against it as a society.


> 10. Are some drivers too quick to cite road rage as their excuse for > their irrational behavior while driving?

Irrational behavior behind the wheel is a form of road rage. There are many forms to road rage, starting from impatience and competition all the way to chasing and ramming. The source of all road rage, all aggressiveness, all hostility behind the wheel is the irrational idea that you can teach others a lesson and that they deserve it and you're entitled to to it as a victim of their stupidity.

This is not rational. You cannot teach other drivers in this way. And the reason you try is because you feel they deserve punishment. But the fact is that you are your own victim in road rage, causing your own anger by venting and feeling self-righteous. We need relief from this method of madness. We need alternative methods and better methods for managing our anger. In fact, we don't need to get angry in the first place. All we need is the right training and the willingness to try it.

you first acknowledge that you have a problem with being too aggressive; second, you witness yourself behind the wheel observing when and how often you get mad; and third, you modify your lllhabits one at a time: for example: following too close; changing lanes too frequently; being overcritical of other drivers; feeling competitive; expressing your mood overtly; getting offended or insulted; venting one's anger; making threatening gestures or moves; yelling and cussing; etc.


> 11. Are some doctors too quick to cite road rage as a drivers reason > for acting irrationally while driving?

I think if you take the broader view, as described in 10 above, all forms of irrational driver behavior are forms of road rage, that is rebellion against what is happening and inability to be tolerant of others' mistakes or needs.


> 12. While researching this topic, I've found it increasingly hard to > find good information beyond anything I've found on the internet. > Besides your upcoming book, are there any other books out there I should > check out for my research?

Please check your public library for published sources such as Psych Info or ERIC (also on the Web) and search for "driving behavior." Some of these have been summarized by my students

>13. Is there any other information you might wish to share that haven't > been explored by these questions or the information available on your > website?

I think it's important to think of the role of children. See what I say about this at

  see our CARR page (Children Against Road Rage)


> 14. Can I e-mail you again should I need any other further information?



> Thank you once again for your time, Dr. James. I hope my questions > aren't too voluminous. I hope to be hearing from you soon.  Aloha, > Adam

Question /Comment

DrDriving's Answer

From n@prodigy.net Sat Mar 21 15:12:37 1998
Date: Sat, 21 Mar 1998 04:04:07 -1000
From: n <n@prodigy.net>
To: dyc@DrDriving.org
Subject: balance in road-rage / aggressive-driving issues

[btw, the "traffic inspector" idea is great, and will never fly, because of $$$ -- no, I don't mean the direct costs, but rather the ticket revenue that will be lost. This isn't sarcasm; see some of the websites on speed-traps and radar detectors.] [Also, literate as I am, I have NO idea what "stink eye" means . . .]

[Also, there are utilities available that will scan your web pages for dead links (and you do have some).]

emailed today to an anti-unsafe-driving organization, in response to material seen on their website . . .

Date: Saturday, March 21, 1998 7:54 AM
Subject: balance in road-rage / aggressive-driving issues

If you really want the bulk of the population -- and the segments most likely to be perpetrators -- to become supportive and take this issue seriously, then you need to avoid certain pitfalls which may alienate people and/or cast you in the role of another flash-in-the-pan hysterical interest group.

(1) Balance in perspective: while your website gives a passing nod to the concept of some driver frustrations being legitimate (e.g., inappropriately low speed limits in certain areas), I find it incredible that you -- unlike what I've seen in some other write-ups on road-rage -- make no mention of drivers who engage in such behaviors as:

(a) driving in "lateral convoys" (multiple lanes abreast), making it impossible for anyone to pass;

(b) more generally, any driving in a "left-er" lane than necessary in order to maintain a desired speed and spacing (including moving leftmost LONG in advance of an intended left turn);

(c) driving for long periods in a way that causes a long line to accumulate, instead of occasionally pulling over, when it's obvious that EVERYONE else could and would be going faster;

(d) in general, driving in a manner that could reasonably be interpreted as an attempt to "play policeman" toward other drivers.

Some drivers do these things intentionally, some obliviously; the effect on others is the same. Furthermore, you chide officers for "cutting slack" to drivers for a few MPH over the limit, but say nothing about the rarity of officers acting to correct the behaviors described above.

(2) Language and hyperbole: your latest newsletter uses the phrase "aggressive driving" to mean "all forms of dangerous driving". That's absurd; a drunken driver can be weaving dangerously, and simultaneously feeling glowingly beneficent to the whole world. Don't abuse, subvert and dilute the language, because it makes a lot of people want to tune out; ogling is not rape, and recklessness is not the same as aggression. Yes, I know some people will immediately retort by saying, "The decision to drive drunk is an act of aggression", but we all know that this is not most people's interpretation and intended use of the language.

(3) "The law is a hammer, but not every problem is a nail." Why such emphasis on the imputed mental and emotional state of the driver? Any of the discussed behaviors which SHOULD be regulated (see below) already ARE: an officer can cite anyone for unsafe driving, or even non-emergency honking, without needing to attribute it to "bad attitude". (Your castigation of headlight-flashing inspires amusing speculative pictures of what will happen when out-of-state drivers visit California, which has just made it mandatory to move out of the way when someone behind you flashes their lights, not even giving you the option of speeding up.) The driver's mental state isn't your business, or mine, or anyone's, excepting a judge or jury who, AFTER deciding guilt, need to determine a sentence or damages.

Attitude should not be an issue of guilt or innocence, Big Brother; "1984" has come and gone. Keep the focus on enforcement and actions; when you focus on attitude, a lot of people will pigeon-hole you as being of that certain socio-political ilk that wants to use laws to make the whole world "love and play nice with the other kids." If you're in my left-side blind spot and I unintentionally cut you off, forcing you into oncoming traffic and your subsequent death, you're just as dead as if I did it out of pique. True, psychology is at the root of the problem, but you can't LEGISLATE psychology; attack the psychology with EDUCATION and peer-pressure and economic sanctions, and leave psychology out of legislation.

(4) Finally, closely related to the attitude issue is the issue of First Amendment rights. Your desire to control people's expression is egregious, and serves only to encourage slime-ball issue-grabbing politicians who'll eagerly offer brute-force legislation to get a few votes. If I shake my fist or gesture rudely to you, it should be no different legally than if I do it on the sidewalk; if it can reasonably be perceived as an actual threat (thus meeting the legal definition of "assault"), or it legitimately constitutes a substantially hazardous distraction to other drivers, or I fit the legal definition of using a car as a deadly weapon, then there are already laws which regulate that. (Again, I'm not advocating status quo, just re-focused enforcement; where I live, it's been tried, highly publicized, and found to work.)

I already know of at least one state considering legislation that would criminalize "any behavior [while driving] intended to be intimidating or provocative or expressing hostility". Do I really need to spell out what's wrong with this picture? As soon as such a law is passed, I'll be the first to put a sign in my car's window saying, "I hate you, your driving, your kid, your dog, and your taste in shoe-laces. I'm experiencing aggressively, hostility and road-rage. This sign is intended to intimidate you. In my culture, the following gesture is obscene and offensive:", with a picture of three arbitrarily-selected fingers upraised. And I'm keeping my cell-phone programmed for speed-dialing to the ACLU.

Hi, n!

Thanks for writing such a thoughtful note. I shall take up several of your excellent points. I think they are important for all of us to consider carefully.

"stink eye" is an expression we use in Hawaii and refers to giving another driver a mean look to express our displeasure. A supportive driver would not engage in this type of behavior.

Thanks, I need to do that! Let me know those that you found so I can change them right away.

I agree that we should try to get the message of supportive driving to all those "perpetrators" of unsafe driving behaviors. Yet I also feel that ALL DRIVERS need to be involved in lifelong driver's ed, never quitting being involved in some form of driving improvement activities or exercises such as QDCs.

Your point is well taken. I do have various references to all the types of bad driving you mention, but you might be right in that I ought to make these more prominent. By adding your message to the Dear DrDriving file, and by linking to it from various places on DrDriving's site, more people will be exposed to the information and attitude you are offering here.

Traveling in convoys is natural and safe. However, traveling abreast multiple lanes is unsafe. A lot depends on the convoy's leader (see my discussion of this phenomenon here):

Blocking or hogging the left (passing) lane is one of the biggest of our highway driving problems. We need more public awareness of this disruptive habit.

We need to encourage public spirited drivers who care about how they affect the emotions of other drivers.

The vigilante driving philosophy is alive and strong. See here for vigilante driver attitudes expressed on Internet Newsgroups.

Actually I feel that police officers are there to protect us, even on those occasions (quite rare) that I receive a citation or ticket. Speed limit enforcement and DUI arrests have been the most prominent so far, but that is because of their exact measurement properties (radar or breath analyzer numbers legally defined). I believe officers would enforce those other bad behaviors you mention if they are give the legal means to make it stick in court. However, this is a controversial matter, and it is still unclear how much police surveillance and activities our society is willing to support.

I appreciate your desire not to overuse or misuse the expression "aggressive driving" or "road rage." Still, my point a been that driving is an activity that goes on in three domains of the self: first, one's overt actions or vehicle operation; second, ones thoughts and judgments; third, one's feelings and conscience. See my chapter explaining this here. In so far as the overt actions: yes, you are right to say that there are big differences between "reckless driving" and "aggressive driving" -- as you say. But when you look at the feelings and emotions, there are similarities, namely, insufficient conscience and caring.

Yes, I have expressed this concern in my congressional testimony on emotionally impaired drivers arguing that enforcement operations can only be tolerated so far before we feel like we are in a police state. Hence the only solution that will work, that is going to be permanent, and that we are willing to live with, is lifelong driver's ed.

Thanks for writing!

Leon James


I am doing a project on road rage for my advanced psychology class in high school. I was wondering if you would be able to send me some information that might help me. I would be extremely grateful.

Sincerely, David


It was for teenagers reading Futures magazine.  If you have trouble getting to the Web address, I reproduce below the text of the interview answers.  Be sure  to give credit to DrDriving's Web address which is:



I am doing a newspaper article for my class on road rage. May I ask for permission to use some of your material for my story. It would be so helpful if I could. Your web site is so terrific, and the information you have could really help college students.

Thanks for your assistance.


Dear Dr. Leon James,
Here is a copy of my persuasive speech. Thank you very much for the additional information. I also found your article in the Ladies' Home Journal, April 1998. I had my speech this morning and I am confident that it was a success. I notice every time I list the signs in your self test people start laughing. I am assuming this is because they are guilty of such actions. Quite interesting.


Persuasive speech Oral Communications
Based on the materials at DrDriving.org

Purpose: By the end of my speech, the audience will understand what aggressive driving is and prevent themselves from doing so.

Central Idea: Aggressive driving is becoming the number one cause of accidents. "A factor in two thirds of the 41,907 highway deaths last year and a third of the nonfatal crashes, which resulted in three million injuries." -- On the Trail of Tailgaters and Other Aggressive Creatures, George James, New York Times, Late Edition (East Coast) Oct. 5, 1997 SEC. 13NJ Introduction: "Two woman on a highway near Cincinnati in 1996. Rene Andrews, twenty nine, and Tracie Alfieri, twenty four.

Alfieri, enraged when Andrews pulled into her lane, first attempted to pass on the right shoulder, then pulled around Andrews' car on the left, cut in front of her and hit the brakes. Andrews, who was six months pregnant, swerved into a stopped tractor trailer. She suffered multiple injuries and a miscarriage." Taken from--Ladies' Home Journal, "The New Road Warriors" April 1998 Preview Statement: Aggressive driving behavior is a factor in two-thirds of the 41,907 highway deaths last year and a third of nonfatal crashes, which resulted in three million injuries. --"On the Trail of Tailgaters and Other Aggressive Creatures", New York Times, Late Edition (East Coast) Oct. 5, 1997.

I am going to help prevent you from becoming an aggressive driver. By first explaining to you the causes of "Road Rage". Make you aware of your aggressive driving habits and the solutions to ending this disregard to "morals" of the road.

I Aggressive driving is the unnecessary speeding, cutting in and out of traffic, and dangerously trailing or tailgating the car in front you. "The natural cycle of verbal road rage begins with an explosion of invectives and accusations, silent or out loud, reaching a rapid peak that lasts a few seconds, then lessons with a temporary feeling of relief from the pent-up pressure of frustration or fear." (Dr. Leon James, a Professor of Psychology at the University of Hawaii.)

What causes "Road Rage":

A. More cars, more traffic, more frustration, more stress, more anger, more hostility, more violence.
B. Watching our parents and other adults behind the wheel.
C. Movies and Television.

Transition: The number of accidents caused by aggressive driving is inexcusable. We need to show better feelings toward other motorists. Be concerned about your aggressive driving habits. You are part of the problem.

II According to Signs of "Road Rage" Ladies' Home Journal, April 1998 This, developed by Dr. Leon James, is a self test ordered by severity to help evaluate your aggressive driving habits.

1. Mentally condemning other drivers.
2. Verbally condemning other drivers to a passenger in your vehicle.
3. Refusing to let another car enter your lane because your frustrated or upset.
4. Giving a driver the "evil eye"
5. Speed past another car as a sign of protest.
6. Preventing another driver from passing because your angry.
7. Tailgating to pressure a driver to go faster or get out of the way.
8. Fantasizing about committing physical violence against another driver.
9. Honking or yelling through your window.
10. Making an obscene gesture at another driver.
11. Making threatening manuevers with your car.
12. Pursuing a driver who provoked you.
13. Leaving your car to argue with another driver.
14. Deliberately bumping or ramming another car.
15. Trying to run another car off the road.

Transition: As concerned motorists, preventing aggressive driving is quite simple.

III Solutions

A. Think happy thoughts.
B. Share the road, Develop a positive driving philosophy.
C. Practice self witnessing and objective self awareness. Be aware of your situation, think ahead.
D. Come out swinging positively when getting into trouble with others. Don't become irrational towards another driver, even if it is their fault, fighting doesn't solve anything.

Conclusion: With a positive attitude towards others we as drivers can drastically cut down on accidents caused by aggressiveness. Drive Safely. Allow more time for reducing stress. Become better aware of your driving habits and don't use your car as an instrument for venting out your frustrations.


Thank you for providing a link to National GRADD's site within your site. In an effort to keep your pages (and our links) up to date I'm writing to let you know we have a new web site URL!
Our new site address is here.

We are now working with nearly 200 colleges and universities to prevent drinking and driving and look forward to hearing from you again soon!

Together we *CAN* make a difference! -- Kristin Crawford Executive Director National Group Rides And Designated Drivers (National GRADD)


Thank you very much for your fast reply. I am giving an informative speech on "Road Rage" and that is why I was looking for info. I am looking for info on statistics and documented cases of this little known problem. If you could help me out I would really be grateful. Thank you again for your reply. Erin Huggins Have you tried this file?

I am writing on behalf of the NJ Psychological Association. We are planning a program to educate our state legislators about the value and contributions of psychology and psych services.

We came across your Road Rage Test on the internet and found it to be an extremely interesting tool. We were wondering perhaps if we could use your test at our Psychology Health Fair to be held on June 11, 1998 in our State Capitol.

We advise us of any steps we need to take in order to utilize your road rage test.

Thank you very much for your consideration, aloha.

Education and Outreach Coordinator



Hi Jodi! Yes I'd be glad to give you permission for the use of the material you mention below, as long as you give appropriate credit as follows:

1) the Web address of the document where the test appears, e.g.:

Quoted from DrDriving's Web site at: this place


2)the book from which it comes:

Based on a book by Leon James and Diane Nahl. Road Rage and Aggressive Driving (Prometheus, 2000)

Take care and drive with Aloha spirit! **DrDriving**



Hi -- Wonderful webpage! I would like to know more about your aggressive driving test. Do you have norms for men and women, different age groups, ethnicity, etc?

Rona, Licensed Psychologist


Hi Rona,

Try this page

Take care and drive with Aloha spirit!   **DrDriving**


Dear DrDriving.

We have a web site www.drivesafe.org . what do you think of this idea. I love your site can I put a link to it on my web page. 

Thanks Nancy


Hi Nancy,
I enjoyed looking at your site.  Thanks for the effort!  I'd be happy to have you link to DrDriving's site. 

Take care and drive with Aloha spirit!   **DrDriving**



I read about your site in the May 1998 issue of Bicycling magazine and am impressed with its content. I am a 33 year old bicycle rider and driver from Massachusetts. I work at home and don't have to drive very often. For this I am thankful.

I, like at least one other respondent, find many drivers to be without manners. Rudeness and selfishness rule the road. Over my eighteen years behind the wheel I believe both have increased alarmingly.

One factor which I believe causes road rage and confrontations in general, is basic street design and layout of intersections. I live and grew up in Massachusetts but lived in the state of Washington for 5 years during my years in college. The street layouts for the 2 states are quite different in design.

In WA, the majority of streets meet at intersections at 90 degrees. Most busy stoplights have a separate lane and light cycle for left turns. Many of these intersections have multiple lanes, clearly marked by signs near the signals, which indicate left, straight or right. There are many 4 way stops, especially through residential neighborhoods.

This is not the case in MA. Many intersections in MA meet at angles which bring blind spots of various car models into play, and you rarely find a seperate lane and/or light cycle for left turners. There are a high number of intersections where it is difficult to tell which street across the intersection is a continuation of the one you were on or if you are actually making a turn. There are fewer 4 way stops and multi lane intersections. Turning lanes are not clealry marked.

I n my experience I found MA drivers to be much more rude and aggressive than the drivers of WA. One example I have seen increasing over the last few years in MA is left turners not yeilding the right of way. This behavior is nearly universal in MA. At most interesections which have a signal, but no left turn light cycle, the first (and often second and third) driver will try to beat the oncoming traffic as soon as the light turns green. I cannot see how anyone could think they have the right of way in this situation, but this is becoming the norm.

There are obviously other factors which differ between the states. There is a higher population per square mile in MA and the "East Coast" rat race effect on stress is quite evident. These obviously contribute to aggression as well, but I feel the road design in MA causes more confrontation and confusion then that of WA.

I mention this factor most in discussions about aggressive driving mainly because I feel this is the least noticed. Two other areas I feel need improvement are education and enforcement. Its too easy to get a license and the police need to enforce other traffic laws besides speeding, but both of those are discussions for another day.

Thank you for taking the time to read my lengthy post, and again, I complement you on your site and your efforts.


Mr. Seeley, thank you very much for writing. I posted your note on hoping that others will see it and appreciate the information and perspective you provide. Let me comment.

First, I agree with the accuracy of your observations. It's amazing how the same driver behaviors and norms will be found everywhere--but in different proportion, as you noted about the differences between MA and WA regarding left turn street design and driver behavior.

Second, I agree that education and enforcement are elements of the solution--and I believe, it ought to be lifelong driver's education and training. It should start in kindergarten and go on to the end of high school, through graduated licensing involving parents, then lifelong membership in neighborhood quality driving circles (QDCs) through which drivers support one one another in driving improvement exercises behind the wheel. Related activities would include civic organizations such as YARR (Youth Against Road Rage) and CARR (Children Against Road Rage), and others, including commercial services such as private driving schools, fleet operators, insurance and health institutions, and others. By the way, there is information on all of these on DrDriving's site.

In other words, a global societal effort is needed to first, eradicate road rage or aggressive driving (which I think is dangerously on the increase...), and second, create a generation of drivers who are routinely polite and supportive of one another on the highway, rather than competitive and hostile, as the norm is today.

One last point. You mention the disturbing behavior of left turners who don't wait for the oncoming traffic when the light turns green. Even more so, is the situation when more than one left turning driver is involved, blocking the oncoming traffic. While the lifelong education program is being put in place, what are we to do in the meantime? Allow me to make some suggestion from the perspective of DrDriving, meaning, the rational conscience of every driver.

What are my choices as I'm forced to break for the convoy of left turners, and wait an extra five seconds or so--a long time under the circumstances!

Scenario 1: I'm outraged. I'm cussing. I'm gripping the wheel. My face is expressing anger and disapproval. I shake my head. My eyes look mean. I feel like yelling and gesturing, but I grip the wheel instead, real hard. I lean forward. I berate the drivers. I call them names. My stress level increases. My immune system is weakening. My spiritual self is hiding in a cave as my driving conscience is paralyzed by my feelings of hostility, even rage and hatred. Finally, when the road is clear, I press on the gas pedal as if I need to regain lost time, or, as if I was in a cage and the door finally opened. And I race ahead, for a few seconds feeling victorious and relieved, taking risks I shouldn't.

Scenario 2: I'm forced to brake for the left turning convoy sneaking in out of turn. For a split second I remember scenario 1 and I feel its empty victory. Then I quickly turn my mind to scenario 2 which says that this is an opportunity for being supportive and forgiving. I falsh on this over and over, successfully beating back the negative emotions that swell up in me: disapproval, self-righteous indignation, irrational expectation (--they are the way the are...--), denial of reality, not caring if I put myself at risk health wise (anger and impatience suppress your ability to resist illness all day long). Snap out of it. Look at the positive side. Use your emotional intelligence to think of positive aspects to the situation, as for instance:

(i) I can practice staying calm. That's a health bonus.

(ii) I can practice being forgiving. That's a spiritual bonus.

(iii) I can practice being a supportive community oriented driver. That's a societal bonus.

(iv) I can practice being a non-risk driver whose behavior is not reactive to one's mood. That's an economic bonus.

(v) I can practice being a creative driver, using my time either productively or for relaxation and enjoyment under all traffic conditions.

Well, I hope you get my point, which is that we have two tasks ahead of us. One is to retrain the entire generation of drivers to be non-aggressive and more respectful of rules. The other is to learn how to manage our emotions and thoughts when we are confronted with those drivers that are not yet retrained. This second task is often forgotten. There is a temptation to think that law enforcement and punishment should be increased. However, even if this is true, it still leaves us buried in frustration and stress behind the wheel, waiting for the left turning convoy to finally pass. Therefore we need to turn to scenario 2.

What do you think? Take care and drive with Aloha spirit! **DrDriving**


I'm doing a project for a graduate class at Penn State University. My topic is "road rage". I'm using Applied Behavior Analysis to change the behavior of a friend of mine for this project. What I can not find is an actual data based article where anyone has tried using interventions on a person to try to get them to control and/or stop their "road rage". Can you PLEASE help me, if you know where I can get an article of this type, please email me.

Thanks!!! Jill


Your group (Roadrights) espouses a rather rigid and moralistic attitude about ANY excession of posted speed limits  (instead of simply sticking to factual safety  considerations).  You should find the following  interesting: "MDOT Data Shows That Motorists Drive at Reasonable Speeds"
Hi Ronin, Thanks for the copy of your message to Roadrights. I confess that there is great confusion about the speed issue among engineers, officials, and drivers. As I represent "DrDriving" --the rational conscience of every driver--I need to support the whole spectrum of the highway community: aggressive drivers, supportive drivers, truckers, law enforcement, safety officials, driving schools, civic organizations. And so the last includes all those drivers in organizations such as yours that oppose a simplistic interpretation like "speed kills." So I am on your side too, though I recognize there is a conflict.

Now a confession: keeping my vehicle within the posted speed limit has been my most difficult driving improvement project. After 15 years of steady practice I still go over the speed limit at certain times. This is true despite my belief that speed and morality are related, as you noted. Because of this difficulty I have, I continue to study the speed issue and continue to keep an open mind.

Here is one example. This week, in my traffic psychology seminar, I discussed with students a new idea about speed and enforcement: let me know what you think. Since people on your side say that it is not speed that kills but the differential of speed between the cars, how about a plan whereby the police tickets people who travel faster than a predefined differential amount (say +20 mph). So, if you're traveling as a convoy at 80 mph, police leaves you alone, but if there are other cars around that travel at 55, you need to slow down around them to 75 until you pass, then pick up speed again. Do you think this could work?



Dear DrDriving, You have jumped on the en vogue bandwagon of "road rage". Road Rage is merely a symptom....you portray it as the problem. The vehicle is simply the mechanism that people who cannot tolerate intolerable behavior vent their frustrations with because it is somewhat of an equalizer...certainly a multiplier of ones "rage".

Example: There's a four lane highway. The right lane is fairly dense but not crowded. In the left lane is a lone car pace exactly with the car next to him/her. There is ample room for this person to fit in to the right lane and allow the traffic behind them to pass freely. This baffone elects, for whatever reason (I'm unknowing, unaware, don't care), to inconvenience the public at mass BECAUSE OF THEIR ANTI-SOCIAL PATHOLOGY of self interest (the me fixation).

Question: Why is the outraged person so defective for not accepting the intolerable behavior of the incompetent and ignorant like a passive sheep? Why is the ignorant ass so blameless in this exchange. Why do people of greater ability, desire, ambition, have to play to the lowest common denominator"? Why must I tolerate a brainless numb peoploid and while they seem to be afforded a shield of protection from liability for their incompetent behavior?

The defective mentality: A friend a I were driving. The car behind us had his highbeams on. I pulled over and allowed them to pass. I got behind them and put my highbeams on. My friend said "What are you doing, he probably didn't think that it bothered you that much" The person finally figured it out and turned there highbeams down. The point I'm making is that my friend thought that my corrective action was wrong because the person didn't intend to offend w/malace and that as much as highbeams in the other cars rearview mirror was offensive..it never occurred to them what is was like on the receiving end.

I hope you can figure that out.

When it comes to driving the code to live and survive by is simple: LEAD, FOLLOW, OR GET OUT OF THE WAY!!!!

Regards, G. Allan


Hi Gary! I agree with you that the drivers you described are indeed in the wrong and that they ought to be urged to improve. One more reason why we need Quality Driving Circles (QDCs) as I explain on DrDriving's site. Drivers who belong to such groups can more easily learn how they are unaware of their negative effect on other drivers. They can learn, like you, to be aware and sensitive of one's driving.

However, IN THE MEANTIME, we (all drivers) need to learn how to cope with those drivers, don't we?? And so I have provided techniques and exercises for learning this--how to stay calm, how to forgive, how not to get upset, how to enjoy the ride no matter what the traffic is like, how to build community and respect on the road through good modeling and emotional contagion of positive feelings.




i was searching the web and found many times this poem was posted with no recognition of who wrote it. I ran across one page that had the info and would like to pass it on to you. Also one page had someone else takin the credit . The rightful author should have the credit ..dont you agree. 


Sorry, no go. It's not just the differential in speed that leads to crashes. It's drivers following too close to each at high speeds. It's also drivers who routinely exceed the posted speed limit even on wet roads (it's hard to slow down sufficiently to accommodate bad weather when you're accustomed to going 80 mph). It is also drivers who may be very coordinated themselves and generally able to handle higher speeds but are unable to react quickly enough when someone less coordinated or less attentive makes a mistake, like crossing over the yellow line. These things happen, all the time, and there's nothing you can do about them, so lower speeds are necessary to accommodate drivers of all skill levels. Finally, we are finding that higher speeds on highways leads to higher speeds on city and residential streets, which is entirely unacceptable to pedestrians and to parents with young children.

You said you are trying to improve your driving to comply with posted speed limits (we say within a five-mile range). I know this can be difficult, particularly since (1) cars are so overloaded with power at this point, 2) there is little traffic enforcement, and 3) many drivers are routinely exceeding the speed limit by 15 mph or more. My advice: Stay to the right as much as possible. If you are unable to control your speed, then put a rubber band around your wrist when you're driving, and when you catch yourself going too fast, give yourself a slight pop. Sounds silly but sometimes that's all it takes to break a bad habit. And speeding IS a bad habit.

Regards, Lisa

Hi Lisa,

Thanks for your comments on my speeding problem!! I'm glad you pointed out the facts we need to keep in mind as drivers, namely that crashes are increased in number and seriousness when drivers go faster, rather than slower, due to less effective control when something unexpected happens. My wife Diane agrees with you. She is known in our family as "DrDriving's doctor" and she has no speeding problem--one of those rare people, in my long experience as a traffic psychologist.

I will try the rubber band idea--figuratively (or virtually) and see if that works! Mostly I need to remind myself to keep fighting for driver excellence and rationality. The future of everybody's own "DrDriving" is at stake.

Leon James ("DrDriving")



Do you have the book on road rage finished yet?  Can it be ordered? What is the price, etc.?  I have a daughter trying to write a research paper on this subject, and we need to find something in a book.

Thank you,


Mrs. Hatch, you could use the materials on DrDriving's site and give a reference

To:  our road rage book

Take care and drive with Aloha spirit!   **DrDriving**


Dr driving, i think you are a national symbol because you do represent what it is to be a driver.  you, like many others, experience anger, dislike and so on but the difference is that you realize them and you try to better them more than many of us have and you also seek for explanations for them.  You make driving your business and i think that too distinguishes you as a driver from the rest of us.   so, Dr Driving a national symbol?.....why not?!!!


Thank you so much for the link with the information I needed on road rage. It should be very helpful for me!


Do you think that the government should step in and make a federal police force to counteract road rage (road warriors).  They could use everyday cars not the type of cars people are use to seeing cops in and they could see road rage and stop it.  They could ticket people acting like morons and they don't even have to pull them over they could send them the ticket by using their license plates and if the road rage is bad enough they could stop them before they hurt someone.

If you have any questions about what I'm talking about please E-Mail me back


Thanks for the comments on road warriors.  It sounds like you have some more to tell me.  Please do so.  I want to know what your observations are!
Sorry, no go.It's not just the differential in speed that leads to crashes. It's drivers following too close to each at high speeds.   It's also drivers who routinely exceed the posted speed limit even on wet roads (it's hard to slow down sufficiently to accommodate bad weather when you're accustomed to going 80 mph).  It is also drivers who may be very coordinated themselves and generally able to handle higher speeds but are unable to react quickly enough when someone less coordinated or less attentive makes a mistake, like crossing over the yellow line.  These things happen, all the time, and there's nothing you can do about them, so lower speeds are necessary to accommodate drivers of all skill levels.  Finally, we are finding that higher speeds on highways leads to higher speeds on city and residential streets, which is entirely unacceptable to pedestrians and to parents with young children.

You said you are trying to improve your driving to comply with posted speed limits (we say within a five-mile range).  I know this can be difficult, particularly since 1)cars are so overloaded with power at this point, 2) there is little traffic enforcement, and 3) many drivers are routinely exceeding the speed limit by 15 mph or more.   My advice: Stay to the right as much as possible.  If you are unable to control your speed, then put a rubber band around your wrist when you're driving, and when you catch yourself going too fast, give yourself a slight pop.  Sounds silly but sometimes that's all it takes to break a bad habit.  And speeding IS a bad habit.

Regards, Lisa


I've been reading some articles about how trucks and suv's are what they think the causes of road rage are.  To be honest I think that's a load of crap.  I drive a 1988 chevy K5 blazer and I find that Its that littler cars causing problems.  I use to own a 1992 plymouth blazer and to tell the truth I was a very aggressive drive then.  I had a smaller faster and more agile car and I used it.  But since I got the blazer I've lost my edge.  You can not do things with the blazer that you could do with little cars.  I've noticed that people with the bigger trucks and SUV's are the targets of smaller cars.  They try to pass you because they know that you can not go as fast as they can and they will do anything they can to get pass you a save a couple of seconds.  I also see that there are people that can not drive SUV's that good and they can be a problems. 

People have tried to Pull out as fast as they can in front of me, even blown stop or yield signs so they would not get behind me and a couple of times I've almost hit cars.  I think that it is wrong to target SUV or truck owners to pay higher insurance because they have bigger car's.  People by these SUV's because they want to be safe and they want to keep there family safe.

I am doing a report on road rage and any information you can send me will be very helpful.

Thanks for your comments!  I think you might find these two documents of interest.  Let  me know.

here and here

Take care and drive with Aloha spirit!   **DrDriving**



Hi Jiri, thanks for the report.  I was finally able to look at it.  I think your topic is of interest and overlaps with Dr. Richard Kirby's interest in this very same topic.  He is founding director of YARR (Youth Against Road Rage -- see the YARR Web site and I'm forwarding a copy of this note to him.  I've taken the liberty of selecting a few of your paragraphs for Dr. Kirby to see--he's welcome to see the entire report of course.  He may wish to write to you after reading this.

If there are specific things you had in mind in relation to DrDriving's mission and approach, please let me know.

(selected paragraphs from Dr. Jiri report) (begin)

Currently, the social cost of all road crashes in New Zealand is about $3 billion per annum. (This figure includes all crashes which result in death or injury, but excludes crashes resulting only in property damage.)  About 45% of this amount is due to fatal crashes, about 40% is due to serious injury crashes and the remainder is due to minor injury crashes.  In Australia, the cost of road trauma is estimated  to be greater than $7.5 billion annually (Traffic Plan, 1998).

There are estimated to be about 35,000 road crashes (reported and unreported) every year which result in significant injury or death.  About one in twenty result in at least one fatality, about one in five result in at least one serious injury, and the rest - about three out of every four crashes - result in a minor injury only.

Nearly two-thirds of injury crashes occur in cities, about one-quarter in the country, and the rest - about one in eight - in towns.  Although most crashes happen in the city, this does not mean that cities are more dangerous than other places.  They only appear that way because most people live in cities and most road travel is done there, and there is more chance of conflict because of the number of intersections.  Furthermore, city crashes tend to be less severe than country crashes.  As a result, country crashes are, in aggregate, more costly to society than country crashes.

The measure, "social cost (of crashes) per unit of traffic volume, (cents/veh-km)" serves as a proxy for risk. (The level of risk naturally depends on where and how the travel takes place).  Dividing by traffic volume in this way allows for the fact that some regions have more traffic than others, some types of travel are more common than others, and some crash causes are more prevalent than others. Some general findings are:  For all regions the risk on country roads exceeds the risk on the town and city roads in the same region.  Town roads tend to be significantly less risky than city roads (except in On average, about $33,000 of social cost of crashes are incurred annually for every kilometre of road in New Zealand.  New Zealanders incur a social cost of crashes of about $875 per person per year.  Social cost per road kilometre naturally varies greatly between roads. A "dangerous" road carrying a large volume of traffic will have a very high social cost (of crashes) per road kilometre; a safe one with little traffic will have a low social cost per road kilometre.

In practice, some of the most highly trafficked roads are also the safest. Motorways, for example, generally have good safety records, but because they carry so much traffic their social cost per road kilometre can be in the millions of dollars. The converse is true of many rural roads: they can be quite dangerous but carry so little traffic that their social cost per road kilometre is negligible.

Country roads have an average social cost per road kilometre of $21,000 per annum, town roads $35,000, and city roads $87,000. This is not to say that country roads are safer than city roads - in fact, the reverse is true. Country roads are, on average, more risky than city roads, but they tend to carry so little traffic that their average social cost per road kilometre is less. This can make it more difficult to justify safety measures in country areas.

Given that New Zealand's road network carries about 30 billion vehicle-kilometres of traffic annually, about 9.8 cents of social cost are incurred, annually, for every vehicle kilometre. (This compares with an out-of-pocket cost of about 20 cents/kilometre to run an average family car - AA of New Zealand, 1966) Unlike vehicle running costs, road safety costs occur randomly. Though normally infrequent, individual crashes are so costly in social terms that, when their cost is averaged out over the total quantity of travel, it is still substantial. Travel on country roads is, on average, about 50% more risky than travel in towns or cities. In towns and cities, the social cost of crashes is about 8 cents per vehicle-kilometre while in country areas it amounts to about 12 cents per vehicle-kilometre. Although country crashes occur less frequently than city crashes, they tend to be very much more severe because of the greater average speed on rural roads.

Most road crashes are contributed to by human factors, road factors or vehicle factors or by any combination of them** Human factors are overwhelmingly the most important. They contribute to over 95% of all social costs, while road factors contribute to about 10% and vehicle factors about 7%. (Percentages add to more than 100% because some crashes have multiple causes.) However, both road and vehicle factors may go under-reported as they can be difficult for Police Officers to ascertain at the scene of a crash.

"Position" errors account 2.4 cents per vehicle-km, or 25% of total risk. They include failure to keep left, following too closely, suddenly braking or swerving, inattention, inexperience and tiredness (where not combined with any other cause).  Excessive speed (not combined with alcohol) accounts for 1.5 cents per vehicle-km, or 15% of total risk.

"Priority" errors account for 1.3 cents per vehicle-km, or 13% of total risk. They mainly consist of failure to give way or stop (where not combined with, and therefore probably caused by alcohol or excessive speed).  Overtaking errors account for 2% of total risk.

The Land Transport Act 1993 requires the Land Transport Safety Authority, "to undertake activities that promote safety in land transport at a reasonable cost". Toward this end, the LTSA has been the linchpin of a major work effort: how to allocate the safety dollar in such a way as to maximise the reduction in the social cost of crashes.

The approach used is based on a marginal analysis of benefit-cost ratios***.  Resources are allocated to regions and road types, beginning with the one with the highest benefit-cost ratio, until the benefit-cost ratio of the last, or marginal, road segment is the same in all regions and for all road types.

The benefit of a road safety intervention is likely to be proportional to the social cost where it is applied. This is why it is generally most beneficial to apply road safety interventions to roads that carry a lot of traffic, have high risk, or both. The cost of a road safety intervention is likely to be proportional to the length of road over which it is applied. As an approximation, this is certainly true of both enforcement and infrastructure improvement, which between them account for the bulk of road safety spending. It is not, however, true of education and advertising.

Using the above analytical framework, the LTSA, together with its principal partners, has put in place a development programme to make continuous improvements to resource allocation. Key elements of the development programme are outlined below. The programmes first stage will culminated in the redevelopment of the LTSA's Crash Analysis System in 1997.

The LTSA also keeps a detailed inventory of safety initiatives being undertaken by itself, the NZ Police and associated Safety (Administration) partners. The inventory is held on database and can be organised in different ways. To illustrate, the following table provides information on the various initiatives currently being undertaken in the children programme area. It includes details of projects and activities.

To conclude, while the direct role of an RHA with respect to road traffic safety may be limited, it needs to be acknowledged that road traffic crashes are a substantial source of additional resource use: the health sector will want to maintain an active interest in, and indeed encouragement of, further improvements in road safety.

Dr. Jiri Rada

Senior Lecturer in Public Health
Wellington School of Medicine University of Otago
Wellington South New Zealand

I live in charlotte NC and I drive an 86 chevy sprint. It weighs about  1600 pounds if I'm lucky, and as you may have guessed, it doesn't  accelerate very well. Where I live there are numerous intersections in  which two lanes of traffic must merge into one. I dread these situations because other drivers will "drag race" you to get in front. this I  really don't mind because most cars out accelerate me anyway. but  every time there is that one driver that thinks it can make it and ends  up forcing me into the lane of oncoming traffic. but I am smart enough  to keep my cool. the problem is sooner or later somebody is going to  snap when this happens and then vehicle war will start. 

KS  17

Hi KS, Thanks for telling your story to DrDriving.  I am intrigued.  I tried to imagine the situation you describe above.  The only way I can reconstruct it is to assume that you are in the left lane of the merging lanes, so that if the right lane is blocked by the racer, you in the left lane would have nowhere to go but into the oncoming traffic--an extremely dangerous consequence for the other oncoming driver and for you.  Is this what happens on that road? 

If, yes, isn't your solution to move to the right lane before the racing starts?  Let me know what you think of my analysis.  Write back.

leon, this is karl from charlotte, you almost got it. at the  intersections where the lanes merge, it is after the traffic light, and  the right lane must merge left. so I get in the left lane before I get  to the traffic light. but there is always somebody that stays in the  right lane so they can fly through the light and get in front of  everybody. 

I do have another question. is there any particular reason why people  will pull out into a four lane road into the lane your in instead of the open lane next to you? this happens so much I can anticipate it. 

I don't know if you have ever been to charlotte or drove in charlotte,  but people here drive so stupid it's funny. You can honestly go down the road and see people drive in the left lane around a median to avoid  going to the next light and making a u-turn, or see people make left  turns from the right lane, or vise-versa. I'm not even going to comment  on icy roads. 

I'm not trying to complain, I'm just letting you know what kind of  things drivers do to try to beat the clock getting somewhere. 

leon this is KS again, I forgot to ask you, I am doing a  research paper on road rage, and any information or statistics you could mail me would be greatly appreciated. 

Thanks for your thoughts, Karl!  You're right:  it's amazing how drivers act illogically and ignore the most common rules of safe driving.  Which is why I'm promoting lifelong driver's education, K-12, then Quality Driving Circles until the end of your career as driver.  I believe that if people knew more driving psychology, they would switch from illogical to logical, from competitive to supportive, from frantic to peaceful and calm. 

Take a look at our YARR site (Youth Against Road Rage) on DrDriving's site.



Hi, my name is Dwight and I am a PhD student at York University (Toronto Canada).  I've looking through your web page and was wondering if your book on EI and Road Rage has been released.  If so, could you tell me the publisher etc. so I can check it out for our library?  Thanks. Dwight, I added your name to the list.  I hope it will announced soon and I will send you notice.  Thanks! Take care and drive with Aloha spirit!   **DrDriving**


On NPR's "Morning Edition" of 3/26/98 there was a very brief story about police in Ontario asking "suspect" drivers how they are feeling - calm or angry.  They hand out brochures on how to avoid road rage.  They "don't want Canada to become like the U.S."  Ellen


I like your site...& I feel we all need to help eliminate road rage.  Here is my contribution to the solution:    http://members.aol.com/NOROADRAGE/sticker.html  PREVENT ROADRAGE  just click on the link.

Thank you & have a great day





Dr James         I think that you should also add that by quickly moving to the right lane, he can stop his mind from thinking that these racers are "attacking" him.  By changing lanes before this situation arises he has changed his attitude from defensive to courteous.


DEAR DrDriving,



Here's a page listing various tests you could use.  Be sure you give credit to DrDriving's Web site!  

I'd like to see your results as I keep track.  thanks!


Hello. My name is Neil. I'm a sophomore at the University of North Carolina, and I'm doing a project on the cultural effects of "road rage." I'm very interested in your work. I was wondering whether what was on your web page (Congressional testimony) was all the information you had on the subject, or if there was more that you might be willing to share. The project is due April 22, so please respond soon. Thanks very much!


Mr. Neil, Besides the Congressional Testimony, there are many other articles on DrDriving's site.  Look in this file, which leads you to many details:


Dear DrDriving,

I live in Illinois and commute to St. Louis, Missouri everyday.  I face rude, aggressive, and drivers who shouldn't be on the road everyday.  This past Friday, I was waiting in traffic to go across a bridge that I have to cross everyday to go to work.  There are two lanes of traffic that back up to get on this bridge and everyday the same people wait till the last minute to cut in on unaware drivers.  Now all the time these people are normal unaggressive drivers, but I have seen some of these drivers get really mad. 

On Friday I was one of those normal unaggressive drivers, until at the last moment someone cut in on me and was about a 1/2 inch from my car and tried to cut in on me.  Now of course I did not let him in and gave him a gesture.  Now I am not an aggressive driver, but when people like him do things like that then I can see why people become aggressive.  Since reading your web page though next time I won't let him, but just smile when he tries to cut in.  Thank you for the information, but I also think some of the blame is on the aggressor. Thank you.


I think the analysis I have is a little different.  I think that the driver on the right is the one merging in on the 17 yr old.  I do not know of many roads where the left lane merges into the right, rather the right  lane that merges into the left lane.  Well that is just my opinion.                             
"Imagination is more important than knowledge"  Albert Einstein

     Like Rob, I thought that the driver was in the left lane and the cars on the right were merging on to the left.  If that's the case, since he knows that his car doesn't accelerate quickly enough and that the lane merges, maybe he should just pull back a little before the merge so that he won't be forced on to oncoming traffic.  If the situation is reversed and the left lane merges into the right... then I agree with Ryan, he should change to the right lane earlier so that the situation can be avoided.  Why risk your life for a little stretch of road?      

"A woman's heart... is a deep vast ocean of secrets" - Gloria Stuart (Titanic)    


Dr. James:

At the Wisconsin State Journal in Madison, WI, I'm the editor in charge of Forum, a Sunday section that approaches topics in a non-traditional manner. The intent of Forum is not straight news reporting but as a catalyst for public discussion and a search for solutions.

After reviewing your online material on "road rage" and aggressive driving, I am seeking permission to use your work as the basis for a Forum package. I'm interested in your discussion of the nature of road rage and ideas that drivers/readers can apply to themselves and in dealing with others. This type of material fits in nicely with the tone of this section.

Naturally, I would give you full credit and include links to your websites and a promotion for your forthcoming book. Contingent upon your permission, I plan to publish this package on April 26.

If you have any questions or concerns, please let me know. Meanwhile, I am looking forward to producing a lively package on a matter of interest to our readers.


Kerry G. Hill
National/Foreign Editor Wisconsin State Journal


Hi Mr. James:         I came to know you from the January 12th,98 issue of Time magazine.

There was an article regarding Road Rage and you were quoted in it. Very fortunately, I was able to reach your web site, and saw a sea of information about driving behavior.

        I'm a foreigner student at Bilkent University, which is in the capital of Turkey, Ankara. Me and my partners are doing a research on Speeding problem inside the campus. Since students coming to this university are well off so they have pretty powerful cars too. They don't shy to test its ability either on campus or outside.

        We have a presentation to do about all these things. We need your help. We think that this problem can be curbed by awareness. So some kind of course should be introduced. Actually what I wanted from you was to know that are you giving any kind of  course in the Hawaii University which is related to driving behavior, speeding specifically ( perhaps TRAFFIC PSYCHOLOGY). If it is so, what are the contents of the course, and who takes the course for e.g. all students or the ones who get ticketed etc. Teacher from which departments are involved in teaching this course, and what is the outcome of the course. If you can tell us some other solutions we will be very thankful to you.

        Mr. James I hope I would not have caused you a lot of troubles by my questions. But if it is time consuming to reply me soon, please tell me any website where I can get this information. I tried to get it from your page (actually there isn't one page but hundreds of DrDriving pages) but I couldn't get my answers from it. Once again we will be extremely thankful if you reply us back soon.

Yours obediently, Shadab
and the team.


Hi, Mr. H, thank you for your kind words about my site.  I'm so glad to know that these materials can help you.  I'd like to help you with your course plans.  My idea would be for you to read some of the reports my students have written about forming and managing a Quality Driving Circle or QDC.  Your can base your course on such an approach. 

After reading the reports, please write back with questions so that we can further discuss how to create the course.  The idea is to form groups of up to 10 people, to call it a QDC group, and to assign various activities that we can discuss later.  These activities include assessment and keeping data, so that you can see the changes that take place in the drivers attitude and behavior over the weeks. 

You can see these reports here.

By the way, Mr. H, I'm wondering if you can confirm something I heard about Turkey, namely that there is a traffic sign which says, roughly translated into English, "Keep Your Driving Dragon within."  Have you come across this sign??

Take care and drive with Aloha spirit!   **DrDriving**

Dear Sirs:

I am currently writing an article for our magazine, the "RV Gazette" about road rage.
It would be helpful to us if I might have a quick interview with you, via telephone.
If you have interest, please forward a phone number and a local time that I might call.
For details about us, please see explorer-rvclub.com.
I should note that the gazette is our members' only magazine and it has a circulation of 78,000 RV owners in Canada.
Please correspond rapidly, we have press dates pending.

Thank You,
Andrew McTaggart


I also agree that DrDriving symbolizes all drivers, because as a driver, i am always aware of my driving behavior the behavior of other drivers.  I think we are always conscience of our driving behavior, and is it obvious when we communicate with other drivers, whether it be a hand gesture, such as a wave or the use of the blinkers.  By using positive forms of driving communication, it shows that we are conscientious drivers.


A terrific website! Using your own experience to get the message across about Dr. Driving is definitely a good resource. DrDriving explained as a "myth" is also a good way of letting people know that they have this myth within themselves as well. This website seems dedicated to giving people a reason and hope to change their driving behavior to improve their driving career, their passengers' riding experience and all those who are on the road.


I think having traffic psychology as a profession would be a good idea. From taking this course, I have become more aware of road rage, and how it is really a serious issue.  Having a traffic psychologists help those who have a problem with their driving behaviors may be one answer in preventing road rage and/or decreasing the # of accidents and fatalities that occur due to driving behaviors.


Subject: Re: Turkey Drivers

I believe our class, traffic psychology, is a very effective course to take. 

The reasons being:

1. it brings more awareness to road rage

2. helps to understand driving behavior

        a. the affective domain         b. the cognitive domain         c. sensorimotor domain

3.  allows up to observe our own driving behavior

4.  the course also allows us to explore the many different types of road rage

It's unfortunate that majority of the students who take this course are psychology majors, because road rage is a very serious issue and others should be made more aware of it.  

Leon James


Subject: Re: Turkey Drivers

I think having a course on campus for those that get ticketed would be an excellent idea! Unfortunately, only the courts really would have this kind of authority. Maybe one solution would be having student police who can earn credit by giving out citations of some sort to those that speed one campus. I don't know, just an idea. In regards to our class here: Traffic Psychology is mainly for those who are Psychology majors. We study the cognitive aspects of driving and what motivates certain driving behaviors. We learn about "road rage" and explore different avenues to try to curb this problem in society.  It would be neat to have a traffic class as an elective and maybe it can be taught by students who also earn credit that have taken traffic psychology classes. I wish the turkey guy luck.  

Leon James


My name is Kathy. I am a Master's Student at Virginia Tech in the Counselor Education Department. I am working on an assignment in which I am organizing a group therapy project around road rage. I am looking for any information you may have on actual counseling techniques. If you could give me some information or lead me in the right direction I would really appreciate it. Thank you in advance. Try these reports by my UNDERGRADUATE students (not therapists):

click here
Dr. James,

I appreciate and accept your generous offer to prepare a piece for the Wisconsin State Journal. Here are some questions we want to explore:

Questions for main piece: Why are American drivers so susceptible to aggressive driving and acts of road rage? What is road rage reasoning? How serious is this problem? What public institutions should be addressing this problem and how?

Also: -- What can drivers do to make themselves less likely to commit acts of vehicular aggression? -- Can you offer some tips for dealing with aggressive drivers? -- Where can people go (e.g., web sites, organizations, addresses, books) for more information on dealing with aggressive driving?

Deadlines are not pressing at this point, so you can take a week if you wish.

Thank you for your cooperation.

Kerry G. Hill National/Foreign Editor Wisconsin State Journal


Mr. Hill,

I'm glad you find DrDriving's materials useful and I'm happy to grant you permission to publish extracts for your Forum issue in April. I expect as you say (see below) that you'll give proper reference and Web address, and that you'll send me a copy of the issue. By the way, a short form address for DrDriving that's easy for readers to remember is:


However, if you give more specific addresses (as you wish of course), you need to use the long form:

click here

which would be the address of my Congressional Testimony document.

Incidentally, if you'd like something from me that is specifically intended for your issue, I'd be happy to oblige. Just give me the focus (say in the form of questions or what you want to bring out) and I'll compose my piece accordingly--and I can do it in one or two days, if necessary for your deadlines. Or, if you have your issue ready and you wish me to react to it, send it to me (email, if you like) and I can use that to react to. Whatever suits you, just let me know. I'm used to it. It's part of my job as "DrDriving."

Dear DrDriving,

I am a senior at William Jewell College and have found the information on your web page most helpful. I am doing my Senior Recital for Communication next Monday. (The subject is road rage of course) I was wondering if you have any charts or graphs that I could easily incorporate into my speech as additional visual aids. Please respond soon, as time is running short. I have all the MS Office applications as well as a very good graphics viewing program. Thank you in advance for any help you're able to provide. If you don't have any charts of graphs though, that's ok, I was just looking to augment my presentation.

Sincerely, Graham Longenecker


For some charts try these documents that contain them:

click here

click here

click here

Send me a copy of your speech--if possible!  I'm interested to see how people put the info together.  Thanks.

Leon James

Subject: Re: Turkey Drivers

I think that it is wonderful that others are becoming so aware of Traffic Psychology problems. I think that with this awareness it may be possible to start changing negative things going on, on the roads. Maybe in addition to you giving him info on your site, I think that you should refer him also to students' reports that addresses his particular subject. I am really interested to see what else he has to say so please email me when he replies to you.


Dr. James,

Thanks again. By the way, do you have a photograph of yourself that you could send to accompany the article. If so, please mail it to me at:

Wisconsin State Journal
Kerry G. Hill National/Foreign Editor Wisconsin State Journal


Mr. Hill, there is a photo available in this file that you can just copy. Ask your technician if this is not adequate and le time know. Then I'll send you one to the address you gave. Thanks!
I am a psyc. major in school and I am doing a paper on road rage and I am wondering is you have any info that might be helpful.

thanks Tim


Check out this file with lots of topics you can click on:

click here


Hello there everybody!

I was extremely glad to see that on the web there was not only Dr. James to help us but his students also. Thanks everybody very much.

My partners and I discussed about forming a group, a QDC group that may consist of students who get tickets for SPEEDING. But a question popped up that who will administer the group. According to my knowledge, here we don't have this Traffic Psychology course even in the psychology department. The thing is that who will administer the group of these ticket-getting students. Yes, teachers can do but not the students, unlike the way it is happening in your place. So will QDC be running by instructors of psychology? Will instructors be the one assessing data of students in the QDC groups? How will they do it, I mean will they have to get some kind of education themselves to educate these young F-1 track dreamers? We really are stuck on this point.

Dr. James, can you or your students, please solve this problem and suggest a way out to make a short re-education programs for students who get tickets due to SPEEDING. One more thing, we wanted the permission to use your driving self-test questionnaires, can we do so?

By the way Prof. James, I asked one of my Turkish friends about the slogan you asked for confirming. Well in Turkish it is pronounced as "TRAFIK JANAVARINI YENI" meaning that "Beat the Traffic Beast". Any ways thanks all of you there at Aloha for helping us. We will be waiting for your reply and suggestions.

Yours sincerely, Shadab.


Mr. H, thanks for your answer. Yes, I think I can help you in several ways. Also, some of my students might also write.

First, yes use the questionnaire as long as you don't publish it without my permission. Perhaps you can send me (a) the Turkish version so I can post it on DrDriving, and (2) the summary of your results.

Second, in my opinion any intelligent driver with social group skills can lead a QDC. It is not intended to have "experts" or specially trained instructors for this. QDCs are grass roots groups, self-help groups who supervise each other in the work of lifelong driving improvement. However, in order to be prepared, the QDC group leaders should do the driving exercises first on their own or with partners, then they should prepare some materials for exercises, and act as a facilitator, not instructor or boss.

Third, the exercises they do and prepare should include the various suggestions you can select from DrDriving's site. Here are some of these exercises for speeding that my students have tried:

(1) click here ||  (2) here ||  (3) click here || (4) click here || (5) click here

I think these are only suggestions and you will have to decide yourself to study driving psychology by reading more of the materials I have and discussing it with some of your friends. No doubt you will have questions as you study and I will be happy to help you out when you write about them. Good luck and keep in touch!

Take care and drive with Aloha spirit! **DrDriving**

Dear DrDriving,

I have been assigned a project on road rage, and ended up looking at your web site. I was wondering if there were any questionnaires that can determine whether a person is considered more at risk for "road rage"?

Thank you for taking the time to read this letter, any help would be greatly appreciated.


Try this page for various tests others have used.  None of them are standardized tests.  I don't think that exists.  But you can make your own test using the materials in my Test Toolkit.  Be sure to give Dr. Driving's Site address as a reference. thanks.
the test files are at click here

Take care and drive with Aloha spirit!   **DrDriving**


Dear DrDriving-

I recently spoke in my Speech class about the problem with Road Rage. This next (Tuesday) week I have to give a policy Speech on how to fix the problem of Road Rage.

My Professor (based on the individual topics of our problem speech) has asked each of us to pick a solution which is not already something being done, and something which can be accomplished on a national level, and one which we can weigh the benefits to the actual costs.

I've been attempting to come up with a good policy solution on a national level, but so far I am grasping at straws.

Do you have any good ideas on where I can take the direction of my Speech?


Sophomore Colorado State University

I would go with this one for your speech. It's been proposed for a national solution, though there are no cost analyses. Send me a copy of your speech. Thanks!
Dr James

Thank-you for responding so quickly :-)

I will send you a copy of my speech as soon as I get it all put together. I believe I will focus on the C.A.R.R. program for the solvency part of my speech, to me it sounds like the best way to solve a long term problem which has taken a long time to show it's ugly head in society (I may be wrong, i've only been driving for nine years.) Thanks again for responding so quickly.

Sophomore Colorado State University


The New York State Police has assigned me to the position of their Aggressive Driving Awareness Coordinator. Anything that you can provide me with ie, educational tools, ideas, websites, other professionals in my field, would certainly be appreciated.


Seargent Halvorsen, thanks for writing. It's an interesting job to be coordinator for aggressive driving these days that the focus is on it. I'd like to help you find materials on my site if you tell me more about your plans or programs.

Take care and drive with Aloha spirit!   **DrDriving**


I'm not talking about sign cards, I mean a gesture. My first person to consult will be someone familiar with sign language to determine what the gesture is. I may have a contest at one of the local schools to see what the kids come up with. I don't like the card idea. No matter how good the intentions, the other driver has to take his eyes off the road to read it! Thanks for your replies. Sgt. Jim


From Leon James:

Mr. Hill, here are my answers. Let me know if you want more. February 1999


Question: Why are American drivers so susceptible to aggressive driving and acts of road rage? What is road rage reasoning? How serious is this problem? What public institutions should be addressing this problem and how?

+++++answer+++++ To: Kerry G. Hill, National/Foreign Editor Wisconsin State Journal

From: Leon James ("DrDriving")

Road rage is "culture tantrum." In other words, we get furious when someone in public puts us in danger due to their carelessness or pushiness. Getting angry behind the wheel is a cultural norm in our society, as shown by these types of slogans that get triggered in our mind when we feel competitive as drivers:

--don't be a wimp --don't let yourself be pushed around --assert yourself --don't let them get away with it --how dare you treat me this way --first come first served --I've got my rights --it's me against them --I'm gonna get you now --now they've gone too far --too bad for you --next time don't mess with me --etc.

These are fighting words in our mind placed there by our culture. We hear these words for years as children, expressed with great vehemence behind the wheel by our parents. We see this attitude on a daily basis on TV, in commercials that emphasize speed, power, and independence; in cartoons that portray road warriors on the offensive, and in movies that celebrate drivers behaving badly. By the time we start driving as an adolescent, we have had many years of learning opportunities for aggressive driving and hostile attitudes.

Driving stress or fear has become the number 1 problem people mention on their list of daily hassles. Surveys indicate that 82% of drivers get angry when someone "cuts them off." Similarly for being tailgated. About 70% of drivers get angry at "slow drivers." Violent incidents recorded by police have increased 51% over five years. The annual cost to society of 5 million crashes and 40,000 deaths is about 150 billion dollars, not counting pain and suffering. The 177 million drivers in the U.S. are driving more miles, are driving closer to each other, are attacking each other more and more violently, have mutual disrespect for each other, and generally disapprove of law enforcement, road signs, electronic surveillance, and traffic safety programs. As we enter our second century of car society, we have weakened driver's ed programs throughout the nation even though driving has become more complex than before and will continue to become more complex with cellular phones, GPS computers, voice email, and other gadgets that drivers have to operate and compete for their attention and alertness.

The fight against highway terrorism and hostility is taking place in several quarters in our society. A longstanding traditional approach has been public education and warnings in the media. A second approach has been law enforcement initiatives that target certain areas, trying to reduce illegal driving behaviors by extra surveillance measures. A third approach has been the spread of private traffic schools that are targeted to specific groups such as new drivers, older drivers, physically impaired drivers, and drivers who get into trouble with the court system. A fourth approach has been legislative, with the intent of passing new laws that make it easier for police to identify dangerous driving behaviors and get a court conviction. A fifth approach has been citizen activism such as CASAD--Citizens Against Speeding and Aggressive Driving.

In my view, all of these efforts are good and ought to be continued and strengthened. However, by themselves they are stop gap measures. They do not tackle the root of the problem, which is that road rage is culture tantrum! In other words, aggressive drivers are not sick or pathological people needing therapy; they are not criminal minds that need to be punished or incarcerated. Instead, they need training in emotional intelligence. That's all there is to it. Driver's ed, even if you have it, or defensive driving traffic schools, if you attend one, are insufficient. We need lifelong driver's ed: first, from K-12, then after getting the license, being enrolled in a Quality Driving Circle (QDC) for the entire five or six decades of our career as drivers.

Quality Driving Circles are small groups of drivers meeting regularly in their neighborhoods to encourage each other as drivers and to supervise each other in driving improvement exercises and activities. I have long pioneered in this area and have developed various exercises I call "inner power tools" which are mental training skills behind the wheel to improve one's emotional intelligence. This is defined as the skill of awareness and alertness--that is, understanding how you affect other drivers by your own actions, and caring about it.


Question: What can drivers do to make themselves less likely to commit acts of vehicular aggression? Can you offer some tips for dealing with aggressive drivers?


DrDriving has developed a Threestep Program known for its initials AWM. "A" is for acknowledge. "W" is for witness yourself. "M" is for modify your habits one step at a time. In other words, drivers need to acknowledge that we are all aggressive as a cultural norm and that we are all contributing to the overall highway hostility culture. This first step is often the hardest because most drivers have a good reputation with themselves no matter how they drive. This self-blindness needs to be overcome. Once you confess your own aggressiveness, the second step is to witness yourself behind the wheel. I have found after years of study and research that "verbalizing" leads to greater awareness and self-objectivity. You can practice this "self-witnessing technique" next time you're behind the wheel. Just speak your thoughts out loud, whatever they may be, as if you are giving a blow-by-blow description of what's going on around you and inside of you.

The more you verbalize behind the wheel, the more you become aware of what ticks you off, how you react to others, what character you have, what personality as a driver, how you treat passengers, what errors you commit, and so on. Then, the third step is to try to modify your habits one at a time. For example, witness yourself driving in convoys: are you automatically following too close? Try doubling the distance. Are you automatically closing the gap in front of you when you see someone wanting to come in? Don't; make more room instead. In general you have to act in exactly the opposite fashion that you feel: fell impatient? act patient. Fell hostile? act friendly. Feel like speeding? Stay in the right lane and talk to yourself to calm down. Feel like retaliating someone's rudeness? Think of the potential disastrous consequences--find an excuse for their behavior so you can feel better about it. Lost your cool and are flaring at the bits? Start making funny animal noises till you calm down.


Question: -- Where can people go (e.g., web sites, organizations, addresses, books) for more information on dealing with aggressive driving?


DrDriving's Web site connects to dozens of other sites and organizations for drivers and traffic safety. The short address that's easy to remember is:   drdriving.org

You'll find details on the Threestep Program and learning inner power tools; how to set up Quality Driving Circles; how to test yourself for road rage and aggressiveness; how to map out your driving personality makeover; and what drivers around the world complain about in electronic discussion groups. When you visit, you can also leave a letter or read others' letters to DrDriving and his solutions.


Leon James
Take care and drive with Aloha spirit!

Our team is writing a paper for our chapter Society of Chartered Property & Casualty Underwriters research project. The object is to research and present information and conclusions on a timely topic with application for P&C insurers. This is not for a copyrighted or commercial work. The paper will not be sold anywhere. We have referenced your fine work in the paper, and would like to have your permission to include your extensive self-examination as an appendix to the paper.

If you could please reply and let us know whether this is okay, we would very much appreciate it.



Hi Bill,

I hereby give permission for the Appendix you cited--as long as you give Dr. Driving's name and site address--whose convenient short version is  drdriving.org

I would like a copy of your report because I try to keep track of what ideas other people are linking to mine, so I can serve the public better. I would appreciate it!

You can e-mail it to me at dyc@DrDriving.org or snail mail: Dr. Leon James Psychology at University of Hawaii Honolulu, HI 96822

Take care and drive with Aloha spirit! **DrDriving**


Dr. James, I have really appreciated your work on Road Rage. I am an Employee Assistance Counselor, currently working with several federal agencies. I have been asked to give a presentation on anger and anger management and would like to include information on Road Rage. I am inquiring if I may have permission to hand out copies of your Web article Causes and Cure and introduce my audience to your net page. I would appreciate a response as soon as possible.

Thank you, Kate
Employee Assistance Counselor

Hi Kate, yes you have my permission for the handout as long as you include the source:

"DrDriving and his Web site at drdriving.org"

I would like a copy of your report because I try to keep track of what ideas other people are linking to mine, so I can serve the public better. I would appreciate it!



Hi, I am writing an article about road rage for a class. I really would like to speak to someone on the phone, although I have read much of the stuff on line. If you would email me a phone number where I can call you, that would be very helpful. Thank you! Brooke Foley University of Mass

I am the webmaster for our group's website. I am also Safety, Health and Ergonomics Focal for our group. I have set a link in our safety page to your site as I don't think anyone should succumb to road rage.

The most important attitude to keep in mind is "He missed me and I am now following him at a safe distance." Forgiveness goes a long way toward safe and sane driving.


Thanks for your very nice summary of the essence of supportive driving as advocated by DrDriving. Your words:

"The most important attitude to keep in mind is "He missed me and I am now following him at a safe distance." Forgiveness goes a long way toward safe and sane driving."

Fabulously accurate and perceptive! I posted your note on DrDriving's site for Random Acts of Kindness for Drivers page. Please continue to inform me of your activities on behalf of road rage--it shows me how to be a better Dr. Driving!


I am sorry I do not have much to what Holly mentioned but I have to agree with her. I feel that this class brings more awareness to my driving and makes me more open to other drivers. I try to be more aware on the road and I also feel that it is too bad that mostly if not only PSY majors take this course because it would be more beneficial to the student body at large.


In regards to this gentleman's problem, I would set up a group on campus that would promote safe driving and provide information promoting awareness concerning traffic fatalities and so on. These issues that are discussed in Dr. James' class are very important and are relevant to everyone whether they drive or not. Hopefully more universities will add Traffic Psy to their list of courses offered.

"All problems are 'gifts' from which you can grow" @-}----- **Tammy**



Hello. I've been reading your articles about road rage for a research paper. I would appreciate it if you could answer a few questions. I need to know when road rage first became so popular. I know that's it's always been around but not until recently has it become such a problem. If you have any further info you can send me, I would really appreciate it. Thanks.




About your question when road rage became a focus: I was one of the first experts to predict it--see my 1987 article in the Hawaii Mental Health Newsletter available here:

click here

Then came the AAA foundation study of 1996--then the media got hold of it. You can see the heightened interest month by month if you look at my interviews available here:

click here

The AAA study is also available from there as a link. I hope this helps.

Take care and drive with Aloha spirit! **DrDriving**

I am really glad that other people than ourselves are benefiting from our 459 Traffic Psychology class. I think that from now on all the issues that we address in our email discussions should be forwarded to Shadab so that he and his friends can learn more about the subject via our discussions. It is refreshing to know that we are helping other people who are thousands of miles away. In return we also get valuable information on what's taking place in terms of Traffic Psychology and road rage in other places other than the U.S.

My name is Samir and I am a graduating senior at The University of Florida. Several months ago an article was published in the schools newspaper (The Alligator) about your experiences in studying "road rage".

As a sociology major, and a licensed SCCA race car driver, I find "road rage" a very interesting subject; and I would like to ask you a few questions about your experiences, is this OK?

Really, what I to know is your opinion about the effects of a lack of parking on the occurrences of road rage. In other words, does the lack of having/finding a parking space increase the occurrence and likelihood of road rage.


Thanks for writing, Mr. S! Of course lack of parking spaces creates competition for what's there and this may lead to aggressive behavior. However, with a little training and compassion people can learn to act more harmoniously.


I have searched the Boeing Learning Center files for anything on road rage and found nothing. I need to know if you know of any good safety video on road rage. I would even be willing to purchase one, if it is not too expensive, and donate it to the Learning Center so that it could be shared throughout Boeing.

I never get tired of browsing your web site.



Hi James, thanks for your kind words about DrDriving's site! We are in the process of making a videotape on road rage and will of course let you know of details later.

Let me know more specifically what your interest is in road rage and whether it relates to your job.


Hello DrDriving- Enclosed is an outline of the Speech which I gave on the dangers of Road Rage. Thank-you for your help, and advice :-) Sincerely, Benjamin Ashley Snow Sophomore Colorado State University Hi Ashley, your speech is great! I was unable to decode it properly (all sorts of funny characters, etc.) but I was able to read the text. If you send it to me as Text Only pasted into the e-mail message (not as an attachment) I can post it on Dear. DrDriving Letters. It has a valuable restatement of the issue.
Hi DrDriving-

Thank-you for the complement, and thanks again for your help. Below is the full sentence outline which I used to form my Speech. Feel free to dissect it, and correct anything you feel needs to be restated in a better way :-)

Policy Speech

Specific Purpose: To inform my audience about the growing problem of Road Rage in our society and to support solvency through the Program C.A.R.R.


I. "All I did was honk my horn¶ and the driver of the new Ford Expedition next to me, pointed a rifle in my face!"

A. This scenario which happened to me down in Texas, and others like it are growing in frequency, and have been since 1990 at the rate of 7% a year. This according to a report by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. 1. I was driving down the road, and the big Expedition next to me tried to force me into the other lane of traffic. 2. All I did was honk my horn, so he wouldn't force me into oncoming traffic. 3. I didn't mouth, give the bird or make any gesture whatsoever towards the driver of the Expedition.

B. According to a recent article this last summer in the San Francisco Chronicle, "People used to scream at each other¶ now they shoot at each other, or they ram them with their cars. It's a major disease, and it's a contagious disease."

II. Today I will relate to you from my experiences above and through further examples the growing problem of what has commonly come to be known as Road Rage. By the end I hope to have convinced you that the severity of Road Rage is continuing to rise, and that through national Polices much like M.A.D.D. and S.A.D.D. we can control this contagious societal disease by teaching our children about the dangers of Road Rage.

(Transition: I will start by sharing with you a tragic individual example of what Road Rage can cause.)


I. As related to us in recent articles by both Time, and in U.S. News and World Report.

A. Last year, on Virginia's George Washington Parkway. 1. A dispute over a lane change was settled with a high-speed duel. 2. Which ended tragically when both drivers lost control, and crossed the centerline. 3. Killing two innocent motorists, including a mother of two.

B. In what was no doubt an exceptional case, last September. 1. A North Carolina driver's Ed teacher allegedly told his trainee to chase a driver who had cut them off. 2. After they caught up, the driver's Ed teacher got out, and punched the offending driver.

(Transition: Now that I have shared with you two examples of what insanity Road Rage, has caused. You may be asking yourself, "So what, that's just an isolated incident." Now I will tell you why the severity of these incidents is continuing to rise, and how we can resolve them.)

II. Again quoting from two sources, at Time and an article off the Internet, "What to do about Road Rage¶" which both reiterate the studies from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, and they tell us that Road Rage is a growing problem.

A. Again from the Article off the Internet, "Violent driving¶ has been increasing by 7% per year since 1990."

B. And from Time, "Incidents of Road Rage were up 51% in the first half of the decade. 1. There are 17% more cars in America than there were 10 years ago. 2. The number of drivers is only up 10%. 3. The number of miles driven has increased by 35% since 1987. 4. And the point is," There has only been a 1% increase in new roads built."

C. In the most comprehensive national survey on driving behavior so far a Michigan firm found that an astounding 80% of drivers are angry most or all of the time while driving. 1. So not only are roads more crowded than ever. 2. They are crowded with drivers whom science has now discovered to be extremely touchy.

D. According to Dr. Arnold Nerenberg PhD an expert in the field states that, "It is not only the numbers but the intensity of motoring anger that is rising." 1. The combination of higher amounts of drivers, and automobiles combined with the intensity is what makes Road Rage so dangerous.

III. At his website dedicated to this issue, according to Dr. Leon James PhD a renowned expert in the field, Road Rage is a "culture tantrum." In other words, we get furious when someone in public puts us in danger due to their carelessness or pushiness. Getting angry behind the wheel is a cultural norm in our society

A. Shown by these types of slogans that get triggered in our mind when we feel competitive as drivers which can be found on Dr. James website:

Ô^¬∑ don't be a wimp Ô^¬∑ don't let yourself be pushed around Ô^¬∑ assert yourself Ô^¬∑ don't let them get away with it Ô^¬∑ I've got my rights Ô^¬∑ now they've gone too far Ô^¬∑ etc. (insert any movie line which you think personally fits the bill)

B. These are fighting words in our mind placed there by our culture. We hear these words for years as children, expressed with great vehemence behind the wheel by our parents. 1. We see these attitudes on a daily basis on TV. a. In commercials that emphasize speed, power, and independence; in cartoons that portray road warriors on the offensive. b. In movies that celebrate drivers behaving badly as can be seen on a list Compiled by Dr. James at his website. c. By the time we start driving as an adolescent, we have had many years of learning opportunities for aggressive driving and hostile attitudes.

IV Again according to Dr. James since aggressive driving is a culturally transmitted and sanctioned habit, we need to start with our children to avoid breeding another generation of aggressive and violent drivers and pedestrians.

A. Accordingly Dr. James has evidenced that children also exhibit negative tendencies against drivers and can behave very aggressively as pedestrians. 1. Later they get a driver's license and drive aggressively.

B. CARR (Children Against Road Rage) is a newly proposed organization patterned after MADD and SADD--Mothers/ Students Against Drunk Driving. 1. Its purpose is to form local (non profit private sector funding )organizations of children, supervised by adults a. In which they learn to develop emotionally intelligent road behaviors b. As pedestrians, cyclists, vehicle passengers, and later, as student drivers. c. CARR joins the many child advocacy groups that attempt to protect children from violence and abuse at home, in school, or on the streets.

C. CARR will be the first such organization specifically to protect children from Road Rage and aggressive driving. 1. Since these are culturally inherited and generationally transmitted patterns of violence, only a generational approach can reverse the process. a. As passengers for many years, children witness the Road Rage thinking and hostile behavior of drivers. b. They are vulnerable to absorbing this type of violence and so they need a socially organized mechanism for learning how to stay clear of it with a positive counter-philosophy.


I. In conclusion, today I have briefly related to you from my experiences with Road Rage and through other tragic examples the growing issue Road Rage has created. I hope to this end that I have convinced you of the severity of this problem, knowing that through national Polices like C.A.R.R. attributed to Dr. Leon James aka DrDriving we can control this contagious societal disease by teaching our children about the dangers of Road Rage.

A. My own experiences have caused me to be more cautious. B. The number of incidents continues to rise by 7% a year. C. The growth of new roads is negligible compared to the number of new automobiles. D. It's not only the numbers but it is compounded by the intensity of the incidents. 1. People used to scream at each other, now they shoot each other. E. Programs such as C.A.R.R. can help to give our children positive ways of coping with the frustrations of driving they will face in the future.

II I leave you with a passage quoted By the President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints Gordon B. Hinckley to the church membership over this last week-end concerning the ills of Road Rage. The passage he quoted is contained in the Holy Scripture from the book of Proverbs Chapter sixteen verse thirty-two.

A. He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty; and he that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh a city.



James King et. al. King James Version: Holy Bible. Great Britain: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, 1993. Nerenberg, Dr. Arnold P. Nerenberg, PhD. The 10 Step Compassion Program. Los Angeles: Wasatch Press, ltd., 1997.

Magazines or Newspaper Article

Taylor, Michael. "ROAD RAGE- Ugly increase in acts of freeway fury." San Franciso Chronicle 16th June 1997: 5-6. Cohen, Warren, Mike Tharp, Jason Vest. "ROAD RAGE." U.S. News and World Report 2nd June 1997

Ferguson, Andrew. "ROAD RAGE." Time 12th Jan. 1998

Internet Sources

James, Dr. Leon, PhD.  Aggressive Driving and Road Rage
Impaired Drivers.17 July 1997. URL: 
click here

James, Dr. Leon Christ Against Road Rage. 2000

P.D.E. Publications, Inc. Trivial Incidents Trigger Traffic
Violence.03 March 1998. URL: 

Pepper, Mark. What to do about Road Rage..  03 March 1998.
URL:  click here

Hinckley, Gordon B. 168th World Annual General Conference.
04 April 1998. URL: 
http://lds.org/General_Conference/98_Apr/98_Apr click here

Satellite Broadcasts

168th World Annual General Conference.  Bonneville Communications
Group, World-Wide Coverage 4th April 1998.

I must confess that I am 19 and your enemy. I have obtained a radar detector from a local store, and am now getting away with aggressive driving. Radar detectors are a beautiful thing as they allow us to realize when we are in danger of getting a ticket. It's all part of the driving game. Those who's minds easily drift or those who have slow reflexes are the ones who will fall.......

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