Rude drivers turn “good” drivers bad

“Good” drivers turn bad when faced with poor driver etiquette from others, according to QUT research.

Lauren Shaw, from QUT’s Centre for Accident Research & Road Safety – Queensland(CARRS-Q), said there was a widespread belief among drivers that their own on-road performance was good, and they expected other people’s driving behaviour to be poor.

“It becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy when drivers respond aggressively to behaviour they think is bad,” she said.

“My studies found common on-road events that trigger driver aggression from ‘good’ drivers were actions like poor merging, cutting off behaviours and tailgating.

“Although these behaviours are all dangerous, the reason they aroused anger was because the receiving driver thought it to be rude, inconsiderate and disrespectful. The offending driver had violated appropriate driver etiquette.”

Ms Shaw said typical responses from ‘good’ but angered drivers were sounding their horn, flashing their lights or verbally venting their frustration.

She said the underlying motivation for these behaviours was to let drivers know they had behaved poorly, so that they would not repeat the behaviour in future.

“It’s a contradiction. Good drivers are using rude and unpleasant bad behaviour to teach other drivers how to be better drivers,” she said.