Reason Foundation

Reason Foundation

What youíre really angry about

Ted Balaker
February 5, 2006, 11:53am

When another driver cuts you off and you honk like mad, what are you really angry about? Is it that you could have been hurt or your car could have been smashed? Perhaps something more primal is at work: Article here. Another reason why people are more likely to go nuts while driving is that they're shielded by thousands of pounds of armor. Folks are less likely to flip each other off while standing in line at the bank and that's because most of us prefer to avoid physical confrontations, especially with those who look like they could beat our faces in. Yet when we're on the road we don't have to make those "I wonder if I could take this guy" calculations. All that armor also makes it harder to pick up on subtle but important social cues. Someone at the bank may accidentally cut in front of you but the person's sheepish look may say "I'm sorry" before the lips do. But when we're driving honest, malice-free mistakes are harder to notice and we're more likely to assign ugly motives to the SOB who cut us off. NOTE: I've emerged from hibernation and will begin blogging again. Sam Staley and I have been hustling to meet a deadline for a book that explores the importance of mobility (it also touches on some psychological aspects similar to the themes discussed above). The book will be out later this year and you can bet that we'll do a lot of blabbing about it.

Ted Balaker is Producer

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