Correlation between bumper stickers on cars and driver aggression

That “Mediate, Don’t Litigate” bumper sticker may reveal a lot more about you than the fact that you support ADR — it may be warning other drivers that you’re aggressive behind the wheel.

In “Looking to Avoid Aggressive Drivers? Check Those Bumpers“, the Washington Post reports that people who personalize their cars display higher levels of aggression than those who don’t, according to a study by Colorado State University social psychologist William Szlemko:

Drivers of cars with bumper stickers, window decals, personalized license plates and other “territorial markers” not only get mad when someone cuts in their lane or is slow to respond to a changed traffic light, but they are far more likely than those who do not personalize their cars to use their vehicles to express rage — by honking, tailgating and other aggressive behavior.

It does not seem to matter whether the messages on the stickers are about peace and love — “Visualize World Peace,” “My Kid Is an Honor Student” — or angry and in your face — “Don’t Mess With Texas,” “My Kid Beat Up Your Honor Student.”

(Hat tip to The Situationist.)

                        author

Diane J. Levin

Diane Levin, J.D., is a mediator, dispute resolution trainer, negotiation coach, writer, and lawyer based in Marblehead, Massachusetts, who has instructed people from around the world in the art of talking it out. Since 1995 she has helped clients resolve disputes involving tort, employment, business, estate, family, and real property… MORE >

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