We probably all know someone who thinks they are a much better driver than everyone else. They maintain that everyone else on the road is disrespectful, slow and bad at driving. They are the only ones who know how to drive well.
However, these same drivers who admire their own driving capabilities above all others could actually be quite dangerous.
Narcissism and aggression
A narcissist is someone who may break the rules and be self-involved. They can have inflated views of themselves and their abilities, and they can lack empathy for others.
According to recent research, drivers who exhibit these narcissistic traits are more likely to be aggressive drivers.
The study evaluated attitudes and behaviors of drivers with certain traits, from selfishness to inflated self-views. Then, in a driving simulation, researchers found that drivers with higher narcissism scores engaged in dangerous, aggressive driving more often.
In fact, three people with especially high narcissism scores got into accidents others avoided.
Researchers suggest that narcissistic people believe their time is more valuable than everyone else’s time. These drivers also were more likely to become aggressive when road conditions or other driver behaviors did not go their way. They became impatient and angry, often making dangerous decisions as a result.
Holding aggressive drivers accountable
Aggressive driving is reportedly the cause of roughly 50 percent of all traffic accidents in this country. Yet, every day, there are drivers who engage in such behaviors. They may:
- Follow others too closely
- Pass others on the shoulder or in between lanes of traffic
- Yell, honk their horn or use offensive gestures
- Drive too fast for road conditions
- Drive off the road
These actions put other drivers in danger, and they can cause catastrophic crashes.
If you or someone you know displays narcissistic, aggressive attitudes while driving, it can be wise to think about this study. Knowing that there may be a connection between such attitudes and the risk of crashing could spark changes in driving habits that keep everyone a little safer.