OJHAS Vol. 10, Issue 2:
|Road Rage Menace: A Cross-sectional Study to Assess Driver Anger Level in Public
Motor Vehicle Drivers in a City in Central India
Sanjay Dixit, Professor and Head, Department of Community Medicine,
Deepa Raghunath, Assistant Professor, Department of Community Medicine
Anil Krishna Bhagwat, Professor, Department of Community Medicine,
Amit Kumar Mehto, Aditya Singh
Chouhan, Anand Nema, Anchal Upadhyay, Anil Solanki, Third year medical
MGM Medical College, Indore
Dr. Deepa Raghunath,
Address for Correspondence
of Community Medicine,
MGM Medical College, Indore - 452001
Dixit S, Deepa R, Bhagwat AK, Mehto AK, Chouhan AS, Nema A, Upadhyay
A, Solanki A. Road Rage Menace: A Cross-sectional Study to Assess Driver Anger Level in Public
Motor Vehicle Drivers in a City in Central India. Online J Health Allied Scs.
Submitted: May 4,
2011; Accepted: Jul 14, 2011; Published: Jul 30, 2011
Introduction: Road rage and
aggressive driving is a prevalent condition in today’s society due
to motorists’ frustrations during heavy traffic volumes. Objective:
This study was done to assess the level of anger amongst the drivers
of public transport vehicles in Indore, using Driving Anger Scale (DAS
by Deffenbacher et. al.) and various factors affecting it. Material and
Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted among 135 drivers of
Public transport vehicle drivers (Star bus, City-van and star cab drivers)
in Indore to assess their anger level using Driving Anger Scale. The
participants were required to record the amount of anger they would
experience in response to each item in the scale (1=not at all angry,
2=a little angry, 3=some anger, 4=much anger, 5=very much angry). Results: The mean DAS score
in Indore was found to be 3.013 and in the three organizations namely
Star bus drivers, City van drivers and Star cab drivers was 2.92, 3.08
and 3.04 respectively. The DAS score of drivers with respect to
the 6 sub-scales were: hostile gestures (Star bus -3.42,City van -3.67,Star
cab -3.38), slow driving (Star bus -2.73,City van driv-2.78,Star cab-3.17),
traffic obstructions (Star bus-2.85,City van -3.25,Star cab-3.18), discourtesy
(Star bus -3.23,City van-3.33,Star cab -3.25)and police presence (Star
bus -2.15,City van -1.99,Star cab -2.78), illegal driving (Star bus -3.04,City
van -3.14,Star cab -2.89). The DAS scores of the drivers did not vary
significantly with age group, experience, and educational qualification. Conclusion: Though DAS scores
did not vary between the three groups of drivers, however average level
anger for various given circumstances commonly found in
the Indian traffic scenario was on the higher side.
Scale; Road rage; Aggressive driving
Road rage and aggressive driving are prevalent in today’s society due to motorists’
frustrations during heavy traffic volumes.’ Road rage' is aggressive
or angry behavior by a driver of an automobile or other motor vehicle.
Such behavior might include rude gestures, verbal insults, deliberately
driving in an unsafe or threatening manner, or making threats. Road
rage can lead to altercations, assaults, and collisions which result
in injuries and even deaths. It can be thought of as an extreme case
of aggressive driving.
It has been found that most
of the drivers have a feeling of "Road Rage" because it is
a cultural norm. Angst and frustration while driving on Indian roads
comes naturally, which translates into "Road Rage". People
learn this behavior from childhood when being driven by parents and
adults. In day to day life, there are many conditions associated with
"Road Rage"; including: traffic congestion, driving habits,
weather conditions, noise levels, time constraints. Some times it can
be an instinctive response of careless driving by another driver. With
reference to the historical records, in 1997, the U.S therapists have
worked to claim "Road Rage" a medical disorder.
Many of the myths have been
associated with "Road Rage. To list a few:
- Road Safety needs
a term like "road rage".
- Everyone understands
what is meant by road rage.
- Road rage is ever
- We are all capable
of road rage.
- Road rage is on
- Victims are usually
- The cause of road
rage is our own road system.
- We need new laws
to cover road rage.
- Road rage can't
- Road rage is a major
road safety problem requiring more effort and resources. (1)
So, it raises two questions
"Should we worry about Road Rage?" And “How can we
Research into the phenomenon
of aggressive driving and road rage has often utilized a measure of
driving anger. These measures are commonly used to assess the factors
that may influence a person to act aggressively on the road. In 1994,
American researchers, Deffenbacher, Oetting and Lynch devised a 33 item
measure of general ‘driving anger’, called the Driving Anger Scale
(DAS) (2). Driving anger was conceptualized as a personality trait related
to an individual’s underlying predisposition for anger, but specific
to road situations (2). The measure consists of a series of statements
representing road behaviors displayed by ‘others’, e.g. ‘someone
is driving well above the speed limit’ and specific driving related
situations, e.g. ‘someone backs out in front of you without looking’.
The items formed six subscales, which were named: hostile gestures,
illegal driving, slow driving, traffic obstructions, discourtesy and
police presence (2).
This study tries to assess the
anger level of Public Motor Vehicle Drivers using Driving anger scale (2)
and various factors affecting it, since they are subjected to all the woes of
the traffic scenario on a daily basis for longer duration.
This was a cross-sectional study conducted amongst the Public transport
drivers to assess their anger level. The public transport in Indore
consists of Star bus, Star cab and City van. The Star bus and the Star
cab are run by Autonomous bodies as a part of public –private partnership,
while City van is privately owned. This study was done in a in the
predecided sample of 135 drivers (Star bus-50, Star cab-35 , City van-50).The
first 50 drivers from each organization who were willing to participate
in the study were included in the study. However in the star cab
only 35 drivers were willing to participate, hence the sample size was
cut down from previously decided sample size of 150 to 135.Prior permission
for the study was also sought from the respective Heads of Star bus
and Star Cab organizations.
were administered the two part, predesigned, semi-structured questionnaire
(Part1-Demographic data and Part2-DAS) during their Break Hours or during
the change of their shifts in their respective premises of the organization.
The questionnaire comprised of Demographic data i.e., their age, educational
status, salary, working hours per day, duration of experience as drivers,
h/o consumption of tobacco ,alcohol etc and Driving Anger Scale(DAS).
The 33 item, original DAS (Deffenbacher et al, 1994) was translated
into Hindi and back translated to English, and then administered to
all the participants. The sub-scales of DAS were: hostile gestures,
illegal driving, slow driving, traffic obstructions,discourtesy and
police presence. The participants were required to record the amount
of anger they would experience in response to each item (1=not at all
angry, 2=a little angry, 3=some anger, 4=much anger, 5=very much angry).
The collected data was entered
into MSEXCEL spreadsheet and analyzed using SPSS (Statistical package
for social sciences) version 17. An appropriate statistical test like
Kruskal-Wallis was applied wherever necessary.
This study was done
in 135 Public Motor vehicle drivers .About 81% of drivers were below
the age of 40 years. Higher age group drivers were found in city van
drivers, 52%of which were above the age of 35 years .In Star bus and
Star cab, 74% and 64% of drivers were below 35 years of age. About 60%
of the drivers were matriculate and above. The star bus drivers were
among the most educated drivers, 80% being matriculate and above. Among
the City van and Star cab drivers, 38%and 63% were matriculate and above.
About 72% of drivers monthly salaries were in the range of 4000-6000
rupees. About 80%, 82% and 50% of Star bus, Star cab and City van
drivers earned 4000-6000 rupees a month. 30%of city van drivers earned
salary between 2000-4000 a month.
About 63% of drivers worked
for more than 10 hours a day.92% and 97% of City van and Star cab drivers
worked for more than 10 hours. About 44% of star bus drivers worked
8-10 hours daily and 10% worked for more than 10 hours a day. About
66% of the drivers interviewed had nightshifts (worked after 8 P.M.).78%,
74% and 48% of Star bus, Star cab and City van drivers had night
shift duties on a regular basis. About 65% of drivers had driving experience
of more than 10 years. Among Star bus, Star cab and City van drivers,
66%, 68% and 58% had work experience as a driver for more than 10 years.77%
of drivers consumed either tobacco or alcohol. Among Star bus, Star
cab and City van drivers, 68%, 88% and77% consumed either of the above.
Majority of drivers (65%) did not report being involved in any accident
till date. Among Star bus, Star cab and City van drivers, 30%, 44%,
25% reported being involved in 1 or more accidents. Maximum number of drivers (62%) reported
the condition of their vehicle as good. 42% of drivers of City van reported
the condition of their vehicle as ok only.
Driving anger scale
Mean anger recorded on DAS scale among the drivers in Indore was
3.013,standard deviation-0.7.There was no significant difference (p-value-
.497) in the anger levels of drivers of various organizations
i.e. Star bus(2.92,0.75), Star cab (3.03,0.78)and City van (3.08,0.61).
The mean anger level recorded
for various subscales of Driving Anger scale for drivers of the three
organizations is shown in the table below:
Table1: Subscale means of DAS
of Star bus, Star cab and City van drivers
No. of Items
Star Bus drivers
City Van Drivers
Star Cab Drivers|
The mean anger
levels in all organizations were less especially in the police presence.
The drivers became angrier with items on discourtesy and hostile gestures.
table shows the item wise distribution of the mean anger recorded on the driving
Table 2: Mean
and standard deviation of DAS (31 items) in order of presentation to
||Someone in front of you does
not move off straight away when the light turns green
||Someone is driving too fast
for the road conditions
||A pedestrian walks slowly
across the middle of the street, slowing you down
||Someone is driving too slowly
in the outside lane, and holding up traffic
||Someone is driving very close
to your rear bumper
||Someone cuts in and
comes right in front of your motorway.
||Someone cuts in and takes
the parking spot you have been waiting for
||Someone is driving more slowly
than is reasonable for the traffic flow
||A slow vehicle on a winding
road will not pull over and let people pass
||You see a police car watching
traffic from a hidden position.
||Someone backs out right in
front of you without looking
||Someone coming towards you
does not dim their headlights at night
||At night someone is driving
behind you with bright lights on
||Someone speeds up when you
try to pass them
||Someone is slow in parking
and holds up traffic
||You are stuck in a traffic
||Someone makes an obscene gesture
towards you about your driving
||You hit a deep pothole that
was not marked
||A police car is driving in
traffic close to you
||Someone beeps at you about
||Someone is driving well above
the speed limit
||You are driving behind a truck
which has material flapping around in the back
||Someone shouts at you about
||A cyclist is riding in the
middle of the lane and slowing traffic
||A police officer pulls you
||You are driving behind a vehicle
that is smoking badly or giving off diesel fumes
||A truck kicks up sand or gravel
on the car you are driving
||You are driving behind a large
truck and cannot see around it
||You encounter road construction
||Someone runs a red light or
a stop sign
||Someone is weaving in and
out of traffic
*2 items on
the scale were excluded as it was not found applicable to Indore
Various demographic variables
The mean anger
recorded on DAS did not vary significantly in the different age groups
(p-value-0.78), 20-24 years-3.12, 25-29 years -2.9, 30-34 years-2.87,
35-39 years-3.07, above 40 years-2.96. The mean anger recorded on DAS
did not vary significantly with educational qualification (p-value-0.609), <8th
pass-3.08, 8th pass-3.1, 10th pass-2.94, 12th
pass-2.86, bachelor degree-2.86, master degree-2.5.Drivers with lower
educational status recorded a higher anger level on the DAS scale.
There was a significant difference
observed between anger levels with mean hours of working(p-value-.029),4-6
hours-4.03,6-8 hours-3.28,8-10 hours-2.74,above 10 hours-2.94.There
was only a single driver who worked for 4-6 hours and so higher mean
is seen. The
mean anger levels in drivers with different experience levels (number
of years since started driving) did not vary much(p-value -0.507),0-4
years-3.001,5-9 years-3.05,10-14 years-3.107,15-19 years-2.86,above
20 years-3.08.the mean anger level did not vary significantly between
the drivers who had night shift duties as compared to the ones having
regular night shifts (p-value-.099), though the mean anger levels were
recorded higher in drivers with night shifts (no nightshifts-2.87, regular
The mean anger level did not
vary significantly with consumption of tobacco or alcohol among the
drivers (p-value-0.747), (no habits-3.03, only tobacco-3.007, only alcohol-3.282,
and both 2.96).
The mean anger levels were
lower in drivers with no previous history of accident during duty hours;
however it was statistically insignificant (p-value-0.387); (no accident-2.94, 1
episode-3.06, 2 episodes-3.22, 3and more-3.41).
The mean anger levels did not
vary significantly with what drivers felt with respect to the condition
of the vehicle(p-value-0.366); (average-2.95, good-3.08, very good-2.82.)
This study used
driving anger scale by Deffenbacher et al (2) to assess the level of
driver anger in professional drivers. Some of studies using driving
anger scale have been done in Australia (study population was students),
UK and the USA (study population was general population). As seen in
Table 3, the drivers in India responded most to hostile gestures and
discourtesy. Irrespective of nationality, everybody responded most
to discourtesy and hostile gestures. The mean anger levels were least
in police presence, though it was higher than Australian and UK drivers.
The mean level of anger recorded were higher than Australian and UK
drivers .However, this comparison is not altogether appropriate as the
traffic scenario in India is very different from the any of above mentioned
countries. Even though the traffic scenario is different, the authors
feel that it should be similar to other countries because they were
professional drivers, moreover the items mentioned on the scale are
very common on the Indian roads, so they should have got conditioned
to it and experience less anger. It should also be remembered that the
Driving Anger Scale is a measure of anger experienced but not that of
Table 3: Subscale Means
of Indian public vehicle drivers compared to Australian Drivers, UK
and US Drivers (2-4)
Public vehicle Drivers, India
The authors expected that mean
anger level would be less with increasing age, educational qualification
and more in drivers of private organization. However in this study,
the driving anger level did not vary significantly with age (p-value-0.78),
educational qualification (p-value-0.609), experience (p-value -0.507),
the type of organization the drivers belonged to (p-value- .497), personal
habits like tobacco consumption (p-value-0.747) and condition of the
vehicles (p-value-0.366). It was observed in the study that more than
50% of drivers worked for more than 10 hours a day. Surprisingly, the
driver anger was significantly different with the number of working
hours (p-value-.029), and the mean anger level was recorded higher for
the drivers who had lesser working hours (4-6 hours-4.03,6-8 hours-3.28,8-10
hours-2.74,above 10 hours-2.94).This may be because there was only a
single driver with working hours of about 4-6 hours. The other reason
may be that workers with longer duration of working hours become conditioned
to unfavorable traffic conditions, hence experienced less anger.
One of the very important reasons
the drivers on the whole registered higher levels of anger compared
to other countries was their longer working hours without appropriate
break between the driving periods.
Some of the measures which
could help drivers in coping up with their anger would be increasing
their awareness about originators of aggressive driving, the driver’s
own behaviour and how to deal with aggressive behaviour of other drivers.
They should also have some regular sessions where they are taught some
relaxation exercise which could help them cope up with the adverse situations.
This may not be possible with the private vehicle drivers but is certainly
possible in the government undertakings.
Everybody who has applied for
public vehicle driver’s license should undergo training on factors
leading to aggressive driving, dealing with their own aggressive behaviour
and others aggressive behaviour on road before issue of the license.
The existing legislative measures
with respect to traffic like higher fines, loss of license, warning
letters, mandatory jail time etc. should be enforced. This will act
as an effective barrier towards aggressive driving.
Development of intelligent
transportation system like having intersection cameras, which can capture
the “Red light runners’ and “speeders“ and these photographs
can be used to counter the offenders. This method makes it possible to detect
the offenders without the physical presence of the officers on the spot.
Some of the limitations of
this study might be reporting less anger by the drivers as they had
already been informed about the purpose of the study. This study only
correlated some of the demographic variables like age, education etc.
with the driving anger level of the drivers. One of the very important
variables like the personality of the drivers was not assessed in this
study. Hence a further such study that correlates personality and driver
anger is recommended by the authors.
would also like to thank Dr.Salil Sakalle, Dr.Veena Yesikar, Dr.Geeta
Shivram and Dr.Rahul Rokade for their valuable inputs for the study.
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D, Stradling G. Dimensions of driver anger, aggressive
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