17 October 2012

Frequent drivers are invited to take part in a study to help understand why people lose their cool behind the wheel.

PhD researcher Lauren Shaw, from the Centre for Accident Research and Road Safety - Qld (CARRS-Q) at QUT, needs 150 participants from Queensland for a study that will examine aggressive driving.

She said surveys showed many people were concerned about drivers becoming more aggressive on the road, but there was little research into the issue.

"The project is trying to understand why everyday people get angry when they drive," Ms Shaw said.

"Some people say they are not an aggressive person but when they drive they get really angry. For example, they will flash their lights, beep their horn or make rude gestures.

"Aggressive driving can increase the likelihood of being involved in a crash. Surveys show up to 80 to 90 per cent of drivers report being a victim of aggressive driving."

Ms Shaw said some people became enraged by slow drivers, tailgating, speeding or poor merging.

She said often it was difficult to distinguish victims from perpetrators, preventing researchers from understanding the underlying causes of aggressive driving.

Ms Shaw said aggressive driving differed from 'road rage'.

"Road rage reflects deliberately violent acts on the road, so criminal behaviour. Aggressive driving refers to behaviours that aren't criminal such as horn-honking, yelling, flashing lights," she said.

Participants will be asked to keep a log book about behaviours that annoy them when they drive over a one week period, as well as complete questions on any experiences with driver conflict.

Some participants will be randomly selected for follow-up telephone interviews after completing the log book.

Drivers must be 18 years of age or older, hold a current drivers licence and drive at least once every 48 hours to take part.

Participants will receive a $25 Coles/Myer gift voucher after completing the study. Those who complete a follow-up interview will receive an additional $10 voucher.

For more information, please contact the principal researcher, Lauren Shaw on

Unlicensed driving process needs overhaul
Study into what triggers aggressive drivers

Media contact:
Stephanie Harrington, QUT media officer, 3138 1150,

PhD researcher Lauren Shaw needs participants for a study into aggressive driving.