Abusing the Roadway "Commons": Understanding Aggressive Driving Through an Environmental Preservation Theory

This paper discusses aggressive driving from the viewpoint of a systematic theory to understand the causes, in context, of reckless driving behavior. Aggressive driving consists of some or all of the following behaviors: red light running, using the vehicle as a weapon, weaving, tailgating, speeding, or gesturing angrily. One idea put forth relating to the understanding of aggressive driving has to do with the "commons" or shared roadway. The shared roadway is abused (through aggressive driving) when the driving population is too large (overpopulation) and highway capacity cannot keep up. This leads to frustration on the drivers' part, and ultimately to aggressive driving. Another cause of aggressive driving is the abundance of large vehicles (like sports utility vehicles) that impede the visibility of passenger cars behind them. This also leads to frustrated drivers who may tend to drive aggressively. Some recommendations for saving the roadway commons are as follows: perceived and real consequences (for example, public disclosure of violators), and increasing consequences (red light cameras). Challenges to saving the common are also addressed. One possible countermeasure is called "small wins", which addresses one measure at a time. Any individual traffic enforcement measure that might be effective could be classified as a small win, for example, red light cameras at intersections.


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Print
  • Edition: First Edition
  • Features: Figures; References;
  • Pagination: pp 165-175
  • Monograph Title: Traffic and Transport Psychology: Theory and Application. Proceedings of the ICTTP 2000

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01002890
  • Record Type: Publication
  • ISBN: 008043925X
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Aug 1 2005 12:15PM