Taking a look behind the wheel: an investigation into the personality predictors of aggressive driving

Accid Anal Prev. 2012 Mar;45:1-9. doi: 10.1016/j.aap.2011.11.012. Epub 2011 Dec 26.


The present study evaluated a theoretical model of the relationships among six aspects of driver personality (i.e., driving anger and the Big Five personality factors), aggressive driving, and two outcomes of aggressive driving: motor vehicle crashes and moving violations. Data from 308 drivers recruited from two vehicle licensing offices were analyzed using structural equation modeling. As expected, aggressive driving predicted crashes and moving violations. Based on the zero-order correlations, emotional stability, agreeableness, and conscientiousness were related to aggressive driving in the expected directions; however, the picture changed when the joint effects of all variables were examined via structural equation modeling. A model in which driver personality predicted aggressive driving, which in turn predicted crashes and moving violations was supported. Drivers who were high on driving anger and low on agreeableness reported driving more aggressively. Implications for traffic safety professionals and researchers are discussed.

MeSH terms

  • Accidents, Traffic / prevention & control
  • Accidents, Traffic / psychology
  • Aggression / psychology*
  • Anger
  • Automobile Driving / psychology*
  • Character*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Individuality
  • Male
  • Models, Psychological
  • Personality Inventory / statistics & numerical data
  • Psychometrics
  • Risk Factors
  • Risk-Taking