The influence of impulsivity and the Dark Triad on self-reported aggressive driving behaviours

Accid Anal Prev. 2018 Nov;120:130-138. doi: 10.1016/j.aap.2018.08.010. Epub 2018 Aug 13.


The present study tested the role of Dark Triad traits (DT; narcissism, psychopathy, and Machiavellianism) as potential contributors to self-reported aggressive driving alongside driving anger, general aggression, impulsiveness, and attributions of malign driving intent. Members of the general community (N = 168) completed an online survey battery measuring these characteristics, and a proxy measure of aggressive driving. Regression analyses revealed that psychopathy, a history of physical aggression towards others, and the "progress impeded" aspect of driving anger, accounted for 50.8% of the variance in self-reported aggressive driving behaviours. The remaining variables were not significant. A structural equation model found all measures fitted into a single model in which impulsivity and the DT predicted general aggression, general aggression fully mediated the effect of the DT on driving anger, and general aggression and progress impedance predicted self-reported aggressive driving (GFI = 0.925). These results indicate tendencies toward expressing aggression physically, frustration at goals being impeded, and a callous, impulsive nature can predispose an individual to aggressive driving behaviours. Implications of these findings and recommendations for research are discussed.

Keywords: Aggressive driving; DAS; Dark Triad; Driving anger; PADS; Personality.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aggression / psychology
  • Anger
  • Antisocial Personality Disorder / psychology
  • Automobile Driving / psychology*
  • Female
  • Frustration
  • Humans
  • Impulsive Behavior
  • Machiavellianism
  • Male
  • Narcissism
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Regression Analysis
  • Self Report*