People who customize their cars with stickers and other adornments are more prone to road rage than other people, according to researchers in Colorado.
People who had a larger number of personalized items on or in their car were 16% more likely to engage in road rage, the researchers report in the journal Applied Social Psychology¹.
"The number of territory markers predicted road rage better than vehicle value, condition or any of the things that we normally associate with aggressive driving," say Szlemko. What's more, only the number of bumper stickers, and not their content, predicted road rage — so "Jesus saves" may be just as worrying to fellow drivers as "Don't mess with Texas".
"This work clearly demonstrates that people will actively defend a space or territory that they feel attached to and have personalized with markers," Fraine says. Szlemko suggests that this territoriality may encourage road rage because drivers are simultaneously in a private space (their car) and a public one (the road).