Watch Out for Bumper Stickers

Bumperstickers270

If you want to spot cars you should keep your distance from, look no further than their bumpers. A social psychologist at Colorado State University conducted a study of drivers and found that those who displayed bumper stickers, window decals, vanity plates or other territorial markers were more likely to be aggressive drivers, which means that perhaps they don't respond well if you honk at them.

The study associated all kinds of poor driving behavior with these so-called "territorial markers," including tailgating, honking, flipping the bird and road rage. The funny part is that it doesn't matter what the marker is. A Prius driver with a "Kucinich for President" bumper sticker is just as likely to display aggressive driving behavior as the driver of a pickup with a Confederate flag decal.

This behavior is closely linked to evolutionary reactions to people's environments — or what we consider "public" and "private" spaces. A car is a private space within public territory and, according to researchers, personalizing that private space is a way for aggressive individuals to mark their territory.

In other words, steer clear of that mom who's so freakin’ proud of her honor student.

Got Bumper Stickers? You Might Be Prone to Road Rage (Washington Post)

By Stephen Markley | June 19, 2008 | Comments (13)
Tags: In The News

Comments 

Red

I've noticed that minivans with the "Sport" model designation can be vehicles to be wary of, along with pickup trucks with oversized brand logos in the back window.

Nic

That's funny. I drive a 350Z and I have a vanity plate that says "be a blood donor" with O POS as the plate number. My mother thinks I am an aggressive driver...and well, I guess I have to admit I am!

J

The most aggressive I've seen has no decals at all.
The second most aggressive has one that reads: Lost your job yet? Keep buying foreign!

Gary R

^^ Good one! If we keep buying foreign, all the mechanics will have nothing to do but $190 transmission flushes.

Kyle

Actually, around my area I've found that the people with Nascar stickers on their cars drive like grandmas: 5-10mph UNDER the speed limit and without turn signals. I've come to find out that if the person in front of me has a Nascar sticker it's time to hit the gas and pass lol. Maybe the stickers make the people BEHIND them aggressive haha.

Kyle

Nothing against Nascar by the way, just an observation in my area :)

Ever notice how cops have stickers all over the car :-)

Hmmm... Not sure if I'm buying this... sounds like a similar argument that people with tattoos can be considered more aggressive. Not sure why personal expression should not be considered hostile as a given. In my experience, Only when one attempts to limit or control personal expression, should one be nervous about such aggression.

Of course this University has a study, and I don't, but I wonder if the bumpersticker is a byproduct of other factors, instead of something this direct.

... Says the guy with bumper stickers on one car, and none on his other...

Ever notice how cops have stickers all over the car :-)

Hmmm... Not sure if I'm buying this... sounds like a similar argument that people with tattoos can be considered more aggressive. Not sure why personal expression should not be considered hostile as a given. In my experience, Only when one attempts to limit or control personal expression, should one be nervous about such aggression.

Of course this University has a study, and I don't, but I wonder if the bumpersticker is a byproduct of other factors, instead of something this direct.

... Says the guy with bumper stickers on one car, and none on his other...

Ever notice how cops have stickers all over the car :-)

Hmmm... Not sure if I'm buying this... sounds like a similar argument that people with tattoos can be considered more aggressive. Not sure why personal expression should not be considered hostile as a given. In my experience, Only when one attempts to limit or control personal expression, should one be nervous about such aggression.

Of course this University has a study, and I don't, but I wonder if the bumpersticker is a byproduct of other factors, instead of something this direct.

... Says the guy with bumper stickers on one car, and none on his other...

J

Gary,

That's a good one! Maybe I should make it into a new "rebuttal" sticker to those folks.

Well, they can still rotate the tires and perform oil changes, plus coolant flush, etc.

Gary R

Hey J! I'm just teasing about buying foreign. I can honestly say that pretty much everybody is building a pretty decent car these days. Of course, there are the exceptions. But, as far as Ford, GM, and Chrysler, they definitely aren't dumping the crap on us as they have in the past. Strange thing is, what's a domestic these days? Ford, GM, and Chrysler build a lot of vehicles in Canada, Mexico, etc. At least they are built on the same continent. It's interesting that so many of those that were formerly imports are built in the US and have outstanding consumer and professional ratings and reviews. Is it still a domestic when it's built out of the US but with parts from within the US? I think that is the criterion.

J

I've been asking the same question the whole time. What is domestic? What is import?
Does it depend on where was it build? Or just a nameplate?
Some folks just don't understand the concept of globalism and continue to say that only the nameplate counts.

Jeff

I saw one today that said "My Golden Retriever is Smarter Than Your Honor Student," On a Volvo.

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