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70 Police J. 263 (1997)
Research into Causes and Manifestations of Aggression in Car Driving

handle is hein.journals/policejl70 and id is 269 raw text is: DR L.F. LOWENSTEIN, MA, Dip.Psych., Chartered
Psychologist BPS
Director and Consultant Psychologist, Allington Manor School and
Therapeutic Community, Hampshire, UK
An Illustration
Mr Smith (not his real name) left the house in his car to drive to work. He
was no different from any other person using a vehicle to get to work. What
was perhaps different about him was that he carried a machete in his car.
He had been a client whom I had attempted to treat for aggressive
behaviour and most especially aggression while driving. He revealed to
me that he had carried the machete because when he was angry with
another driver he felt very much like using it. In fact on a number of
occasions, machete in hand, he had chased a driver who had cut him up,
as he put it, or who drove too slowly in front of him. Thus far he had not
used this weapon. Smith had already spent a period in prison for attacking
a number of people and as he was a tall (6ft 4in) and broad man, he was
powerful. He suffered from a variety of conditions including a low
frustration tolerance, paranoid feelings and, of course, aggression.
Mr Smith is one extreme example of someone whose aggressive
behaviour can become interlinked with driving but certainly it is not
relegated merely to his driving. To a lesser degree there are other similar
individuals on the road. Rather than manifesting such aggressive thoughts
and intentions, there may be individuals who shout, or think hostile
thoughts towards other car drivers. This article will attempt to offer
explanations as to why this occurs and what can be done to rehabilitate such
individuals who are obviously a danger to others as well as themselves. The
following sections will deal with a) associated features of aggressive
behaviour while driving and b) methods of helping individuals with such
Virtually all the research carried out between 1973 and 1994 has been
concerned with causes and associated features, as well as manifestations,
of aggressive behaviour in car drivers. There has been some interest in sex
differences and a variety of other factors which are associated with
aggressive driving. Virtually no research has been conducted into the
various treatment approaches that could be utilized to deal with the problem
and thereby reduce the likelihood of accidents. It has already been well
established that there is likely to be more aggressive behaviour among
males, especially young males, than females. Another significant factor is
the time of the day, with more aggression being shown in the afternoons

The Police Journal

July 1997

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