Got a personalised number plate, rear window stickers and furry dice adorning your car? Well, it may be more than just style. Experts believe that such behavior indicates an aggressive driver prone to road rage.
Experts from the Colorado State University have found that drivers who personalise their vehicles, thereby marking their territory, tend to guard "their" road space against incursions.
"Both the number of territory markers and attachment to the vehicle were significant predictors of aggressive driving," the Scotsman quoted the researchers as saying.
"The mere presence of a territory marker predicts increased use of the vehicle to express anger. 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," they added.
Dr Mark Sullman, a driver anger expert at Hertfordshire University, said: "Drivers who are more territorial in nature are more likely to indicate this by personalising their vehicles. In addition, they are more likely to respond in an aggressive manner when they experience anger on the road."
Dr Nick Reed, a senior human factors researcher at TRL, the former Transport Research Laboratory, added: "Most drivers feel territorial about not only their vehicle but the space around them as indicated by the phrases: 'He's right on my bumper' and 'That car cut right into my lane'.
"It is therefore believable that anyone who has taken the trouble to adorn or 'enhance' their car in some way may feel more attached to it and therefore more protective if feeling threatened or obstructed."
But, the Royal Automobile Club Foundation said not all drivers who customised their vehicles would succumb to road-induced anger.
Phil Gomm, its spokesman, said: "Our cars are our own personal space. They are an extension of us. Why not decorate and adorn them as we wish? I am sure the tens of thousands of respectable motorists displaying National Trust for Scotland stickers, for example, will take great exception at any suggestion they have road-rage tendencies."
The research, 'Territorial Markings as a Predictor of Driver Aggression and Road Rage', was published in the Journal of Applied Social Psychology.
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