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Are You in the Angry Zone?
Test Your Driving Etiquette

October 5, 2009

Traffic psychologist Leon James, Ph.D., developed the following self-assessment after analyzing the tape recordings of hundreds of drivers who recorded themselves thinking out loud while driving. A majority got as far as step 13.

Which of the following have you engaged in?

  1. Mentally condemn other drivers.
  2. Verbally denigrate other drivers to your passengers.
  3. Close ranks to prevent someone from getting in your lane.
  4. Give another driver the “stink eye” to show disapproval.
  5. Speed past another car or rev the engine as a sign of protest.
  6. Prevent another driver from passing because you’re mad.
  7. Tailgate to pressure a driver to go faster or get out of the way.
  8. Fantasize physical violence against another driver.
  9. Honk or yell out of the window.
  10. Make obscene gestures.
  11. Use your car to retaliate with sudden, threatening maneuvers.
  12. Chase another driver because of a provocation or insult.
  13. Get out of the car and engage in a verbal dispute.
  14. Carry a weapon in the car in case you need it for a driving incident.
  15. Deliberately bump or ram another car.
  16. Try to run another car off the road to punish the driver.
  17. Get out of the car and beat or batter someone after a road exchange.
  18. Try to run someone down who angered you.
  19. Shoot at another car.
  20. Kill someone.

You’ve checked off:

1 to 3: The Unfriendly Zone, mental and verbal acts of unkindness.

4 to 7: The Hostile Zone, visibly communicating resentment with the desire to punish.

8 to 11: The Violent Zone, carrying out an act of hostility in fantasy or deed.

12 to 16: The Lesser Mayhem Zone, epic road rage contained within personal limits.

17 to 20: The Major Mayhem Zone, uncontained epic road rage, the stuff of newspaper stories.

For more tests and results visit James’ Web site at

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