While concerns about road rage have grown over the past decade, states have made it easier for motorists to carry firearms in their vehicles. Are motorists with guns in the car more or less likely to engage in hostile and aggressive behavior?
Data come from a 2004 national random digit dial survey of over 2,400 licensed drivers. Respondents were asked whether, in the past year, they (1) made obscene or rude gestures at another motorist, (2) aggressively followed another vehicle too closely, and (3) were victims of such hostile behaviors.
Seventeen percent admitted making obscene or rude gestures, and 9% had aggressively followed too closely. Forty-six percent reported victimization by each of these behaviors in the past year. Males, young adults, binge drinkers, those who do not believe most people can be trusted, those ever arrested for a non-traffic violation, and motorists who had been in a vehicle in which there was a gun were more likely to engage in such forms of road rage.
Similar to a survey of Arizona motorists, in our survey, riding with a firearm in the vehicle was a marker for aggressive and dangerous driver behavior.