Cars & Culture
Are cars and people getting angrier?
Written by Dr Chrisopher DiCarlo
Critical Thinking Advisor and Philosopher
An analysis of car faces over the past three decades.
Six popular models from six popular brands.
Our conclusion: Indeed, cars and people, are getting angrier.
In North America, as well as in other parts of the world, the demand for automobiles continues to rise on a continuous trajectory. With more cars on the road than ever before, it does not take a mathematical genius to realize that the amount of cars being produced and driven has outpaced our ability to build new roads on which to drive them. As a result, more time is being spent stuck in traffic.
When we combine this consumer-driven phenomenon with other variables such as the financial need for dual-income families, inflation, housing costs, and all of the other slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, it is hardly surprising to find people becoming increasingly angrier. Just look at the stats:
In 2019, 82% of people admitted to committing an act of road rage in the past year. A total of 12,610 injuries and 218 murders have been attributed to road rage over a seven-year period in the United States. 66% of traffic fatalities are caused by aggressive driving. Over a seven-year time period, more than 200 murders and 12,000 injuries were attributed to road rage. 50% of drivers respond to the careless acts of other drivers with aggressive behaviour themselves. 37% of aggressive driving incidents involve a firearm. And there has been a 500% increase in reported cases of road rage over the last 10 years.
So, yes, we are becoming angrier drivers. And this seems to be reflected in the very design of the automobiles we drive. Cars have always been an expression of human emotions and value signals. Aside from status, cars represent an array of the human emotional condition; from whimsical with the VW love bug, to staid and practical with the Subaru Outback, to free-wheeling-and-carefree with practically any convertible. But lately, there has been a trend in motorcar evolution which paints a somewhat darker side of humanity: the angry driver.