Road rage, bumper stickers and narcissism

bumper_stickers bumper_stickers2
Obnoxious potential road ragers on the left and the right. Don’t get close enough to read their stickers or they might brake check you.

I always enjoy reading the articles on Some are funny, but I also always learn new things I never knew. Today there’s one called called 6 Things That Annoy You Every Day Explained by Science.
Annoying thing #4 is about the epidemic of Road Rage, which seems to keep getting worse.

The article is hilarious as well as informative. The captions under the photos are always priceless too.

“I have important, Quesadilla-related business to attend to.”

Believe it or not, road rage increases with number of bumper stickers the driver has on their car. I see a pattern here. Drivers with bumper stickers are more territorial than other drivers, and my guess is that the more territorial drivers are probably more narcissistic than other drivers too. I would also suspect a narcissist would also be more inclined to road rage than a non-narcissist–because they imagine everyone else is violating their territory. The more bumper stickers, the more narcissistic the driver, and so it follows the most narcissistic drivers would also be the most likely to become enraged if someone dares to cut them off, tailgate them, pass them in the breakdown lane, or commit some other rude or not so rude faux pas on the road.

Even one sticker or decal is enough to raise the likelihood of the driver having to be physically restrained by loved ones after somebody doesn’t let him in to the lane in time.

People think of their vehicles as extensions of themselves, and to a narcissist, a vehicle is like his own little kingdom on wheels. A vehicle gives any driver more power (and a way to hide behind a big bad machine even if said narcissist is a 97 pound weakling or a little old lady), but a narcissist will use his vehicle to intimidate, harass and scare others on the road who dare offend him or get in his way.

Wealthy narcissists are probably likely to drive a huge SUV or Hummer or a high end car like a BMW * (see joke at bottom), Mercedes or Prius, and these types of vehicles probably won’t be sporting bumper stickers. Too declasse for a rich, snobby narc.

Someone driving a Ford or a Honda without bumper stickers and who drives in a hesitant manner or is considerate to other drivers and actually does things like yield for them is probably codependent and attracts narcs like honey attracts flies. They’re the kind of drivers obnoxious narcissists in big SUVs like to tailgate and honk at just so they can watch them get flustered and panic on the road. Drivers like me, to be honest. I piss off narcs on the road.


#4. Road Rage

It doesn’t take much to get most of us enraged when we’re driving a car. People cutting us off, people not using their blinkers, people using their blinkers too much, people driving annoyingly blue-colored cars. When someone cuts us off when we’re on foot, we might feel slightly annoyed, but we don’t usually have the same urge to yell, swear and honk a horn at them. Not unless there’s some major problems in other parts in our life, or we’re a clown.

Not all drivers are equally aggressive, though. Some of us just take a few deep, calming breaths when a guy drives all the way past the line of waiting cars in an exit lane, and then cuts in right at the front. Others actually get out of their cars and break his windshield with a crowbar. Why this extra rage?

Not pictured: The “coexist” bumper stickers on both cars.

What The Hell Is Going On Here?

First, a question: What do you think is the best predictor of whether someone is prone to road rage and aggressive driving? Whether he’s driving a beat-up pickup or a lavender Prius? The presence or absence of prison tattoos? The presence or absence of a crowbar holster on the back of the passenger seat? No. It’s the number of bumper stickers on his car. Even one sticker or decal is enough to raise the likelihood of the driver having to be physically restrained by loved ones after somebody doesn’t let him in to the lane in time.

How does this work? Well, consider the hypothetical person who gets into your personal space on the street. Unless he’s a total dick, chances are he will make up for it in some way. If he doesn’t actually say “sorry,” he’ll usually display some sort of unconscious, apologetic body language. Most of the time, this is all that’s needed to defuse the bumping-into situation. Machines, on the other hand, are incapable of this kind of polite signal, which is probably why you’re more likely to yell at your computer when it freezes up than you are to yell at your servant when he drops your caviar.

When driving a car, we humans consider our vehicles a part of our territorial space. So when someone cuts us off, or behaves discourteously, we instinctively react as if someone had run into us on the street and then ignored us completely.

So what’s with the rage-causing stickers? Scientists have theorized that the act of marking a car means that the driver has a greater sense of this territoriality — in other words, he identifies the car more as an extension of himself. Which is why they feel the need to mark it with a sign of his personality. Researchers have found that it makes no difference whether a bumper sticker says “Visualize World Peace” or “Guns Don’t Kill People, I Do.” To sticker-users, any vehicle-based rudeness means you’ve basically done the road equivalent of cutting in front of them in line and then flipping them the bird two inches from their nose.

Add in an exhaust fart to the face if you really want to piss them off.

Read more here:

* Q: How does a BMW differ from a porcupine?
A: The pricks are on the inside.

37 thoughts on “Road rage, bumper stickers and narcissism

  1. I dont want to sterotype but I find men around 50 years old in white pick up trucks that are into hunting animal target me with road rage. My car is a nice bright happy color and for some reason it makes a this specific type…very angry. I can be driving along perfectly fine and I turn my head and I see that horrible raging face in my window. It’s a completely weird experience.

    Liked by 1 person

      • Oh…I didn’t even notice that. Lol

        I noticed it happened really bad during the 2008 election…when I had a specific political bumper sticker on the back of my car. It was frightening. I was a moving road rage target. It became dangerous. I ran into road rage a few times a week back then. I even had a man get out of the car when I stopped at a light and tap on my window in front of his partner. I kept my window up and grabbed my phone and loudly said, “I’m calling the police”. He yelled, ” you just do that…you go right ahead and call the police “. It was a scary experience.

        I cannot understand why people think they can get violent over a political bumper sticker? I also found that someone peeled my bumper sticker in half. I also watched a man in a township marked vehicle park his car and pull a political sign off my private property.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Heh, this happened to me too. I had to remove my Obama ’08 bumper sticker because outside my immediate locale, this area is very conservative.
          Speaking of Obama, my opinion of him has diminished significantly but I don’t think he’s a narcissist or evil person or anything (some disagree).

          Liked by 1 person

    • Oh…and speaking of Obama and Narcissism. Do you think Obama is a Narcissist? Or do you think Sam is a Conservative? I asked him if he thought Bill Clinton was a Somatic Narcissist and if Hillary was a Cerebral Narcissist. He did not answer.


      • I disagree with Sam about Obama. I do not think Obama is a narcissist. I don’t think he’s a very effective president either. I think he does have narcissistic traits. Most politicians do. (Jimmy Carter was a rare one who did not).

        I actually read on his profile somewhere that Sam is a “progressive.” To me, that means liberal, but he’s not American so maybe in his country progressive means something different. I thought Sam was conservative at first too because he hates Obama. But to some liberals, Obama is considered too conservative and panders to corporate interests too much, and I don’t disagree with that.

        Hillary and Bill? I don’t know why he wouldn’t answer you about that, but I will. Clinton: somatic narcissist–Hillary: cerebral narcissist. I don’t think either is malignant but I could be wrong.

        Liked by 1 person

        • That makes a lot of sense. I think your correct on the analogy that Sam is a Progressive..who would probably think that Obama is too conservative. Obama really us a corporate President. We were pushing forth a bill to help Retail and Restaurant workers in New Jersey…and now supposedly Obama is pushing forth a national bill. I’m afraid…like will be watered down.

          Liked by 1 person

          • The problem with Obama is he tries to please everyone–and pleases no one. I don’t think he ‘s a narcissist because it appears he wants everyone to like him. Narcs don’t care if you like them–they would rather be feared and respected.

            Liked by 1 person

  2. How interesting! I wanted to put bumper stickers on a car that my husband and I share and he was totally against it. He said that bumper stickers were obnoxious. He especially hates the “coexist” ones. I’m beginning to see why…Ha

    Liked by 2 people

        • I agree. The Coexist can be annoying. I use to think that new age stuff and the zen was cool and enlightening. But the Scientology and those Astrological cults are recruiting and hurting people like wildfire. And so I prefer to pray the traditional and balanced way…

          Liked by 2 people

          • My journey has been similar. I used to be really into new age stuff–crystal healing, zen, all of that. I think some of it’s dangerous though–and comes too close to the occult for my comfort. Some new age people are strange too.
            I do believe in the chakras and chakra healing, however, and I don’t believe it’s necessarily at odds with Christianity.
            I also wonder about reincarnation, even though most Christians do not believe in it. In a lot of ways, it seems to make more sense than anything else. (I won’t get into why here because it would take too long but I have written about it before). I’m just not sure though. According to Christian doctrine, believing in reincarnation is heresy. But there is a kind of logic to it and explains things like suffering and injustice that Christian doctrine doesn’t address in a way that’s really that acceptable to me. I still have lots of doubts but I do believe Jesus lived and died for our sins, so how to reconcile these beliefs? I have no idea.

            I pray a lot for clarity.


      • You couldn’t have found a better white truck with bumper stickers on it to post.

        What I find hilarious is the liberal one you posted. There was a man in town that put Holiday ornaments on his station wagon too. He had a crazy vehicle. He wasn’t a road rage guy. I think he just lived out of his car.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Oh, I’ve seen crazy holiday decorations on vehicles. Wreaths, Santas, even Christmas lights! I agree not all people with bumper stickers are road rage types. I also agree the road rage types also tend to be the pickup truck driving, gun-rights type of people. I guess it’s a macho thing. There’s a lot of those around this part of the country.

          Liked by 1 person

  3. I think it is a macho thing. I also think specific pick up truck people don’t like it when I am happy in my bright orange Volkswagen with the convertible and the music on.

    They don’t groove on the happy song stuff! Lol

    Liked by 1 person

    • I hate to stereotype people too much, but even stereotypes have some roots in reality. The pickup driving types who harass you are probably gun-toting conservative Republicans who think Obama is a Kenyan Muslim terrorist. They don’t like your happy orange Volkswagen because to them, it screams “Liberal.”

      Liked by 1 person

      • I think your right about this analogy. In the summer I marched in the LBGT parade for my National Organization for Women’s group with Congressman Frank Pallone. In front of me was a yellow convertible with a bunch of Progressive women in it playing the Happy Song. I guess its true. My Vdub screams in a Progressive way. I would purchase a truck. But I would never purchase a white truck.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I’ve noticed the most dangerous drivers seem to be in SUV’s, but I thought maybe the height of an SUV gave them bad perception of the road? Too much benefit of doubt?

    If I had a car I’d probably want to decorate it with stickers or crazy seat covers and stuff, but I’m just really visually oriented.

    Liked by 2 people

    • SUV drivers do seem to tailgate a lot and drive faster and more aggressively. I don’t know if it’s because aggressive people are more likely to buy a big bad SUV, or if being in an SUV makes them feel less vulnerable and more willing to take risks on the road due to the vehicle’s size.
      I have ugly camo seat covers my daughter bought and leave them on because the leather on the front seats is cracked, and I have a bunch of doodads hanging from the rearview mirror, other than that, I don’t have many decorations.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. When I saw the stickers on the back of that van, I was reminded of a station wagon that belonged to these three elderly people in our neighborhood when I was growing up.. And every single one of those stickers pertained to Jesus or God, or the Holy Spirit in some way or another. And probably some scary stuff pertaining to the devil as well to scare the reader of the sticker into believing what they were trying to preach.

    The car was an old clunker and I remember the back of it was completely covered…none of the surface area of the car itself showed through at all. And then there were other stickers peppered around the sides of the car too.

    Somehow I doubt any of them were road ragers. They were really old at that time and something tells me they were the ones pissing other drivers off. lol Mr Magoo anyone?

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s pretty funny. 😀 I agree some eccentric people and people who live in their cars cover their cars with stickers. It’s always fun to read them if you can get close enough.

      I just noticed on the “left wing” car there is a sticker there that says, “I brake for tailgaters.” LOL!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. OMG, I just looked at the back of that van again and noticed a bit of a funny contradiction.
    One sticker says, “I love my country but fear my government.”
    Another sticker says, “Fearful people do stupid things.”

    Haha, pretty funny.

    Liked by 1 person

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