A study from Colorado State University suggests that drivers who personalize their cars – think bumper stickers, air fresheners, personalized plates, hula girls on the dashboard – are more prone to road rage. While bicyclists should always watch the traffic around them, this may provide another clue to prompt defensive vehicular cycling behaviors.
The personalization is considered a territorial marker. Boundaries between the personal space and the public space occur. As a result, these drivers are more prone to defend their right-of-way, and are far more prone to name-calling, tailgating, getting out of the vehicle to argue or using their car to block or ram another.
The study also says that it doesn’t matter WHAT the personalization is – so even people who have Wellstone stickers or ‘SLOW DOWN – Respect People & Neighborhoods!’ stickers are potential road ragers.
I can’t say I’m surprised by this, given that I’ve experienced having a hybrid with world peace stickers try to run me off the road near the U of M.