Even when going away on a road trip vacation, getting behind the wheel of a vehicle isn’t always fun. A number of obstacles and annoyances await the average driver including whiny kids, expensive gas, and traffic jams, to name a few. But the most dangerous obstacle a driver might face is another driver. As our transportation infrastructure becomes more crowded and stressed, road rage incidents have been on the rise. But a link between bumper stickers and road rage might help drivers avoid potential confrontations.

Road rage behavior among drivers in the United States as of April 2015

Link Discovered Between Bumper Stickers And Road Rage

According to a study by Colorado State University social psychologist William Szlemko, there’s a simple trick to avoiding road rage incidents: Avoid cars with bumper stickers.

That’s right. Szlemko’s study found a link between road rage and the number of personalized items on people’s vehicles, specifically bumper stickers.

Car With Lots Of Bumper Stickers
A car with lots of bumper stickers. (Flickr)

Drivers with personalized “territorial markers” like stickers, custom stereos, and window decals are much more likely to express some form of road rage like tailgating, middle-finger salutes, honking or even throwing an ax.

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Types Of Bumper Stickers And Road Rage

Does the nature or tone of the stickers matter? Does someone with a “Save the Earth” sticker on their bumper make them nicer and less likely to want a confrontation? No. According to the study, it doesn’t matter if you have love or anarchy stickers on your car.

A Pickup Truck With Lots Of Bumper Stickers
An assortment of left-leaning bumper stickers on the back of a Chevrolet pickup truck in San Francisco, CA. (MB298)

Any form of personalized territorial markers on a vehicle means that the driver will be more likely to display road rage towards another driver. Drivers with road rage tend to think of public streets and highways as “my street” and “my lane.”

“The more markers a car has, the more aggressively the person tends to drive when provoked,” Szlemko said.

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