Narcissist is a common label thrown out for celebrities, American politicians and someone who talks too much about themselves. But true narcissism affects more than a person’s personality. It affects their whole surroundings, including the roads they drive.
Recently, State University and the University of Luxembourg ran three studies to find the correlation between narcissism and dangerous driving habits. They conducted several surveys to determine the level of narcissism a subject has and the likelihood of aggressive driving habits.
Narcissists show selfishness on the road
The most compelling study involved a driving simulation where participants drove in a controlled environment and ran into several common scenarios. Situations included a car pulling in front of them, a traffic jam with multiple stops, a construction zone with only one lane and a traffic light that was red for 60 seconds and green for five seconds.
The goal of the simulation was to see how participants with narcissism react in a driving environment. Researchers found the participants who scored high on narcissism measures were more likely to tailgate, speed, drive off-road or use aggressive language and gestures at other drivers.
During the simulation, three participants ran into other vehicles – all three drivers displayed multiple narcissistic qualities. Scientists saw a correlation between aggressive driving and narcissism. One researcher suggested narcissists see their time as more valuable and do not consider the time of others while they are on the road; it may lead to dangerous driving and more accidents.
The findings from all three studies suggested more experiments to compare driving aggression between low self-esteem and high self-esteem narcissists.
However, it’s critical to understand that aggressive driving does not automatically mean narcissism. There are many reasons why a driver may drive faster than the speed limit or change lanes recklessly, so do not expect a “narcissism defense” to work in court against speeding tickets.