Situational driving anger, driving performance and allocation of visual attention

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

33 Scopus Citations
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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)376-388
Journal / PublicationTransportation Research Part F: Traffic Psychology and Behaviour
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2016


The effects of situational (state) driving anger on driving performance and allocation of driver visual attention were studied using a driving simulator experiment. A total of 24 licensed drivers, half being experienced and half novices, took part in this study. Each participant completed two similar drives, one in an emotion-neutral condition and one in an angry state. The anger emotion state was induced using a 5-min long traffic-related video clip. The results showed that compared with emotion-neutral drivers, drivers in an angry state tended to drive faster, maintain less headway while following a lead vehicle, and accept shorter gaps when performing left-turns. Moreover, when angry, drivers tended to adopt later and harder braking in the lane merging event, indicating a failure to respond properly to an imminent crash that fell into the peripheral areas of the road. Responses to emergency situations that happened in the centre areas of the road, however, were unaffected by situational anger. Results on eye movement data revealed that when angry, drivers scanned a narrower area and applied a more heuristic processing style, both of which may increase the chance of missing potential hazards in peripheral areas. Furthermore, it was found that increased experience did not better prepare drivers for the adverse influences of situational anger. Recommendations for intervention strategies and further research are presented.

Research Area(s)

  • Decreased fixation dispersion, Eye movements, Risky driving, Simulator, Situational anger