Imagine you’re driving down the street. You look back in your rearview mirror and see a pickup truck. Is this truck driver any more likely to run you off the road than a four-door car owner?
Pickup truck drivers are not any more aggressive than any other driver. In fact, studies and statistics show they’re slightly less aggressive! It seems that part of why pickup truck drivers have a false reputation of aggressiveness is because their vehicles are larger and stand out more than cars.
In this article, I’ll explain what aggressive driving is and share some statistics regarding driver aggression. I’ll also cover why driver aggression occurs and provide some exceptions to the “pickup truck drivers are slightly less aggressive” rule. In addition, I’ll expose who, exactly, is the most aggressive driver on the road.
What Exactly Is Aggressive Driving?
Aggressive driving is legally defined as when a driver engages in unsafe and aggressive behavior, such as an overuse of the horn, speeding, or tailgating. In many states, aggressive driving is penalized and or fined.
According to Dr. Todd Grande, counselor and educator, and the National Conference of State Legislatures, aggressive driving occurs when a driver excessively uses the horn, weaves in and out of traffic, tailgates, yells, and makes crude gestures.
Typically, speeding is considered the most dangerous form of aggressive driving, although any of the above offenses generally are regarded as hostile and dangerous.
If you’re interested in hearing more about aggressive driving and the “whys” behind it from Dr. Todd Grande to give you some more background going into the rest of the article, here is a video to check out:
Pickup Truck Drivers and Aggression
According to a 2019 study conducted on traffic safety culture, many drivers oppose aggressive driving. Still, about a quarter of the drivers surveyed in this study admitted to some acts of aggressive driving. If aggressive driving is truly that common, are pickup truck drivers doing it more often than anyone else? If not, why are they viewed as aggressive drivers?
As I stated earlier, pickup truck drivers aren’t any more aggressive than anyone else. Indeed, according to insurance management company Insurify, pickup truck drivers drive a bit less aggressively than the average driver.
According to a study conducted by this company using their application statistics, about 11.46% of pickup drivers have an aggressive driving citation on record. When compared to the national average of 11.69%, one can see that pickup truck drivers are slightly less aggressive.
The “Why” Behind the Stigma
The likeliest possible reason pickup truck drivers are considered more aggressive than the average driver is that pickup trucks may be more prominent because of their size and sound. And since pickup trucks stick out more, they may draw more attention to them.
In addition, one’s assumption about pickup truck drivers may cause them to be aware of these drivers on the road more often.
Although most pickup truck drivers aren’t aggressive, those that are will likely receive a lot of attention because of the size and sound of their vehicles. This attention reinforces people’s belief that all pickup truck drivers are aggressive. Nevertheless, statistics say they’re slightly less aggressive than your average driver.
Pickup Truck Drivers Can Still Be Aggressive
Like any other motorist, pickup truck drivers can be antagonistic. Insurify found that the most aggressive pickup truck drivers were those who drove Chevrolet C1500s. These drivers tend to engage in aggressive driving 15% more than the national average.
Another study conducted by the University of Texas showed that in “young adults, those who drive a sports utility vehicle (SUV) or a pickup truck (PUT) are likely to drive more aggressively than those who drive a sedan or a van.” The study states that this is most likely because the power of these vehicles leads to “young driver’s adventure-seeking behavior.”
Indeed, this does shine a bad light on pickup truck drivers, but, in reality, this dangerous driving can most likely be attributed to age rather than car type.
Despite these statistics, it remains true that pickup truck drivers aren’t more aggressive than the average driver.
The Most Aggressive Drivers on the Road
So, if pickup truck drivers aren’t the most aggressive, who is? Well, another study conducted by Insurify found that there are indeed some car types that typically house more aggressive drivers. These types include the following (from most to least aggressive):
- Infiniti Q50, with 26.25% of drivers found at fault in an accident
- Subaru Crosstrek, with 25.88% of drivers found at fault in an accident
- Subaru WRX, with 25.82% of drivers found at fault in an accident
- Hyundai Elantra, with 25.36 of drivers found at fault in an accident
- Subaru Impreza, with 25.2% of drivers found at fault in an accident
According to this same company, the national average for drivers found at fault in an accident is 17.81%. When comparing this to the information above, one can see that these vehicles seem to house more aggressive drivers. This could be due to the driver demographic (age, etc.) rather than the vehicles themselves.
Yet, you may have noticed the glaring similarity between all of these cars, in that none of them are pickup trucks! According to Insurify, the top five vehicles that attract the seemingly most aggressive drivers are all non-pickup truck vehicles.
This being said, safe driving seems to come more down to demographic rather than car type, as age appears to play a massive role in driving safety, with younger drivers tending to get in the most accidents.
Pickup truck drivers are no more aggressive than anyone else. In fact, these drivers are actually found to be slightly less aggressive than the average motorist. The assumption that pickup truck drivers are more aggressive is most likely due to the size and sound of these vehicles or drivers’ preconceived ideas about pickup trucks.
- NCSL: Aggressive Driving and Speed
- Youtube: What Causes Aggressive Driving?
- Insurify: Pickup Trucks With the Most Aggressive Drivers
- University of Texas: Examining the influence of aggressive driving behavior on driver injury severity in traffic crashes
- Insurify: Major Motor Mishaps: Car Models with the Most Accidents in 2020
- Rates of Motor Vehicle Crashes, Injuries and Deaths in Relation to Driver Age, United States, 2014-2015