Venting anger in cyberspace: Self-entitlement versus self-preservation in #roadrage tweets

Amanda Stephens, Steven L. Trawley, Keis Ohtsuka

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


The increase in the popularity of social media and access to portable smart-technology means more drivers are using forums to vent their frustrations about driving. A content analysis was performed on 80,923 twitter posts relating to road rage collected over a 13-month period. The aim was to understand what sources of anger drivers report on social media. Approximately two thirds of the analysed tweets related directly to anger over another driver perceived as a perpetrator of inappropriate behaviour. Judgements of the improper speed of other drivers were the most common tweets. However, a general attitude also emerged where other drivers were seen as "idiots," "unskilled," and "should not be driving." Such a downward comparison is likely to predispose drivers to unjustly blame other drivers for frustrating situations that may be out of their control. Twitter appears to be a social media forum commonly used to vent anger by drivers. Posts ranged from text message, a photo of the offending vehicle or of the driver, or a 6-s video filmed while driving. The sample of tweeted angry comments indicated that many drivers used smart technology to express their anger. However, the motivation behind this action may vary and may be to express anger, report the incident, or to warn the public. The findings highlight the need for further research to understand the prevalence and danger of anger-provoked distraction with smart technology.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)400-410
Number of pages10
JournalTransportation Research Part F: Traffic Psychology and Behaviour
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • Driving aggression
  • Driving anger
  • Online venting
  • Smart technology
  • Social media
  • Twitter

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