Psychology: Taxi drivers head aggression league

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New research suggests that taxi drivers are more aggressive drivers who are less likely to look out for hazards on the roads and cope in a more confrontational manner while put under stress while driving.

A study carried out by the University of Teesside looked at a variety of drivers and how they coped with the stresses of driving in a busy city.

They questioned police drivers, heavy goods vehicle drivers, commuters, occasional drivers as well as taxi drivers, and came to the conclusion that taxi drivers were the most distinctive in the aggression they displayed to other road users and the fact that they coped with stress in a confrontational way. They were also the most likely group to say they disliked driving.

The researchers, who are presenting their study at the British Psychological Society's winter conference today, looked at five groups of 20 drivers. Taxi drivers were much more likely than other groups to be thrill-seeking with HGV drivers being the second most likely group to look for thrills. HGV drivers were significantly more likely to look out for potential dangers on the roads than cabbies.

In comparison police drivers scored lowest on aggressive driving, were low on thrill seeking and were the best at monitoring potential hazards on the roads. Taxi drivers were also far more likely to cope with a stressful situation by becoming aggressive and confrontational, with HGV drivers and commuters the next most likely groups to use antagonistic means.