Depending on who you ask, car bumpers were originally designed to either push in-the-way objects (such as farm animals) out of the way or to protect the vehicle in the case of front or rear impact. Either way, I’m quite certain they were never intended to profess a political affiliation, brag about how smart your kids are or provide any number of reasons to honk your horn.
Yet, from the first motor vehicles that had metal and cardboard signs attached with wire, the bumper has been used for advertisements, political agendas, bragging rights, etc.
Some are funny.
Some are really cute.
Some are sarcastic.
Some provide advice.
Some let your boss know exactly how your day is going.
Some are literal.
Some give the world a fair warning.
While most would consider the bumper sticker a simple (and sometimes funny) form of expression, it appears it’s not so simple after all. A 2008 study by psychologist William Szlemko and his colleagues at Colorado State University in Fort Collins, Colorado, showed that those who choose to adorn their vehicle with bumper stickers (and other personal items) are 16 percent more likely to be the aggressor in incidents of road rage.
What??? You mean that sweet person with the peace bumper sticker, personalized plates and fuzzy dice hanging from the mirror is 16 percent more likely to run me off the road than the person driving the plain, unembellished muscle car?
The answer is yes.
As it turns out, personalization of a vehicle, such as the addition of bumper stickers, indicates the vehicle is, in many ways, the owner’s territory and when a perceived threat occurs, we are predisposed to protecting our territory.
So, never mind those of us who choose to remain “plain janes” when it comes to our vehicles. This is the person you need to keep an eye on – maybe it has something to do with being an Eagles fan.