The effect of reminders of death on reckless driving: A terror management perspective

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Why do young people, especially young men, engage in reckless driving despite the fact that this behavior contradicts the basic biological imperative of self-preservation? Answering this interesting and crucial question may lead to effective interventions. A series of studies, based on terror management theory, examined the effects of reminders of death on risk taking while driving. The dependent measures were either self-reported behavioral intentions of risky driving or driving speed in a car simulator. Findings showed that mortality-salience inductions led to more risky driving than the control condition only among individuals who perceived driving as relevant to their self-esteem. The introduction of positive feedback about driving eliminated this effect. The complex role of self-esteem in the process of risk taking is discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)196-199
Number of pages4
JournalCurrent Directions in Psychological Science
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2000


  • Mortality salience
  • Reckless driving
  • Self-esteem


Dive into the research topics of 'The effect of reminders of death on reckless driving: A terror management perspective'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this