Recognizing and preventing Road Rage

Road rage is a growing problem. If you drive at all, there’s a good chance that you may see or feel, or worse, become a victim of road rage. Road rage is an incident caused by one driver (usually an aggressive or angry driver) doing something that sets off another driver.

Upon provocation angry drivers sometimes commit acts of violence upon other drivers, and sometimes murder. It’s pathetic that someone is in such a hurry on the roads or freeways, but they have the time to assault or murder someone.

Road rage usually stems from selfishness (concerned only with oneself without regard for the well-being of others, egotistical) and in some cases pride (an excessively high opinion of ones self, conceit).

In a perfect world, you would always be on time, never have any traffic and wouldn’t have to deal with someone else’s stupidity and rudeness. But alas, the world we live in is far from perfect. Below are some things that can lead to road rage and some ways to help prevent it.

A few of the things that can lead to road rage include (but are not limited to):

  • Being cut off by another vehicle
  • Being tailgated by other drivers
  • Drivers who don’t use turn signals
  • Driving behind slow moving vehicles in the fast lane
  • Drivers driving too fast
  • Drivers making erratic lane changes
  • Drivers who don’t pay attention because they’re on the cell phone, applying make up, looking at directions, etc.
  • Drivers who stop in the middle of the traffic lane
  • Drivers using high beams or flashing high beams at you
  • Drivers that purposely don’t allow you to merge or change lanes
  • Generally rude and inconsiderate drivers (you know there are millions of them out there)

A few ways to prevent being a victim of road rage include (but are not limited to):

  • Don’t engage other drivers – don’t flip them off or yell obscene things about their mothers, sisters, etc. Even if they make you angry, you don’t know what they’re capable of or if they’re armed. You should try to put as much distance between them and you as possible
  • Don’t make eye contact with the other driver – it’s impossible to engage in a staring contest and drive safely at the same time
  • Don’t pull off the road in order to confront the other driver – again, you don’t know if they’re armed, crazy or what. Keep your windows up and your doors locked
  • Try to make a note of the license plate, color and style of the other vehicle. If possible, get a description of the driver of the other vehicle too
  • Try to put as much distance between you and the other vehicle as safely possible. That doesn’t mean floor your accelerator and break speed laws while you’re getting away. Try to avoid putting others at risk while safely putting as much distance between the other vehicle and yours
  • If possible and necessary, call 911 on your cell phone. If you have other occupants in your vehicle, have them call the police
  • Pay attention to your surroundings and try to think ahead. If you see an idiot coming up behind you, try to move out of the way or avoid them as much as possible. Know where you’re at and be aware of what’s going on around you
  • Drive defensively and expect the unexpected
  • Give yourself plenty of time to get there. Sit back, relax and enjoy the drive. Try to be patient
  • Use your horn sparingly
  • Just because you enjoy the music in your car doesn’t mean that everyone else around you is going to. Be polite and considerate of others
  • Make sure you follow the laws of the road – stop at red lights and stop signs. They are there for a reason
  • Know where you’re going before you get there. If you need to look at a map to get directions, pull off the road way. The same can be said for talking on your cell phone

Anger is a powerful emotion. If handled uncorrectly it may have destructive results on you and your loved ones. Uncontrolled anger may lead to arguments, fights, abuse, assault and self-harm. Well managed anger can be useful and motivate you to make some positive changes.

Anger triggers the body’s “fight or flight” response. When you’re angry the adrenal glands flood your body with stress hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol. The brain moves blood away from the gut and towards the muscles in preparation for physical exertion. Heart rate, blood pressure and respiration increase and your body temperature rises. Your mind becomes sharpened and focused.

A constant flood of the stress hormones and associated metabolic changes that accompany recurring unmanaged anger will eventually cause your body harm.

A few of the health problems linked to unmanaged anger include:

  • headaches
  • digestion problems or abdominal pain
  • insomnia
  • increased anxiety
  • depression
  • high blood pressure
  • eczema
  • in extreme cases, anger can lead to heart attacks or strokes

It may only take seconds to flash your anger, but it takes hours for your body to go back to normal.

Everyone gets upset at other drivers at some point in their lives. Learning how to recognize road rage and prevent it can help save your life and the lives of others.

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