We all have moments while driving that irritate us, no matter how good we think our driving is. It might be something that another driver does, the feelings of irritation we feel when we encounter roadworks, or just the simple fact of having a bad day coupled with negotiating busy roads. While we might all know in practice that cool heads should prevail when we’re behind the wheel, in practice, that’s not always the case.
If you find your irritation with other road users to be a frequent occurrence, then there’s a chance you’re suffering from road rage. While not a diagnosable medical condition, road rage is nevertheless a mental state that has the propensity to cause serious harm– to you, and other road users. Given that safety should be your number one priority every time you drive, it’s worrying to consider that road rage may make you less safe– so it’s definitely a topic worth diving further into.
Below, let’s explore some of the most common questions people have about road rage– and how you can manage yours, to ensure an extra layer of safety when you’re behind the wheel.
What Is Road Rage?
Road rage is a feeling of anger or frustration when driving. It is often explosive, resulting in serious altercations between motorists. There have even been murders attributed to road rage.
Road rage can be a chronic problem, which occurs every time you enter your car. Or it might be acute, only happening occasionally. Both are problematic, though there is a particular urgency to seek assistance if you have a chronic problem. Not only does road rage endanger you on the road, but constant exposure to stress could cause you real health problems in the future.
Why Does Road Rage Happen?
There are two possible reasons:
- The need for control that many people experience while driving can lead to road rage if something unexpected happens. People feel they have been threatened by another driver’s behavior and react disproportionately to the stimulus.
- Road rage is also a manifestation of fear when driving. For example, drivers get angry with cyclists, but it’s more from fear of causing harm than irritation.
Who Does Road Rage Happen To?
Anyone. Road rage is often seen as a male problem, but there are plenty of cases of female drivers engaging in typical road rage behaviors. Even if you’re the most placid person in the world, there’s still a chance you could succumb to road rage once behind the wheel.
What Situations Are Likely To Cause Road Rage?
Roadworks are a major irritant for any driver, which can potentially put you in a bad enough mood to experience road rage. If roadworks tend to set your teeth on edge and make you drive more aggressively, then it’s worth going to the effort to modify your route until the work is complete.
The majority of road rage incidents involve the behavior of another driver. If you’re already in a bad mood — due to roadworks or just having a bad day — then another driver making an error can send you into a frenzy of annoyance. Being cut off, overtaken, or someone driving aggressively can be enough to make you see red. Other drivers ignoring stop signs or properly observing who has the right of way can also be triggered. Often, the event that causes the anger is relatively small, but is blown up out of proportion due to your existing irritation.
Sometimes, road rage doesn’t really have a cause; it’s just a driver in a bad mood, looking for somewhere to vent their frustrations. Driving when you’re in a bad mood is generally a terrible idea.
Why Is Road Rage Such A Bad Thing?
Being annoyed at something that happens while out on the roads is understandable, to an extent. If someone cuts you off or behaves in a way that you otherwise see as problematic, then your temper flaring may seem like a reasonable response to such a scenario.
However, there’s a huge problem lurking beneath this oh-so-justifiable response: the angrier we are, the less likely we are to pay attention to the road ahead. If you get distracted by swearing at another driver, then that means some of your attention is diverted from the road. All it takes is for your road rage to intersect with another driver not paying attention, and disaster happens. You could find yourself in need of a car accident lawyer to help unpick who is at fault for the damage of the resulting crash– because you were too distracted by anger to take evasive action regarding the other driver’s negligence. Road rage is literally that serious; if you fall victim to it often enough, then you’re going to increase your odds of being involved in a collision– endangering yourself and other road users.
How Do You Cure Road Rage?
There is no possible technique that can cure road rage instantly; the process of recovery tends to be more of a work in progress. If you want to try and manage your road rage yourself, then you’re going to need to investigate common anger management techniques and try to apply them to your own experience behind the wheel.
It’s also important to note that a lot of road rage is more a response to fear, rather than actual anger. If you feel uncomfortable while driving, or are not 100 percent sure of your skills, then these are issues you need to investigate. It might even be worth taking a few advanced driving lessons, which can help bolster your confidence and thus reduce your fear experiences while driving. This, in turn, should make you less likely to lose your temper in future– confidence and calmness have a tendency to go hand-in-hand.
If you ever experience road rage, then learning how to cope with the condition is vital. The angrier you get, the more likely it is that your frayed temper will be the cause of an accident. Acknowledging you have an issue with anger while driving is the first step that will eventually lead to a more careful, safer you.
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