The term Road Rage can be referred to violent behaviour of a driver. This violent behaviour may lead to a road accident because the driver was not able to remain in control of himself or his emotions thus leading to aggressive driving which may prove fatal. The driver fails to control his temper and explodes which is manifested in different manners. Speeding and aggressive acceleration or tailgating may take place. Cutting others off or weaving in and out of traffic is also a very common result of road rage.
Rude gestures, verbal abuse and threats are also witnessed often. Every year more than 300 cases of road rage have ended with serious injuries some of them fatal.
Why does road rage occur? One of the common reasons is that it has become a cultural norm. From childhood one has been observing one’s parents and other adults and has just followed in their footsteps. Secondly, by the time an adolescent starts driving he or she has been exposed to numerous hours of television gazing which have portrayed features of bad drivers who have not only shown road rage but have also got away with it too.
Thirdly, if one is in an benevolent mood and is courteous to another driver, one expects the other driver to be courteous in return and when a courtesy is not returned, no thanks is given the driver turns furious and may even pursue the car and driver demanding a thank you and when it is denied the anger flares up and one feels hurt and insulted as well.
This quickly turns to road rage and one wants to punish the offender, revenge is all one thinks about, for one is ruled by angry emotions and one does not question the legitimacy of one’s anger or the fact that the other driver might simply have been oblivious to the courtesy shown as he/she might have been engrossed in other thoughts. Fourthly, it can also be generational where the youngsters feel that they can navigate the roads at 95 with their six months driving experience and they want to overtake every car and every person which can cause road rage among other drivers.
Road Rage is found everywhere in America today. As people commute to and fro daily burdened with anxiety, stress, discontent etc. such incidents tend to become more. The sad part is that everyone seems to be doing it. What is the rush for? You might save a few minutes but is it worth hurting someone, may not always be physical but even mentally? It is a question worth pondering over. Verbal road rage which begins with an explosion of invectives and accusations will rapidly reach a peak, last a few seconds with a slight feeling of relief only to flare up again. This cycle of anger can go on and if not mitigated will result in a tragedy.
We tend to find road rage everywhere because of the unforgiving attitude we have for each other for making mistakes. Emotionally intelligent thinking will allow the driver to look at the situation and think more objectively. Drivers do make mistakes and bad moves not because they are stupid or careless or incompetent but because for the moment they were confused, scared or overwhelmed. The fact is that most drivers will appear incompetent under certain circumstances. When they are unfamiliar with the road environment their responses may be slow which will infuriate another driver, or older motorists drive more slowly in the passing lane or still others may have pain like a sprained back , or some may have children with them which do not allow them to move out fast for the other vehicle to overtake.
Thus one must learn to remain calmer behind the wheel in order to prevent road rage. Children should not be witnesses to their parents having road rage, and the media should not show those with road rage not having to answer for their misdeed. A bit of courtesy takes one a long way. Acknowledgment of a bit of kindness shown by other drivers not only brightens up their day but also of the giver.
For older motorists or those with problems while driving should try to avoid the passing lane and if not possible should have a sorry sign to show the other drivers. Similarly those who make a mistake while driving should immediately apologise by showing the sorry sign. A thank you and sorry immediately calms down a person and there would be far less road rage in the country and in the world.