Highway Stress: What Causes Road Rage
The term road rage was coined sometime around the late 80s.
At the time, it mainly conjured up images of people jumping out their car after being rear-ended, rolling their sleeves up, throwing a few punches, and settling the score there and then. While that is one example of what can occur from road rage, we’ve often seen or heard about other cases of rage that have escalated into more serious crimes.
There are certain driving habits that might seem harmless to one person, but enrages another driver, which can consequently cause car accidents and more. Road rage could happen for various reasons, from something as simple as honking to more aggressive behavior such as throwing insults. It can turn a seemingly harmless driver into a dangerous one.
The fact that it’s called a rage implies that it’s an impulse. But even if the driver didn’t plan on getting enraged, tempers may instinctively flare up in the blink of an eye and many drivers will act upon that rage. Almost all drivers will experience road rage inferred by another driver, but most people keep it under control.
Let’s take a closer look at some of the factors that make some drivers snap.
Anger is the number one cause of road rage. Whether this anger is directly tied to what is happening on the road or not is a whole other story. Most of the time, the anger we have inside us has nothing to do with the road. Yes, you can get angry because traffic has made you late for an appointment or get angry because someone is tailgating you. Yet, your anger shouldn’t escalate to the point of physically hurting someone.
This anger, if not controlled, can only lead to bad things. In fact, one of the most common reasons why many drivers in Dallas, Texas find themselves in an accident is because of this anger. Even the smallest car accident can have major consequences on you and others involved. Under such circumstances, one of your first lines of action to take after seeking medical attention should be to contact a lawyer. Victims of road rage are entitled to receive compensation so don’t ignore this as road ragers need to be held accountable for their actions.
Road rage has been linked to more underlying psychological causes, one of them is stress. This stress isn’t planted by the other driver, but is triggered by certain driving habits or circumstances. A typical example is getting frustrated while in traffic.
People will often feel stressed out from heavy traffic and jams, but they are probably also feeling the stress from something else that has nothing to do with the traffic; a fight at home or an unpleasant incident at work, etc. This can lead us to have angry thoughts that could spiral out of control quickly. We begin to perceive normal or neutral behavior from others as offending and angering.
Some people get into their cars and have too much self-confidence. Over 80% of people think they have excellent driving skills. What happens is that the rager sees everyone else on the road as weak or stupid drivers.
For the rager, someone honking at them is viewed as an insult. Honking at someone can be annoying, but it hardly justifies getting into a physical altercation. But with feelings of being a superior driver, we might be better able to understand the mentality of road ragers at the time of driving.
Most people don’t know that listening to a certain genre of music while driving can be a factor of road rage. In one study studying the relation between music genre and driver aggression, it was found that the type of music we listen to could produce road rage. It revealed that hip-hop and rap music, in particular, placed drivers more at risk for road rage.
One of the reasons cited is that the lyrics of many of these tunes appear to have an adverse effect on behavior. Some people do argue, however, that is the loudness of music that might cause more accidents, rather than the genre. Generally, it is advised to keep the volume low while driving since it’s a form of distraction, though there are no clear laws against it.
The consequences of road rage are many. They can range from having your license suspended or being sentenced to jail time, to being involved in an accident. There are things you can do to avoid road rage. Whether you’re a potential victim or perpetrator, you need to remain calm when you get behind the wheel. Your life and the lives of others depend on that.