The Highway Hazard-Road Rage

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The term ‘road rage’ was created in the late 80s. Road rage is the act of being aggressive or irate while operating a vehicle.

Statistics show that 250,000 people have died in traffic since 1990. It is believed that two-thirds of these deaths are at least partially caused by aggressive driving, although only 218 were found to be a direct cause of angry drivers.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 66 percent of all annual traffic fatalities are caused by aggressive driving actions, such as passing on the right, running red lights and tailgating.
In addition to fatalities, there have been an estimated 20 million injuries; 12,610 caused by aggressive driving. These numbers show that there has been a 51 percent increase in aggressive driving incidents since 1990. Of these incidents, 37 percent involved the use of a firearm, 28 percent involved other weapons, and 35 percent involved the use of a car as a weapon. Related to this increase in aggressive driving incidents may be the fact that the number of drivers on the road is increasing; as of 1990, 91 percent of people drove to work., that doesn’t even begin to account for the number of people who decided not to report an incident!

Also, young men are the most prone to road rage. Whether this is due to a predisposition to aggression, a lack of experience or just the simple fact that young men tend to drive more than other ages and gender groups, is still a subject of debate. In a 2002 Rage-Depression Survey, the most competitive, aggressive population polled were men under the age of 19 [source: Dr. Driving.org].

Men reported feeling a sense of rage more frequently than women. Fifty-six percent of the men surveyed said they experienced rage on a daily basis versus 44 percent of the women. More men also admitted to retaliating against others when they felt angry or provoked [source: Dr. Driving.org].

rrAccident scene

Road rage has become an epidemic on highways and byways all over the world. Angry, stressed-out drivers taking out their aggressions behind the wheel may be one of the most dangerous highway hazards any driver has to handle.

Or….

Do you know of anyone, including yourself, who hasn’t been ticked off by a tailgater, a lane hog, or someone who won’t move over to let you onto the highway? Sincerely, haven’t you sometimes dreamed of, or even indulged in, some minor retaliation, such as a loud beep or an offensive gesture?

Road Rage Symptoms:

Road rage is usually identified by the actions of the driver acting irrationally on the road. Below are some of the most common ways an extremely aggressive driver takes dangerous action.

. Tailgating
· Breaking abruptly
· Accelerating suddenly
· Using vehicle as a barrier
· Cutting off other drivers
· Honking without cause
· Chasing drivers
· Making obscene hand and verbal gestures
· Getting out of their vehicle to threaten

.Causing other vehicles to collide
·Using own vehicle to hit another vehicle or person
·Striking others with weapons or using a firearm etc..

We often excuse such behavior by saying that it’s just a way of letting off a little steam, calming us down so that we can get back to concentrating on our normally safe driving. Unfortunately, however, nowadays an angry response may be like waving a red cape in front of a bull. It could get you in real trouble with some other driver who’s madder than you are.

Why It Happens

Behavior experts have come up with a number of possible explanations for road rage. The most common theory is that the stresses of everyday life, both on and off the job, have become so intense that they lead to a coping mechanism of which people may not even be aware.

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What to Do About It

“Road rage is a two-way street,” noted Ray Palermo, of Response Insurance. “It takes two people to fight. So, if you are subjected to aggressive driving, often the best way to ensure it does not get any worse is to just ignore it.”

When this kind of attitude occurs on the road, whether it’s yours or another driver’s, it only makes sense to focus on managing your feelings rather than expressing them.

Patiently remind yourself that the more courteous driver (you) is the better driver. So, yield the right-of-way even to someone who is obviously proceeding in an inappropriate way. Then, congratulate yourself on having been wise enough to avoid a confrontation in what very likely could have been a lose-lose situation.

Attitude: Driving is not a competitive sport. Think of this…what do you “win” by cutting ahead of another car? Stay calm, focus on getting from one place to another safely, and try to forget about time if you’re running late

-One driver can’t fight alone. Don’t allow yourself to get drawn into a confrontation

-Err on the side of being courteous

-Using your turn signal makes sure drivers around you aren’t surprised by your maneuver. A Response Insurance National Driving Habits Survey revealed that 57% of drivers don’t regularly use their signals.

-Avoid changing lanes indiscriminately

-Regardless of the speed you are traveling, move to the right lane if someone wants to pass you.

-Tailgating not only greatly reduces your ability to respond, it can annoy the other driver. Keeping a safe distance is always better and safer.

-Don’t make obscene gestures. Avoid any visible sign that you may be angry

-Don’t use your phone while driving, it is possible.

-If a driver is displaying signs of aggressive driving — get away from them.

-If someone cuts you off, slow down and give them room. Their aggression may escalate if you respond in kind.

-If you think you are in serious danger, use a cellular phone to call the police, or drive to a police station or heavily populated area. Do not drive to your home and do not get out of the car until safe.

-If you make a mistake, try to apologize with an appropriate gesture.

Make the Sensible and Safe Choice

Choosing sensible behavior may be easier said than done, of course, but it will be well worth the effort. You’ll know you’ve used mature, sound judgment. You can even feel a little superior to the clod who cut you off. You’ll have decreased your stress level. And most important of all, you’ll be safer for the rest of your drive.

Road rage is like a contagious disease. Protect yourself and your loved ones from it with safe driving information that will help your people control their behavior on the road and steer clear of any obviously “infected” drivers.

It’s important to keep in mind that road rage isn’t some uncontrollable phenomenon. As drivers, we each have the responsibility to be as safe as we can. We also each have the choice over whether to engage in aggressive behaviors or retaliate against a real or perceived insult. So the next time you’re driving and someone cuts you off or honks at you, try to keep a cool head and set a good example.

If you have ever dealt with an enraged driver or have been the enraged driver before, kindly comment…we want to learn from your experience.

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