Controlling Road Rage
Medical Author: Melissa Stoppler, M.D.
Road rage is a term that has become popular to describe angry, hostile reactions when driving that are directed toward other drivers. Ranging from acts of true violence (such as using the automobile as a weapon or physically assaulting another driver) to aggressive tailgating and gesturing, road rage is on the rise all over the world.
Experts agree that crowding of roads and highways is one reason people resort to road rage. The construction of new roads has not kept pace with the number of cars, leaving today's drivers feeling more cramped than ever. The territorial nature of humans - to react defensively when we feel that our spaces have been invaded - certainly also plays a role. Finally, the anonymity and security of having a ton of steel between us and the outside world can embolden even the usually timid driver and remove the inhibitions one might normally feel about aggressive or inappropriate behavior.
Both victims and perpetrators of road rage are most likely to be young males, but road rage occurs across all ages and genders. It is most common in urban areas where overcrowding of roadways is greatest. Up to 90% of people report having been the victim of an aggressive act by another driver, and over half admit to having acted aggressively themselves.
If you are overcome with anger while driving, try to remain calm and regain control over your emotions. The following tips can help tame anger on the roadways: