Road Rage encompasses much more than just what a dictionary can provide. At Anger Solutions Atlanta we have spent numerous hours with clients that suffer from ‘road rage’, and in studying clinical research documents, trying to define what road rage is; its’ cause and affects and the treatment (tools) for alleviating it.
Road rage, also called intermittent explosive disorder, is a term used to refer to violent incidents resulting from stress caused by accidents or incidents on roadways. It is often a natural extension of aggressive driving.
Frustration and aggression are not caused by traffic, no matter how heavy. Road rage is a learned cultural habit of retaliation, when you feel like retaliating. It’s a free choice we exercise. When we are frustrated in heavy traffic we have a choice of how we are going to respond.
Rage in its’ simplest form occurs when a driver reacts angrily to other drivers, cutting them off, tailgating, gesturing or waving fist. At its worst, the angry driver may become more aggressive and try to injure or kill another driver.
In all actuality, this form of rage is an expression of an underlying problem with a driver. That driver is not able to remain in control of themselves or their emotions. It isn’t the automobile or the other driver that brings out the aggressive nature. It is inside the person who, regardless of the setting, fails to control his or her temper and simply explodes.
Road rage can happen to anybody at any time and can vary from an aggressive gesture or word to a full on physical attack, or in some cases, even murder.
Over the past few years, the so-called ‘road rage syndrome’ has developed and we hear an increasing amount about it. However, this form of rage is nothing new; it has been around us for many a years, probably since the beginning of road transport. Everybody is capable of showing this type of rage, YES…even YOU! That’s why it’s so important to learn defensive driving skills along with ways to manage any anger that you might feel while operating a vehicle.
On the road, behaviors that can trigger incidents of road rage are many and varied. Some people may just not like the way you look behind the wheel.
AGGRESSIVE DRIVING Vs. ROAD RAGE
There is a fine line between these two labels for driving behavior. Aggressive driving leads to road rage either on the part of the driver or on the part of the victim. People who are aggressive drivers feel that they “own the road.” They have little or no regard for the other drivers and are reckless and dangerous. These drivers have a lot of anger, resentment, and frustration and they take that with them when they get behind the wheel of an automobile. Generally, aggressive drivers are those who are poorly educated with a high level of stress and little ability to cope with that stress.Road rage is what results from an aggressive driver’s driving habits. They generally have a short fuse and if you try to stop them from their unsafe behaviors, they become agitated and often violent.
What is most surprising is that the aggressive driver is not the main person involved in a road rage incident. Road rage results from aggressive driving in one of two ways:
- The aggressive driver exhibits unsafe behavior and another driver attempts to stop that behavior. The aggressive driver becomes angry that someone would stand up to him or her and that anger comes out with unbridled rage.
- The aggressive driver exhibits unsafe behavior and another driver becomes angered at the recklessness. He or she confronts the aggressive driver in a threatening way, thus precipitating a road rage incident.
Aggressive driving and Road Rage is a choice
Aggressive driving is a choice, just as expressing rage is a choice. Studies have found that it too is a learned behavior. Unfortunately, hundreds of cases of road rage each year-end with serious injuries, or even fatalities.
Many drivers have feelings of rage while driving because it is a cultural norm; people learn this behavior from childhood when being driven by parents and other adults. Also, by the time adolescents begin to drive they have been exposed to thousands of hours of T.V. programs that feature drivers behaving badly or dangerously and getting away with it.
Legally there is a difference between road rage and aggressive driving. Only a few states have enacted special aggressive driving laws. Road rage cases are typically processed as assault and battery,( with or without a vehicle), or vehicular homicide in cases involving death.
Perhaps the biggest cause of unsafe highways is people’s unwillingness to scrutinize their own conduct, preferring to blame other drivers. Surveys consistently show that most people have an inflated self-image of their driving ability, rating the safety of their own driving as far superior to all other inhabitants of the road.
Our Road Rage Sessions are affordable and we accept the following forms of payment:
Anger Solutions Atlanta is an Anderson and Anderson™ Of Brentwood, CA Certified Anger Management Provider.
Call (404)437-9977 to schedule a Road Rage Session in Atlanta Georgia.