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Thursday, April 24, 2008

Are you a road rager?

The weather is getting warmer, and more people are excited about getting out of their houses and go for a wonderful ride and enjoying the sights of spring… but will you find yourself a victim of a “road rager?”

First of all, how would you describe road rage?
• Road rage or road violence is characterized by deliberate or dangerous driving under the influence of anger or frustration, or a violent emotion

Are there different causes for road rage?
• Environmental: Traffic congestion, some other drivers’ dangerous driving behaviors, noise levels, time constraints, and weather conditions such as heat, can cause rage.
• Intuitive response: This is a response to someone else’s careless driving. Typically this happens when we want to get some “retaliation” on the careless driver. Sometimes this e is called an “impulse control response”. It may involve yelling, giving someone a gesture, cutting the driver off, horn blasting, etc.
• Territorial defense: This is an internal response when we feel that we are defending our personal space or our car. Feeling invaded, we act out to defend our self and our emotion race and we become a road rager with some of the techniques we just discussed.

Who are typical road ragers?
• Studies show ragers typically have hostile aggressive thinking patterns (judgmental and critical people)
• People who are quick to anger. (People who tend to be name callers, yellers, those who hit or throw things, people who abuse substances, people who are anxious, etc)
• Drivers who are risk takers. Studies show those who report driving 10-20 miles per hour over the speed limit, who switch lanes rapidly, and those who tailgate are included in this group.)

What are some suggestions if you meet a road rager?
• Never make eye contact. Remember in the wild, you would not look an animal directly in the eye and indicate antagonistic behaviors. This will only intensify their anger
• Get to safety and turn the corner and get away from the abusive driver. If they follow you, never go home—in fact you might want to drive towards a police station.
• Take a deep breath, try to relax yourself, and don’t endanger yourself. Drive the speed limit and think about something pleasant instead of getting caught in impulsive thoughts.

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