Stress as a Cause of Road Rage

Road rage is a major problem in the United States, anger causes stress, fear, and accidents to our roadways everyday. In this essay we will define road rage, look at the causes and effects, and come up with solutions on how to avoid an altercation with an aggressive driver who has road rage and how to avoid being the cause yourself. Anger is a large part of being human, it is an emotion just like any other and therefore it is hard to overcome.What people need to realize though, is that just like any other emotion, it causes you to focus on it, which in turn causes you to lose focus on whatever you may be doing at the time, which in this case is driving. Since driving is one of the most dangerous things a person can do, losing focus is a very bad thing.The specific definition of road rage is Violent behavior exhibited by drivers in traffic, often as a manifestation of stress.But what is road rage really? Is it just being angry at another driver after they do something wrong or irritating? No, there is much more to it than that. It isn’t just the emotion, although that is part of it, but it is your or whoever is driving’s reaction to their anger. Therein lies the problem, when a person is in the heat of the moment, tensions are high and people are riled, it becomes difficult to control yourself. When that happens people release the tension by going into tantrums, using obscene gestures to portray their disdain, or using violence toward their own vehicle like breaking something or punching the steering wheel.Road rage covers a multitude of hostile acts committed by angry or frustrated drivers, from deliberate tailgating to vehicular homicide. The prevalence of road rage has increased so much in the past decade that psychologists have actually classified it as a mental disorder. Many drivers who are prone to sudden emotional outbursts or inappropriate reactions are now said to suffer from intermittent explosive disorder. Not all incidents of road rage can be attributed to a mental disorder, however. Some experts believe drivers learn aggressive behavior from observing their parents and watching numerous examples of simulated road rage on television. In the the case that people may be copying what they see or have seen, could that mean that sometimes road rage could also be a semblance of pride? Maybe it is just a means or way of showing strength. Human beings not backing down from a fight or a showing of aggressiveness towards someone they now consider their enemy. If this is indeed the case, then it is safe to assume that someone’s reaction to hostility on the road would change when there is also someone with them in the vehicle. Someone to show off their “strength” to?This bring us to the major causes of road rage in the world. Starting with the thing being easily the biggest cause, Stress. Stress is the sole culprit which makes one lose control, even a person who has been considered coolheaded in normal situations will lose control under stressful situations. Everybody wants to rush at places as they want to catch up with so many things and have so little time. Honestly, in this day and age, what doesn’t cause stress to people. There is so much. you couldn’t even list it all. Work, money, relationships, children, deadlines, fear, and fighting, so much stress and mixing that with the fears of the road and sometimes the anger that comes with it and you get a very short fuse on a very stressed out person just waiting to snap.According to AAA, “Human beings are territorial … The car is an extension of this territory,” this causing the person to get mad and rage about the situation. Also, according to a 2008 study found, humans crave violence just like sex. If thats true then it would mean that when face with a situation where a person will either fight or not not only would most people fight, but they would be consciously choosing to do so. Negative actions play out bigger than positive acts, University of Chicago researchers say. Feeling slighted can have a bigger effect on how a person responds than being the recipient of perceived generosity, the researchers found. “For instance in driving, if you are kind and let someone go in front of you, that driver may be considerate in response. But if you cut someone off, that person may react very aggressively, and this could escalate to road rage,” said University of Chicago psychology professor Boaz Keysar. “Small slights could escalate to unbelievable, irrational feuds.”The effects of road rage is staggering and terrifying to say the least. A report from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety states that at least 218 men, women, and children are known to have been murdered and 12,610 people injured as a result 10,037 road rage incidents it examined. “The 12,610 injuries included scores of cases in which people suffered paralysis, brain damage, amputation, and other seriously disabling injuries,” the report says. Victims are usually considered accidental deaths, and find themselves unable to avoid the onslaught of an aggressive driver. Although death and killing by road rage is the worst of it, it is not at all the only effect felt. There is also major damage done to things all around, things that everyday people need for everyday living. like damage done to roadways and important buildings life workplaces, schools, and houses and all that damage is incredibly unfair to the innocent people who have absolutely no business with the petty quarrels of the road.There are only two major basics to the root of road rage. There is the person who is being wronged in some way that it makes them mad enough to rage, then there is the person who doing the thing that creates the problem. So, to prevent road rage you must work on both sides of the problem. For not being the cause, the obvious thing would be to work on you driving skills, maybe if it’s been a while, read up on the rules and laws of the road. If thats not the problem, and the problem with you lies more in the concentration and attention side of things, then try not using your phone in the vehicle, leaving your radio on a volume that will not distract you from what is most important. Pay attention to the road and drive safely and responsibly.For the receiving end of the conflict, the obvious thing would be to try working on anger management.the same things that would apply to regular anger management would most likely also apply to road rage too. Like getting more sleep to avoid irritation, if you feel yourself clenching the steering wheel or your teeth or something, loosen up take deep breathes. Maybe you could put on some soothing or relaxing music that will ease the mind and calm you down. Also there is the obvious method of de-stressing your self, since stress is the major reason for the anger and irritation, the removal of it would greatly remove the likeness of more aggressiveness on the road. Then lastly, if you are having major problems with anger and irritation on the road and otherwise, you could go see a professional to help you.In conclusion, the road rage in the world, especially in the united states is a major problem. It is out of control and it is steadily getting worse and worse. We have learned exactly what road rage is, what causes it, and it’s dangers. You can avoid trouble, and save many lives by preventing road rage.