Road Rage and Aggressive Driving: Get a Grip on Your Emotions
Driving comes with many hazards, least of which is road rage.
Road rage is defined as a driver losing control and engaging in personal violence. Living in Toronto, I have been on the receiving end of a few “third finger waves” (the middle finger) as well as given a few to other equally frustrating drivers. I have yet to deal with serious road rage, but I am not sure I want to! It is actually become an epidemic with as many as two billion cases just in North America.
It really all boils down to the stress we endure by commuting to and from our jobs each day.
The average commute for Canadians is around 62 minutes. That is a long time to be stuck in traffic especially if the weather is bad. Then there are other contributors like noise, vibrations, passengers and fatigue. This all culminates into frustration and anger and doing things we could regret. Road rage is a learned and cultural habit for retaliation. It could even have been learned in childhood from your peers or parents.
The only way out of driving and road rage is to get a grip on your emotions.
The worst thing that could happen is to confront someone just as angry or angrier then you. Remember we all have a choice of how to act when we are stuck in a heavy traffic situation and freaking out is not going to accomplish anything.
Here are some responses that may occur:
- venting without any retaliation
- venting with retaliation
- not venting, staying cool
- not venting, partaking in other activities
There are actually four degrees of road rage.
-First Degree- a single gesture curses etc.
-Second Degree- repeated exchanges and impaired thinking
-Third Degree- harassing the other driver with lights, tailgating, edging them over, and stopping abruptly. This is referred to as “Highway Madness.”
-Fourth Degree- Injuring the other driver or their vehicle. Extreme road rage is the assault with a vehicle or weapon on the other driver and passengers. It is a criminal offense.
Most drivers are fine while driving; however there are those that have frequent episodes of aggressive driving and for some it is actually normal.
There are those that have learned that driving style but for other it is because they are ill. Chronic anger and aggressive driving must be thought to be psychological and treated as violations of the law. These people need professional help to deal with their anger issues. That is the major concern with road rage issues. People even road rage with their kids in the car. There have been instances where people have been shot and lost their lives over road rage. If you experience bad drivers or idiots on the road just take a deep breath because it is not worth losing your life over.
Here are some ways to improve your driving and to expel anger before it turns into road rage. I have tried the first one myself an get a kick out of seeing the others drivers reactions:
- smile at them or make a funny face
- listen to soft music
- understand annoying drivers
- laugh it off
- let them pass you
- fear the consequences
- focus on the good things waiting at your destination
If you are a driver in today’s chaotic and unpredictable world, you may encounter road rage. The best thing to do is to remain calm and not make the matter worse. To avoid getting stressed yourself take a deep breath and learn to let certain day to day events go to keep your sanity.
Andrei Zakhareuski is the founder of Find-a-driving-school.ca. He has been writing for beginner Canadian drivers for several years.
Connect with Andrei at Google+