Don't Be a Victim of Road Rage

July 19, 2019

Traffic in every major city is heavier than ever before, especially during peak hours for commuting. Unfortunately, that causes many a driver's anger level to steadily increase, while he or she is forced to slowly work their way to where they are going. As luck would have it, the morning you are running behind you find yourself having to wait at stoplights or merging into endless lanes of traffic. After a few failed attempts using excessive horn honking or acting out rude gestures, you become impatient and there is a noticeable change in your anger. At this point, it is easy to forsake personal control and engage in aggressive driving.

Road rage generally exhibits one of two types of behavior. Drivers who display habitual road rage are exercising a learned behavior. They leave home with an ember of anger glowing and temper outbursts result in horn blowing, gesturing and aggressive driving techniques that often target another driver. A study funded by the National Institute of Mental Health concluded that 5 to 7% of a representative sample of drivers displayed what is called intermittent explosive disorder, which may affect up to 16 million Americans. Situational road rage, on the other hand, typically involves someone unintentionally driving aggressively due to a catalytic event.

By definition, intermittent explosive disorder involves multiple outbursts that are out of proportion to the situation. Such outbursts, which often include threats, aggressive actions or property damages, are more common than better-known disorders like schizophrenia or bipolar disease. Medical researchers say intermittent explosive disorder often appears in adolescence with early onset around 14 years of age — just in time to receive their learner's permit. Health care professionals at Harvard Medical School warn that little-studied intermittent explosive disorder is much more common than previously thought.

Nonetheless, according to the National Highway Transportation and Safety Agency, you can take steps to protect yourself by avoiding mad motorists, laying off the car horn, acting like a grown up, and never exciting the crazy people. If you see aggressive driving, you could save a life or prevent further road rage by calling the police to report the details of an incident. If an accident does happen, be cautious in approaching the aggressive driver. Moreover, if an aggressive driver with road rage starts to follow you, contact the police or slowly drive to the nearest police station, but do not go home.


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