Road Rage – a path to self-destruction and possibly ending sitting the night in jail
Traffic congestion may be a contributing factor to driver frustration and road rage. Road rage is aggressive or angry behavior by a driver of an automobile or other road vehicle. Such behavior might include rude gestures, verbal insults, deliberately driving in an unsafe or threatening manner, or making threats. Today, unlike the days of yesteryear, aggressive drivers have turned our city streets and freeways into free-for-all battle zones or gladiator pits.
One driver pitted against the other for reasons beyond common sense. Armed with guns, and pepper spray to eggs and water bottles, there is no holds barred for this new kind of road rage as every driver involved delves themselves into a ‘high-noon’ situation with other drivers and confront cops aggressively when they try to intervene or restore order.
An epidemic growing still into pandemic proportions, the rage seems to becoming so serious, laws are being changed to address these destructive behaviors. Every year the rate of incidents climb us as is the count of injuries, assaults and homicides related to such dangerous behaviors out in our streets and freeways. However, this fury has shown no signs of subsiding or slowing down any time soon.
Road rage can be any encounter between drivers versus other drivers but is extended to passengers, mere spectators, bicyclist, and other individuals who happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Road rage can be a moving violation, a parking lot incident where the vehicle is vandalized or damaged, a stalking situation where someone is followed home and then victimized or assaulted.
The list is too long to cover all but the fact remains, road rage is happening and its real. Renamed from the tag given previously, ‘aggressive driving’ no longer takes the perception by the media as ‘road rage’ does. What has appeared is an attitude of being a ‘vigilante behavior’ to make a wrong right with another wrongful act with all involved being wrong in the letter of the law.
This madness to inflict some kind of retribution or punish others is driving is growing at exponentially magnitudes but AAA or the highway agencies in various states are not tracking this as a data report. Evidence shows self-destructiveness in many ways of losing self-control and usually starts with ‘hand signals or gestures’ that escalates into physical violence or even shooting at each other.
This kind of ‘intimidatory driving’ starts as verbal abuse and escalates quickly. Attacks on people and vehicles are being reported whereas before, none such events were logged down by any public safety agency or AAA support groups. Some conflicts are caused by erratic or reckless driving given the offended party an opportunity to express their dislike for these driving practices by flipping the ‘bird’ to another person.
Secondly, there could be an encounter of the worse kind, when decals, signs or other visible preference over a sport or team initiates conflict while on the road. Lane changing, speeding and excessive tailgating all contribute to the anger.
This appears to be more of a personality trait than a crime but nevertheless, people are getting hurt or killed by people motivated to be aggressive and inflict some kind of punishment to the others.
Expressing anger while behind the steering wheel is normal. What is abnormal is when it goes beyond the screaming, yelling, muttering or stuttering to tell the other person what they are thinking and initiating more aggressive behaviors. It comes down to lack of proper social functioning skills and lack of coping with the environment they are driving in.
Wikipedia identifies several issues that manifest road rage. They are:
· Generally aggressive driving, including sudden acceleration, braking, and close tailgating
· Cutting others off in a lane, or deliberately preventing someone from merging
· Chasing other motorists
· Flashing lights and/or sounding the horn excessively
· Yelling or exhibiting disruptive behavior at roadside establishments
· Driving at high speeds in the median of a highway to terrify drivers in both lanes\
· Rude gestures (such as "the finger"
· Shouting verbal abuses or threats or intentionally causing a collision between vehicles
· Hitting other vehicles or hitting or assaulting other motorists, their passengers, cyclists, or pedestrians
· Exiting the car to attempt to start confrontations, including striking other vehicles with an object
· Threatening to use or using a firearm or other deadly weapon
· Throwing projectiles from a moving vehicle with the intent of damaging other vehicle
Sometimes this lack of control is described as "basically a maladaptive reaction to an identifiable psycho-social stressor that interferes with social functioning which may include sharing the roadway with another driver. One may feel misunderstood and claim dominance other the other by expressing anger at another driver.
Road rage can be controlled. Aggressive drivers are under better control than drunk drivers and thus have the capabilities to correct their behaviors before it inflicts too much damage or calculated embarrassment or humiliation. It is fair to say that road rage has become our number one fear rather than drunk drivers on the streets.
It is also likely true that there is now an epidemic out there of running red lights creating much of the conflict. Installing red light cameras can solve some of these problems but the others are left up between driver versus drivers as they compete for their share of the roadway they are occupying and taking control of one way or another.