Road Rage: How it Impacts Our Society
While driving on the road today, it is hard to ignore the aggressiveness of drivers. Someone may abruptly swerve in front of you, switch in and out of lanes, call you names or even follow you home. It moves beyond excessive honking and into behavior which is frightening and at times, life threatening. In our current society, road rage isn’t relegated to one gender over another or to a particular country. These angry outbursts cross gender lines, with both males and females driving aggressively and acting rudely. How does this behavior impact society.
Rise in Car Accidents
Most countries require drivers to take tests to obtain a driver license. However, passing exam requirements doesn’t necessarily prevent road rage. In a given year in the U.S., there are approximately 6.8 million accidentsand a substantial number of these incidents are a result of aggressive driving. Merely obtaining a driver’s license or taking a defensive driving course fails to insulate you against becoming a victim of road rage.
Breathing Polluted Air
While another car is tailgating you or playing bumper cars, although you may not be aware of it, you are breathing in toxin fumes from poisonous mixtures of ozone and lead. With pockets of road rage everywhere there is an increased chance of widespread pollution. Some believe driving alternative fuel vehicles is insurance against pollution, but this is clearly not the case.
Leads to Depression & Health Issues
During these violent outbursts, heart rate increases, anger and yelling come to the surface. The more aggressive drivers may suffer from other underlying issues which tend to spill over onto the road and impact innocent people. Those who fail to address this aggression are at increase risk of anxiety, depression and heart attacks.
How to Avoid Reacting to Road Rage
All people make mistakes on the road and some of these errors are unintentional. However, even innocent mistakes can lead to an aggressor’s wrath. To avoid a life threatening incident on the road, do the following:
- Do not physically or emotionally react to the aggressor. Avoid making eye contact. If you react, you risk injury to yourself.
- Control your own anger. If you fight the aggressor’s reaction with your own outburst, it will only escalate the situation even more.
- Refrain from using your car horn to alert other drivers to the aggressive individual. This might lead to a chase or even worse, an intentional slam into your car. Try to always practice good driving habits and if you are in situation where road rage is imminent, keep your emotions in check.
How Other Countries Deal with Violent Outbursts
Countries like China are emphasizing the importance of not reacting violently while driving in their courses as well as running nightly campaigns to warn potential aggressors to refrain from road rage. The message from the government is clear – reign in road rage. In Britain, heavily congested roads and busy work schedules leads to a frightening statistic: 70 percent of drivers admit to suffering some kind of road rage. There is a movement to push people to self reflect on an adopted driving style and to ask about the day’s emotions before getting into the car.