What causes Road Rage?
Sometimes an aggressive driver cutting dangerously close in front of another driver can cause aggression. But, aggressive driving includes everything, from weaving in and out of lanes to get to your destination a few seconds earlier, to abusing your car’s horn to express frustration with other road users. Everyone has to share the same road and there is a level of commitment to that shared road space that must be respected if everyone wants to get where they are going safely.
When someone allows their traffic jam frustration to reach a dangerous pitch, they take the next step towards aggressive driving and become enraged. This makes them respond rudely to other drivers and it also makes them drive more dangerously. Tailgating, horn honking, not using turn signals and talking on a cellphone while driving in dense traffic are activities common among aggressive drivers. Danger sets in when that driver, for whatever reason, becomes angry.
Reasons for Road Rage
- Higher instances of road rage incidents come from difficult sections of road. When traffic builds, people become impatient.
- The most common enraged drivers are young men under the age of 19. Experts disagree as to why this is. Some say young men are naturally more hot-headed and aggressive.
- Some people drive aggressively because they are running late for work, school, or an appointment.
- Tinted windows can develop a sense of anonymity and detachment to drivers. This may provoke antisocial behavior. The knowledge that it is unlikely they will ever be seen again by those they offend, could result in extreme rudeness and rage.
- It does appear that civility and respect for authority has decreased.
Results of Aggression and Road Rage
Drivers with low tolerances for traffic delays might respond by:
- Following too closely
- Driving at excessive speeds
- Weaving through traffic
- Running stop lights and signs
- Changing lanes frequently
- Becoming angry at anyone who impedes their progress.
- Gesturing in anger or yelling at another motorist, confrontation, physical assault and even murder.
An important distinction is that aggressive driving is a traffic violation, while road rage is a criminal offense.