Losing Your Temper While Driving: Common Causes of Road Rage
After two hours of shopping at Market Basket, you are finally leaving the parking lot. You head to the exit, only to find that Common is gridlocked. You put your blinker on and desperately try to catch the eye of someone to let you in. Five minutes and three light rotations later, you have had enough—you boldly inch further into traffic in order to get someone’s attention. Finally—right before you were about to scream—you get a nod from a lady who, looking just as annoyed as you, stopped to let you in.
As you begin to pull out, you have to slam on your brakes to avoid another frustrated driver who decided he did not want to stop for you. You managed to brake just in time to watch him fly by you, only to get stuck behind a truck who was doing the same thing to an SUV a few cars ahead. Now everyone is upset, and yet still going nowhere.
No wonder Common is gridlocked—road rage!
4 Common Causes of Road Rage
Road rage not only affects you, but everyone around you. When you lose your temper or become uncontrollably frustrated, your driving suffers, and when your driving suffers, you put yourself, your family, and everyone around you at risk. Here are some common causes of road rage:
- After witnessing and/or being affected by someone else’s poor and dangerous driving choices, it is natural to be somewhat paranoid of other drivers. This paranoia can become extremely distracting as you attempt to avoid all other cars or maneuver around them because you expect them to do something dangerous. Meanwhile, you are the one who is driving dangerously.
- Your adrenaline can increase when you are scared, excited, or surprised. When another driver cuts you off or does something unexpected, your heart rate may go up, your adrenaline may increase—causing erratic behavior, shaking and stress—and you could feel an uncontrollable fight or flight response.
- The desire for “pay back” is often associated with that adrenaline increase. You may experience the need for justice or attempt to figure out a way to pay back the driver that caused the offense. This could not only put yourself and family at risk but could also lead you to cause an accident, all because someone else upset you.
- Erratic driving can be associated with both adrenaline and distractions, as you may feel the need to drive too defensively or dangerously in order to avoid further incidents.
When another motorist’s actions upset you, instead of getting defensive and angry—let it go. If you don't, your anger may potentially cause a far worse accident than the motorist could have caused with you.
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