Why Do We Get Road Rage?
Experts reveal why normal people become aggressive behind the wheel.
17:48 08 August 2016
Angry, frustrated drivers may be putting themselves and others at great risk while on the road. Anger, although a perfectly acceptable emotion, is nowhere less helpful, more common, and potentially more dangerous than when a person is behind the wheel.
Road rage is usually triggered by a specific event that often involves the actions of another driver and other behaviours that we interpret as a threat or an obstacle. A driver’s response to these events is affected by person-related factors such as gender, age, beliefs, contextual stressors, and mood.
Study shows that our response is also affected by how we interpret traffic incidents. Some people take it too personal while others blow it out of proportion. Other factors that may come into play include the anonymity we feel in the car and our inability to communicate in another way. In some people, these factors lead to road rage making them to honk the horn, yell abuse and demonstrate hostile gestures, and sometimes, make dangerous manoeuvres and get out of the car to carry out verbal attack or physical violence.
Dr Stan Steindl, Adjunct Associate Professor of Psychology and Dr James Kirby, Research Fellow in Clinical Psychology, both from the University of Queensland, explained how to reduce road rage. They recommend changing anger-evoking cognitive patterns or faulty thinking, learning relaxation coping skills when anger is aroused, and finding strategies to solve difficult situations on the road.
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