Road rage is something that many drivers experience at one point or another; in fact, you may have experienced it yourself. Road rage is defined as “violent anger caused by the stress and frustration involved in driving a motor vehicle in difficult conditions”. Conditions that make driving more difficult, and road rage more likely, include traffic, running late, and bad weather. The anger associated with road rage usually results in aggressive driving like tailgating, weaving in and out of lanes, excessive honking, and making obscene gestures at other drivers.
The Dangers of Road Rage
Road rage has consequences, both big and small. Being a perpetrator or a victim can leave a person in a bad mood that ruins their day. Road rage is also dangerous: it is one of the leading causes of car accidents and can lead to injury and even death. Whereas some deaths are accidents caused by negligence associated with aggressive driving, some are murders that are committed on purpose by angry drivers. Since 1990, the rate of deaths resulting from aggressive driving has been increasing steadily at a rate of 7%. This may be a result of risk factors for road rage being more prevalent than ever before.
Risk Factors for Road Rage
Risk factors make some people more likely than others to be perpetrators of road rage. Risk factors include experiencing a lot of stress at work or school and behavioral issues like impulsivity. Decreasing aggressive driving means learning to cope with stress, impulsivity, and anger. Some coping skills for these issues include practicing deep breathing techniques, counting to ten before reacting, listening to calming music, and thinking about the consequences of your actions before engaging in them.
How Therapy Can Help
Research shows that aggressive drivers who seek therapy demonstrate a dramatic drop in road rage. Counselors can help you identify and cope with the stressors and impulsive behaviors that may be contributing to the problem. If you would like to build coping skills that can help you manage your road rage, contact The Light Program today.