They’re called “road rage incidents”. People get into altercations verbally. If they don’t pull over to hash it out, they do things like throw jests and nonverbal communications at one another. In extreme, yet sadly common cases, they do something aggressive, like cause a traffic accident, which could result in death. Cars are weapons. Anger and rage are as lethal. Combined, the power of a car and uncontrollable rage is life-threatening.
What Causes Road Rage?
Does everyone who acts with road rage have a mental problem? It’s possible, but not likely. Being on the road can be stressful. When we get behind the wheel of a car, we are supposed to leave everything that doesn’t have to do with driving, outside of the car. Yet few of us do. We take phone calls, check text messages, get angry at the radio, try to eat, and do a number of things which don’t allow our full attention to be paid to the road. Then, we get into some kind of moment which threatens our safety sooner. We might be cut off by someone, or we cut someone off. We could cause someone to miss a light or miss it ourselves. There is no telling what really triggers road rage. Most likely it’s rooted in fear and feeling out of control- we can’t control other drivers, we can’t control traffic, but we can control ourselves.
What To Do When Road Rage Happens
You might be the person developing the road rage. Try to take a pause and ask yourself if getting involved in road rage is worth it. Do you have the time? Is it really going to benefit you or anyone else? If you confront someone, do you think you’re going to change them? If they apologize, do you think that will be enough to satisfy your anger? Once you’ve answered these questions you’ll probably find you need to just let it go and focus on driving. People make mistakes.
If you’re the person against whom someone else is showing their road rage, you should also take a pause and decide if you think it is worth getting involved. Will an argument resolve? Do you need to be right? What is the likelihood the situation will escalate? Notice how angry the other person is getting. If you notice anyone causing danger to you or other drivers on the road, call 911 with their plates as soon as possible.
Rage and anger are signs of deeper underlying issues. Learning to cope with emotions is part of the recovery process. If you have difficulty managing your rage, or someone you love cannot manage their anger, there is help available. Cottonwood Tucson offers treatment programs for many levels of mental health and co-occurring disorders. For information on our integrative approach to treatment, call us today: (800) 877-4520