Are you stressed and tensed up while you drive? Do you resort to driving behavior that involves acts of aggression that are a menace to other drivers? Then watch out! You are a careless driver who can be a potential hazard to the lives of others on the roads. Road Rage is irresponsible behavior by the driver of an automobile which results in collisions, incidents, gestures, sometimes even death on roadways. Millions are injured and thousands die every year due to the actions of these aggressive and stressed drivers. India accounts for 10% of road accident fatalities and more than a million persons are injured on the roads every year. That should be a matter of serious concern for one and all.
Road Rage is the result of intermittent explosive disorder according to an article published in the Associated Press in June 1998. It is a mental condition that can be avoided by healthy driving habits, in spite of provocations intended or unintended.
What can cause Road Rage? Possibly lack of enough sleep, rushing through the traffic to meet the deadlines, and yes, aggressive music also adds to the symptoms of Road Rage.
Drunken driving makes your judgment blur and hence never take to wheel when you are drunk. Having enough sleep before you take to the wheel, planning your journeys ahead and starting a bit early, playing soft music in cars that soothe the nerves are some of the measures that help against the Road Rage. It is possible that a driver in another vehicle braking erratically or cutting you off can make you totally mad, yet keeping cool without anger overpowering you is the best way to protect yourself. Never allow anger to control you when dealing with road stress. Good manners go a long way in controlling the anger levels and urge to retaliate.
We may consider ourselves as good drivers but forget that many of us exhibit aggressive driving. If we exceed safe speed limits or exhibit impatience and honk without reason, resort to verbal abusing of drivers on the roads though they cannot hear him or her, and have an urge to weave through the traffic to get ahead, it make us intermittent road ragers. We often also entertain the thoughts of teaching the bad drivers discipline while we ourselves often need it to curb the excessive intermittent erratic driving behavior.
The best way to avoid being a victim of road rage is to avoid direct eye contact with the road rager or reacting to his actions. Since we can ourselves get into a situation where we exhibit our anger on the road, it is best to apologise and move on in awkward situations, so that those who get offended by our intermittent road behavior do not prolong the tiff. It is good for the angry driver as well as the other road users and pedestrians to say “Sorry” for the right cause of road safety.
If the road rage incidents are increasing, it points to deteriorating civic sense. Laws alone cannot prevent the road rage incidents. Concern for other road users, understanding the value of life of others, proper planning of road trips that take into account the traffic conditions and above all a cool temperament irrespective of provocations go a long way in controlling the menace of Road Rage.