- Category: Volume 88 (Fall 2016 - Spring 2017)
- Published: 05 April 2017
- Written by LAUREN NIESZ | CO-SENIOR/OPINION EDITOR
We have all been in situations where we are, let’s say, less than thrilled with the performance of other drivers on the road. It is extremely easy to revert to anger and engage in road rage. Someone cuts you off and before you know it you’re laying on the horn and screaming profanities.
Road rage has an obvious negative connotation. Road rage could cause you to start driving horribly, matching the initial driver you got mad at. If you have road rage it’s not exactly the healthiest trait to indulge in.
According to the American Psychological Association, road rage is associated with many lifelong diseases such as hypertension, heart disease, heart attack, and many more.
These diagnoses make sense when looking at the link between them because road rage is a spurt of aggression and anger, which is a clear giveaway in rise to high blood pressure. High blood pressure leads to hypertension and many heart issues as a result. Road rage really is not worth this possibility in health complications.
Christopher McKittrick, a psychological counselor at Monmouth, said, “Some psychologists believe that road rage is a primitive response engrained in trait personality while others think it is a misplacement of unresolved anxiety, stress, and frustrations from other avenues of life.”
Our fear of possibly getting into an accident results in rage due to the possible threat being made to our safety while driving.
“By addressing stress and anxiety in healthy and constructive ways, it helps to reduce one’s susceptibility to road rage while increasing protective factors and enhancing coping strategies,” said McKittrick.
Coral Cooper, a junior English and commuter student, said, “In some cases road rage could mean we’re alert enough to express anger at other drivers and could result in quick responses to their poor driving. Sometimes road rage reactions go too far and result in physical altercations between drivers. There’s a few times we’re I have been in a vehicle and the other car was just as enraged and both cars stopped in moving traffic to threaten the other. At that point, it’s just foolish.”
Cooper brings up a positive point of road rage; at least when we get mad at irresponsible driving it means that we are being alert drivers. If we are not being alert, other drivers who are driving poorly could cause an accident.
McKittrick added to what Cooper suggested, “While it is possible that road rage can increase one’s awareness, mindfulness, and vigilance to driving, it often is unchecked and leads to distracted and/or aggressive driving.”
Rob Panasuk, a senior English and commuter student, said, “I think road rage definitely counts as distracted driving; being angry behind the wheel is very dangerous.” Panasuk brings up an important idea that road rage is truly an act of distracted driving. When you’re angry you’re really not focused on what is ahead of you—you’re in your own head that is swirling with anger and other various emotions.
Dr. Vaughn Clay, Director of Off-Campus and Commuter Students, gave advice as to what his office would recommend for driving students, “Try to eliminate the distractions while you’re driving, to give yourself enough time to reasonably get to campus so that you don’t have to rush or speed, and to be a little more patient.”
It is important to be fully present while driving and avoid distractions to operate a vehicle safely.
He continued, “We shouldn’t feed feed into the need to really be the first one wherever we are going; from a driving perspective, second isn’t bad. We’re not in a race.”
If we all make the conscious decision to be alert and cognizant drivers, this would ease the issue of road rage altogether. Driving is an act that requires full attention. Some of us are better at giving that attention than others, so if that means that we need to find a way to accept that without giving into anger, we should find that way.
In the future, try to refrain from screaming profanities at a driver that speeds in front of you and attempt to realize that you are taking out your frustrations on another human being. A solution to road rage is simply the exercising of the virtue of patience. If we are more patient and if we brush little issues when driving off our shoulders, we can become happier and healthier drivers.
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