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Road Rage Essay, Research Paper

Road Rage

Almost all drivers have experienced some occurrence of road rage. Most of these occurrences are as innocent as a rude gesture, but some drivers have lost their lives because of them. “Traffic is a cooperative activity” (2-3-7). When a driver decides to take control of the road, the consequences can again be fatal. Almost every driver on the road has been involved in one incident or another. No one is immune from road rage, therefore it effects us all. Road rage is an act of aggression that can destroy the life of an innocent driver, but current research is helping drivers cope with the stress of everyday life on the road.

Many cases of road rage are caused by simple misunderstandings. Whether it be that a driver was not looking before he turned, or a he forgot that his turn signal was left on, people tend to take things the wrong way. Because of this, the term “road rage” was born. There are thousands of recorded accidents every year as a result from a simple misunderstanding on the road. For example, “an average of at least 1,500 men, women, and children are injured or killed each year in the United States as a result of aggressive driving” (6-3-4). The number 1,500 may seem like a lot, but that statistic was taken from a report back in the mid 1990’s. Today, it is estimated that there were about 84,000 road rage incidents last year alone. That’s exactly 56 times greater than what it was a few years ago. Not all of these incidents involved physical injuries, but they were all recorded as aggressive incidents. Anyone can be at fault in a road rage situation. Race, sex, religion, age, or any other human characteristics, play no role in determining a

common offender. Frequently, accidents of aggressive driving have tended to involve more than a simple rude gesture or a vile word. On many occurrences drivers used weapons to vent their frustration on the road. “Without exaggeration, millions of motorists are armed with fire arms, knives, clubs, and other weapons at any given time” (6-10-32). There are literally over millions people in the United States alone whom own some sort of firearm or firearms. Most cases of a weapon being involved in a road rage accident, the weapon of choice is typically a gun. Sometimes people will get creative with what they choose to defend or attack with. Drivers have used other weaponry such as garbage, 4×4 timbers, crowbars, and missiles. That’s right, missiles. In a few other cases, government tanks and other vehicles were taken out for joyrides. Road rage comes in many different forms and actions. The fact that “road rage” is a U.S. originated word doesn’t limit itself to our country. Incidents around the world have been reported from Asia to Australia.

The cause of road rage is typically a form of stress. Whether it be a stolen parking space or getting cut-off, an aggressive driver can lose their temper and patience from frustration. These occurrences are typically how an incident would begin. In many cases, the driver whom is running out of time is the most common instigator of road rage. When the clock is ticking and the driver is running out of options, they may act in haste to get their way on the road. Sometimes people are in a hurry for money as well. When an aggressive driver is in a rush to pick up a paycheck, or pay their bills on time, some will stop at nothing to do what they have to do. They don’t care who could be put in

harms way as long as they get there when they want to. Other cases start from family problems, school, and simple everyday living. However, most of these occurrences relate back to the matter of time. A driver’s increased stress is only part of the problem. Physiological aspects play a key role when deciphering the problem at hand.

There are many ways to prevent and stop road rage. “Driving instructors say it’s hard to teach good driving when so few practice it” (4-2-5). “In the 1970’s, 90 percent of people took driver’s education courses. Today, our estimate is about 35 percent” (4-2-3). However stressful our lives may be, there are always a few things to keep in mind while out on the road:

 Make your vehicle a more comfortable and to what you consider a relaxed environment. It is a great way to reduce any tension you may have between other drivers on the road.

 “Don’t drive when you are angry, upset, or overtired” (6-12-40). If you are overly upset about something, resolve the situation before driving your car.

 Everyone makes mistakes. When someone accidentally makes a mistake such as cutting you off unintentionally, any anger you hold to that driver can be resolved by thinking of three of your own driving mistakes or faults.

The road is no place to think about your problems. By adjusting your attitude to a more “easy-going” frame of mind, other drivers’ faults should not bother you as much. Don’t mistake other drivers’ faults on the road as intentional. We are all human. And as we are, we all make mistakes. By teaching proper driving etiquette and other useful skills, aggressive driving can become almost obsolete.

While road rage is definite problem that is growing in popularity, there are many things that can be and are done to prevent anything on the road from getting out of control. It’s our decision what to do and how to prevent violence on our roads. The best means of controlling how people drive are more police officers. However, this action has proven to be less effective than other actions because of the fact that there are just not enough police officers to watch everyone all the time. “The police need to give more

tickets for tailgating and speeding. And judges need to put heavy penalties on the offenders” (3-3-5). By doing this, the states can show the their drivers that road rage is a serious crime and should be dealt with as such. New laws are constantly being added to our judicial system to protect our drivers and keep them as safe as possible. Laws and regulations such as limiting speed zones and areas are being added to “the book” everyday. The newest addition of law enforcement on the roads is photo-radar, or speed traps. The purpose of these speed traps are to control traffic from the obvious, speeding. A photo-radar vehicle is typically a van of some make with two ordinary looking cameras mounted on its side. When a driver passes one of these vehicles and has accelerated

typically eleven miles an hour over the posted speed limit, two cameras take pictures of the vehicle. One camera takes a picture of the driver and the other takes a picture of the license plate of the vehicle. The camera’s photographs are crystal clear and flash at a fraction of a second. The first camera scans each available lane at one twenty-fifth of a second. With this kind of accuracy, few drivers are not caught. The only problem with photo-radar is that the citations have to be given to the offender by a police or department official. When this speed monitoring first became available, all the tickets were sent via mail. People soon learned that if they just disregarded the citation and forgot about it, nothing would happen. While the idea of controlling our present traffic through a mechanical system seemed appealing, the system has proved to have failed in many citizens’ opinions. More citations need to be issued from police officers to those whom break the law through traffic aggression and other forms of road rage. With the penalty and severity for road rage incidents increased, road rage will gradually become less of the problem that it used to be.

Road rage is an act of aggression that can destroy the life of an innocent driver, but current research is helping drivers cope with the stress of everyday life on the road. Only through prevention can we as a society rid ourselves of our frustration and anger out on the road. Everything great comes with time. “[. . . ] Some worry that road rage is the beginning of a vicious cycle of truly aggressive driving that can turn roadways into battle zones” (4-2-6). However, through practice and patience, our future will not be so bleak. Road rage has an effect on all of our world’s drivers. We must all learn to cooperate with

each other to ensure the safety of our roads. If we can accomplish this, our world will be a better place to live our busy lives.



S1: Nerenberg, Dr. Arnold P. “Why it is important to define road rage.” 14-May-1999: 2 (31-Oct.-2000)

S2: Pepper, Mark. “Road Rage.” 09-Jun.-1997: 4 (31-Oct.-2000)

S3: ComPortOne. “Road Rage.” : 4 (31-Oct.-2000)

S4: Koch, Kathleen. “Experts say ignorance contributes to road rage.” 26-Aug.-1997: 3 (31-Oct.-2000)

S5: James, Leon Ph.D. / Nahl, Diane Ph.D. “Road Rage and Aggressive Driving.” : 8 (31-Oct.-2000)

S6: Bethesda, Lousis Mizell MD / Joint, Matthew MSc, BSc, MCIT UK / Connell, Dominic. “Aggressive Driving: Three Studies.” 17-Aug.-1997: 27 (31-Oct.-2000)

S7: James, Leon / Nahl, Diane. “YARR Youth Against Road Rage.” : 2 (8-Nov.-2000)

S8: Branton, John. “Police Report: Gunshot shatters SUV’s window in apparent road rage incident.” 30-Sep.-2000: 3 (8-Nov.-2000)

S9: Pepper, Mark. “Road Rage.” 6-Aug.-1997: 4 (8-Nov.-2000)

S10: Unknown. “Road Rage.” : 1 (31-Oct.-2000)

S11: Adams, Jerry R. / EDI. “Prevent Road Rage.” 1996: 2 (19-Nov.-2000)

S12: Unknown. “Road Rage Avoidance Tips.” : 3 (19-Nov.-2000)

S13: Unknown (Roadrangers.com). “Advice: How to Avoid Road Rage.” : 2 (19-Nov.-2000)

S14: Schneider, Dr. “Dr. Schneider and his cure for road rage? The paint-ball initiate.” 5-Arp.-2000: 3 (19-Nov.-2000)

S15: James, Leon Dr. “Aggressive Driving and Road Rage Dealing With Emotionally Impaired Drivers.” 17-Jul.-1997: 22 (20-Nov.-2000)

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