Arrive Alive

Road Rage

Road Rage Defining Road Rage

Road rage is referred to as “incidents of angry and aggressive driving”. It is defined as an assault with a motor vehicle or other dangerous weapon by the operator or passenger/s of one motor vehicle on the operator or passenger/s of another motor vehicle or is caused by an incident that occurred on a roadway and is considered a criminal offence.

Some researchers and experts state that the term road rage has become common vernacular to describe any displays of anger while driving, although such displays are also referred to as “angry or aggressive driving”.

Angry or aggressive driving may range from mild displays of anger, such as following too closely on another driver's bumper, to more serious forms of violence, such as physical assault and vehicular homicide.

At this point, it seems as if any expression of anger e.g. waving of arms, staring and the like are being seen as road rage.

I differ from this.

A closer analysis of the term “road rage” renders the following:

  • Rage means to be in an extreme energized state of anger which has accumulated and/or has been suppressed for some time, is triggered and now finds expression in rage like behaviour.
  • Rage leads to elevated self-esteem, adrenalin rushes, reduction of rational thought and increase in physical ability.
  • A rage episode will only subside once the emotion has been spent.
  • Typical uncontrolled rage like behaviour would be e.g.:
    • Prolonged and excessive screaming and swearing
    • Intense verbal attack and abuse
    • Serious threatening
    • Physical assault
  • If this behaviour is exhibited on the road we can say that it is road rage

Road rage per se is not seen as and or has not been classified as a separate psychiatric illness. In fact, most psychiatrists call it IED - Intermittent Explosive Disorder which is characterized by extreme expressions of anger up to the point of uncontrollable rage which is disproportionate to the situation. 5 to 7 % of the population suffers from this disorder and because it is associated with lower serotonin turnover rates in the brain, a combination of psychotherapy and medication is indicated for treatment.

Genuine road rage personalities also experience rage in other situations in their lives and this is congruent with the IED diagnosis.

I, therefore, believe that when ordinary road users who do not suffer from IED express anger on the road, it should be seen as normal behaviour i.e. angry or aggressive driving, and not road rage per se. Real road rage which leads to the rage like behaviours as described above is at the extreme end of angry and aggressive driving:

 

Road anger/rage behaviour continuum - RARC

 

Although I argue that e.g. anger expressions such as hand waving and staring on the road is normal human behaviour, I have to caution that self-control should be exercised as any anger provoked situation can quickly get out of hand and normal docile people can experience an acute episode of IED. One does not know the emotional state of the other person in the other car. Exercise self-control and restraint and do not get involved in an angry and aggressive driving incident.

Visit www.thebehaviourshop.com for tips on how to avoid road rage.

[Content provided by Dr Jacques van Zyl (Psychologist)]

Also View

Avoiding aggressive driving

10 Point plan to avoid Road Rage

Road Rage in South Africa

South African research on Road Rage

Road Rage - A South African Perspective

Road Rage Article

Road Rage Study

Faster Vehicles Become Victims of Road Rage

Motorbike/ Motorcycle Safety through the Eyes of the Instructor

Motorcycle Safety and Driving in Bad Weather

Sharing the road with bikers - How do we avoid the rage?

Loading...

Search Road Safety Articles

Latest Pages

Legal Duties after a Collision and Road Crash

Legal Duties after a Collision and Road Crash

A road crash happens fast and is a traumatic experience. It may leave you shaken, injured and unable to think clearly. For those reasons, it’s a good idea to review what to do if you’re in a road accident now. Then, if you’re ever involved in a crash, it will be easier to respond

Read More

Fleet Insurance and Truck Insurance for Commercial Vehicles

Fleet Insurance and Truck Insurance for Commercial Vehicles

Introduction The Fleet Management and Logistics Industry is one of the best indicators of the heartbeat of the economy of a country. Fleet management is a term used to describe the management of any/all aspects relating to a company’s vehicle. Fleet vehicles are those vehicles over which a

Read More

What would be the Best Photos to take at the Scene of a Road Crash?

What would be the Best Photos to take at the Scene of a Road Crash?

Much has been written about the dangers of cellular phones and the need to avoid them as typical distractions while driving. Modern-day cellular phones with built-in cameras could however also be a very important tool to gather evidence at an accident scene. The Arrive Alive website has approached well

Read More

Rights and Obligations when stopped by a Traffic Officer

Rights and Obligations when stopped by a Traffic Officer

Introduction This article constitutes an outline in respect of roadblocks and so-called “roadside checks”, as they are catered for in law and implemented in practical application. Although it contains quite a bit of information, it is not a comprehensive guide and does not encompass everything

Read More

Road Safety Conferences

Road Safety Conferences

The Arrive Alive web site supports those individuals and institutions who take the initiative to arrange road safety conferences in South Africa. We believe that this contributes to greater awareness of road safety and could assist in planning effective road safety strategies. The web site www.arrivealive.co.za

Read More

Overhang from a vehicle and flags for Safety

Overhang from a vehicle and flags for Safety

Introduction: We often find drivers transporting goods and materials that cannot safely fit inside their vehicles. This need not be your usual overloading but rather instances where the obect is to lengthy or wide to fit in the vehicle. These objects such as ladders are then transported on the

Read More

Load More Pages

Partners

View All