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.

[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

The Basic Steering and Suspension Layouts

The Basic Steering and Suspension Layouts

Steering Rack / Rack & Pinion The Steering Rack is the assembly in a vehicle which turns the vehicle’s wheels from side to side in response to when the driver turns the steering wheel. The Steering Rack is what helps you steer when you drive. Common Rack & Pinion Steering Problems: Very

Read More

Road Safety Tips for the Festive Season from ArriveAlive.co.za

Road Safety Tips for the Festive Season from ArriveAlive.co.za

Obey the rules of the road and carry your driver’s license with you. Plan the route to your holiday destination and allow yourself enough time to reach the destination Make sure that your vehicle is in a roadworthy condition before departure. All lights and indicators, windscreens, windscreen

Read More

Child Restraints and Road Safety

Child Restraints and Road Safety

Introduction to Child Restraints and Road Safety Increasing motorization worldwide has brought more crashes and injuries to vehicle occupants, particularly in low- and middle-income countries. One of the most effective measures to protect occupants from injury in the event of a crash is the fitment

Read More

Car Seats for Children and Road Safety in South Africa

Car Seats for Children and Road Safety in South Africa

Introduction: New legislation in South Africa is addressing a void which has for a number of years frustrated all those so deeply concerned with the safety of our children on the roads. The void referred to was specifically with regards to child passengers [infants] younger than 3 years old. Although

Read More

Child Safety and the Child Passenger

Child Safety and the Child Passenger

Road Safety and the Child Passenger Many people have over the past year raised their concerns on child safety and they have requested information on the use of child seats. The development team has found that extensive research has been done in the United States on child seats and that it might be

Read More

Burnshield and the Treatment of Burns

Burnshield and the Treatment of Burns

On the Arrive Alive website, we have shared several pages of content focusing on the threats to safety presented by fire, electricity and other factors contributing to burn injuries. We have recently partnered with burns expert Burnshield to gain more insights, and would like to share the following interview

Read More

Load More Pages

Partners

View All