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

Dashboard Cameras and Buying a Dash Cam for your Drive

Dashboard Cameras and Buying a Dash Cam for your Drive

What are the most important aspects to consider when choosing a dashboard camera? In our opinion, the video quality is the most important. The end-user needs a clear image/recording in the unfortunate event of a car accident. Blurry images/recordings may result in the loss of critically important

Read More

Code of Conduct for Safe Cycling and Sharing Roads Safely

Code of Conduct for Safe Cycling and Sharing Roads Safely

Checklist before riding: 1. Prepare and check your equipment to be in perfect condition for the road (greased chain, correct tyre pressure, brakes, lights, gear, etc.) 2. Bring a repair kit (pump, etc.) and rely on yourself in case of an emergency. 3. Protect Yourself: Wear appropriate clothes

Read More

K53 Driver Licence Test

K53 Driver Licence Test

K53 Driver Licence Test K53 is the term for the current driver licence test. The number given to the test was based on proposals submitted in the 1980's and then the reworked versions were upgraded numerically. Test number K53 was finally accepted as the way to test aspirant drivers. This

Read More

Safety on the Road to Sports Stadiums

Safety on the Road to Sports Stadiums

Introduction South Africa is experiencing a huge inflow of visitors to sports events. The country has been recognized as an excellent host nation for sports events, and international competitions in cricket, rugby and football are attracting many of these visitors. We have experienced amazing interest

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

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

Load More Pages

Partners

View All