Since 1990, incidents of road rage have increased an outstanding fifty-one percent. Road rage came in first (forty-two percent), next to drunk driving (thirty-five percent) as the biggest threat on the road (Fitton, 4). There are numerous factors involved in the dramatic increase of traffic incidents involving “road rage. ” Such factors include road congestion, media portrayal, and personal stress and anger. These factors, combined with a 3,000-ton killing machine are a very dangerous duo. Road congestion is a major contributor to road rage.
On account of the lack of roads being built in society, people look for more of an out and most find this in hostile reaction. Miles driven has increased thirty five percent since 1987, while the number of roads built has increased by a mere one percent (Vest, Cohen, and Tharp, 30). The average American will spend forty hours a year in traffic jams, which may seem to be reason enough for violence (Vest, Cohen, and Tharp, 28). In addition to the lack of roads being constructed, the number of cars on the road has increased by seventeen percent in the past ten years (Jarboe-Russel, 5).
Some of those cars being those of immigrants, who come from lands where the roads are bad and the driving styles are aggressive (Vest, Cohen, and Tharp, 4). This is also a major problem and causes conflict with drivers who may not be as aggressive. These statistics say that there are more people on the road, therefore, more of a chance that people will get irritated over minor flaws in other people’s driving, hence, there is more road rage. Road construction is also typically blamed for a number of road rage incidents. Motorists complain that road construction slows down travel.
In addition to all the construction that is slowing drivers down, it seems to have no positive effect when it is done. Drivers protest that any delay in the transportation process, regardless of the size, contributes to their stress and anger, when already eighty percent of drivers admit to being angry all or most of the time while driving (Jarboe-Russel, 2). As if media portrayal is not already involved in every other hostile action, it is now being held partly responsible for aggressive driving, which now has a clinical term.
That being: the events in which an angry or impatient driver tries to kill or injure another driver after a traffic dispute (Vest, Cohen, and Tharp, 24). Researchers say that images portrayed on the television make hostile actions on the real road seem appropriate. A person may have witnessed a television broadcasting and then set out on the road with the mentality that their actions are correct, whether or not they are, due to the media portrayal of driving.
Although most television showings are meant strictly for entertainment value, most automobile operators do not find hostile driving at all entertaining on the real road, in the real world. Hostile actions showed on television carry over into drivers driving styles and reflect the negative behavior that is being broadcast to millions of people everywhere. People have to get the idea that what they are doing is not wrong from somewhere, other wise police officers in the Washington area would not have handed out sixty thousand aggressive driving tickets in twenty-eight days, last year (Jarboe-Russel, 2).
Negative behavior resulting from the broadcasting of television is related to such things as human behavior and violence, which is also attributed to bad driving habits, therefore directly or indirectly being the cause of aggressive driving. Personal stress and anger can also be reflective of road rage. Studies show that the things most likely to irritate drivers and have them react aggressively is congestion coupled with a schedule that may seem almost impossible to meet (Hohn, 1).
The number one excuse for drivers pulled over after driving aggressively was, “I’m late,” (Jarboe-Russel, 2). Drivers who have high stress should not be driving because they can not be defensive drivers, as they should, when they have things to worry about and are under tremendous amounts of pressure. The same goes for drivers who are angered, because they are more likely to react to situations with hostility and the anger they already have. The road is very dangerous when there are multitudes of drivers with stress and anger, which is not uncommon.
They become more destructive and careless as a result of personal conflicts and also endanger the lives of other drivers. Doctors say that motorist who are under stress and have anger turn from, “mere motorists to Mad Max” while driving (Vest, Cohen, and Tharp, 28). Operating a vehicle while under conditions of stress and anger should be a crime because of the danger involved in maneuvering such a large object. Such conditions are major factors in vehicle collisions.
Besides, one man said, “My sense of it is that often a person feels stressed or deeply hurt over something major in their life not going their way, and they look for someone to scapegoat,” (Fitton, 2). But wait, there is a silver lining around the clouds. Sure, maybe an average of one thousand five hundred men, women and children die each year as a result of road rage, but there are actually ways to avoid aggressive driving (Fitton, 1). There have even been aggressive driving focus groups established to help those who realize they have a problem with dealing and understand their problem.
Ways to avoid being an aggressive driver are: only do in your car what you would do in a face to face meeting, allow more time for trips, so as not to stress, be considerate of other drivers, get out of angry drivers ways, and constantly remind yourself that your car is as deadly as a weapon and can kill when used improperly (Jarboe-Russel, 1). Most of these ways to avoid aggressive driving may seem as though a motorist is catering to an aggressive driver, but it is all in the best interest of good drivers and all the drivers around he/she.
There are abundant reasons as to why drivers are aggressive and full of rage, although none of them seem to be comforting enough to the people who have lost loved ones in aggressive driving incidents. The safest bet in driving is for everyone to consider the fact that the person who just cut another person off or is driving too slow, is related to someone and is a person, beyond the sheet metal, rubber, and glass. Too often automobile operators see other motorists as vehicles and not people. They look through the eyes of their windows and not through their own, which may make them blind to human life.