So, all the other drivers on the road are the problem, aren’t they? That’s what 9 out of 10 Americans think, according to a famous study by a Swedish psychologist. However, additional studies seem to indicate that this perceived superiority (among other things) may be a significant cause of anger on the road. And given that the costs of rabies on the road are high for us, as individuals and for society as a whole, fighting it should probably be a priority for everyone. That is why we should all take a moment to slow down before getting back to the wheel next time.
What exactly qualifies as road rage?
For a term as typical as “road rage,” it is difficult to define a precise definition. Are you driving aggressively? Screaming at the idiot who’s driving too slowly? Or maybe something more serious, like chasing someone? While aggressive driving, anger towards other drivers, and anger on the road have ties, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration defines them differently.
The punishment for road rage is characterized as “reckless driving” in most states (except for California, which has a specific law). Although punishment for reckless driving varies by state, it is usually classified as a criminal offense and is punished as such.
The cost of road rage
Costs associated with road rage can include injuries, death, fines, and imprisonment, as well as a sharp increase in insurance rates if you are held responsible for an incident.
Accidents and death
Studies show that while people are no longer likely to feel anger when driving, they are more likely to express it behind the wheel. This is related to the deindividuation theory that it is easier to be angry when you feel you are less likely to be held responsible for it. As it turns out, any anger felt while behind the wheel is a risk in itself.
How much will your premium increase after a road rage incident?
While it is not possible to make a universal, the answer lies in how much insurance companies determine what to charge each month. They analyze your driving history, your lifestyle, and even your credit score to decide whether or not you are a high-risk driver or a low-risk driver. Then they define the premium amounts accordingly. Your insurance premium will also depend on where you live and the vehicle you drive.
How to deal with anger on the road
Although we cannot control what others on the road do, there are things we can do as individuals to manage our own emotions and shield ourselves while driving.
Get enough sleep
The National Safety Foundation found that individuals who don’t get enough sleep are more likely to be angry and fight with other people in traffic jams. Also, AAA research shows that if you only lose an hour or two of healthy sleep over 24 hours, your performance as a driver has the same risk level as driving with a blood alcohol concentration above 0, 08, the legal limit. The combination of these two data points suggests that sleeping a lot helps keep you cool and calm.
Reduce your own stress
Many studies have shown that stress has a significant impact on the way we react to other people on the road – not to mention our relationships and day-to-day happiness. Cognitive-behavioral therapy is effective in reducing stress. So, if you are stressed, consulting a therapist about it may be the right thing to do.