Wednesday, February 25, 2015

The Irrationality of Road Rage


Frustration behind the wheel…I’ve always wondered why this phenomenon exists. What is it about getting behind the wheel that turns otherwise peaceful human beings into profanity-spewing savages? When I was in grad school, one of my professors talked about how road rage is one of the most universal of all phenomenons. He said it’s experienced by all personality types and is found in every culture on the planet.  

For some reason I found this fascinating.
Truthfully, I don’t think anyone is completely immune to road rage. I’ll bet even the Dali Lama himself, if faced with being cut off in rush hour traffic, might temporarily abandon his peaceful ways. I studied something in one of my graduate classes that I feel could ease frustration behind the wheel. It stems from a branch of cognitive behavioral therapy called Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy, or REBT.
Here’s the nitty-gritty: REBT basically challenges us to be cognizant of how irrational our thoughts can sometimes be. Here is a perfect example: Let’s say that we hear two people laughing about something, and then when we walk into the room all of a sudden they become quie. We might assume that they were laughing about us. Sure they may have been - but why do we automatically assume the worst? Perhaps they were just sharing a funny personal story that they didn't want anyone else to know. 

We've irrationally assumed that it was personal.  
Have you ever known people who actually take it personally when someone passes them on the road? Stop and think for a second how irrational that is. Why do we care if another person passes us? Getting cut-off is another trigger. Yes it’s annoying, but why do we take it so personally? Why do we let it make us so angry? REBT-thinking prompts us to examine how silly we're being :-) Again, I’m not immune to these feelings, so when I say “we” I am including myself. I will say though that engaging in REBT-thinking has helped me greatly and has drastically changed the way I view such incidents.
Do you find yourself easily angered behind the wheel? Have you had any scary road rage experiences? 

148 comments:

  1. Yes, I've passed people who took it personal and sped up or tried to cut me off. Even had one guy all but race me for several miles, screaming and flipping me off. Chill, dude! Yes, I've felt the road rage before, but that's just insane.

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  2. I think drivers are funny. I've got an aggressive streak, especially when it comes to competition...which is why I stopped playing board games (to keep the peace with my siblings). The road is no different, but that's one I've been working on for years. I've actually come to the point where I call people "friend" and "buddy" when they do something stupid, which then softens the internal reaction. Putting that kind of label on someone has a subconscious effect. It's definitely helped improve my road etiquette. =)

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  3. Been there and it's not something I miss about driving. My motto has always been "Arrive Alive" so I would usually try to make a joke about it; if that didn't work then I'd pull off the road for a couple of minutes to cool off and get perspective.

    Good topic: Why DO we get so irate, take it so personally? Is competitiveness and territoriality so intrinsic to the human spirit?

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  4. I get a little angry when someone drives crazy, running stop signs and red lights and putting me in danger while they talk on the cell phone or text.. but not mad enough to do anything about it and i am very careful to not show if i am angry because these days that could cause our death.

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  5. My husband is convinced that I am going to die in some sort of road rage incident. I've mellowed out over the years but it used to be really bad. Thank Gawd, for therapy and Xanax, and wine (never in combination and never behind the wheel)

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  6. Drivers are driven to acts of irrationality for 2 reasons. 1) behind the wheel will make them anonymous and they become brave 2) Behind the wheel all are equal and react the way others provoke them.

    If it stops at 'showing the middle finger' or honking incessantly then it should be the end of it - no road rage invoked. The danger is when tempers flare up,and physical confrontation takes place often violently from one party and the other becomes the helpless victim who may get hurt.

    It is best 1) not to antagonize and 2) if provoked not to retaliate. Safe driving includes 'defensive driving' ie giving way even when one is under extreme provocation.There should not be anything personal to lengthen any issues or disagreements on the road.Thoughtful thoughts Keith!

    Hank

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  7. I'm not into road rage. I do get to witness it all the time though. I don't think these bullies are peaceful most of the time either. I think they are angry all the time and any excuse to vent is what they are looking for.

    I take my time and pretty much ignore all the clods that think they are more important than the rest of us. What does get me is the folks that put others in danger on the road.

    Have a fabulous day. ☺

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  8. I think life can be very hard and very frustrating and for some reason, venting in the car seems to be a way many choose to release those feelings. I used to get angry in the car, not at anything specific, just frustrated. Now I try to manage my own emotions better before I get to that point.

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  9. Guilty! I'm not too bad about it though. I think of it as therapy.

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  10. I used to be an angry driver when my life was otherwise full of out-of-control stress, so I don't see "road rage" as coming out of nowhere or unconnected to how the road rager's life is generally. I'm not an angry driver any more now that my life is calm.

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  11. when I was younger I would get so irritated at slow drivers in the fast lane, most probably because I was always in a rush to get to work to get home to get to school, go shopping , trying to do too many things at once, now that I am older I drive the speed limit or just under so I don't get any tickets and so my insurance won't go up because I can't afford one little upset in my budget.

    Here's an example of road rage which happened to my Gary right after we moved here, a guy pulled a gun on Gary - you never know who is carrying a gun or who is crazy, it just isn't safe to do anything with regards to road rage any more

    I think with the economy so bad and so many folks out of work or rushing to two jobs or some such there is more road rage, also because of frustration with government that doesn't work for the people any longer makes folks angrier because there is little they can do about that, anger gets bottled up inside and then comes out on the road.

    I read a study on road rage and it said folks are more accepting of road rage than they ever have been even by those that aren't into road rage, strange what that says about our society.

    http://bluestarrgallery.blogspot.com/2014/02/road-rage-he-brandished-gun.html

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  12. A prayer for assistance when I get in the car and one of thanksgiving when I get out of the car still in one piece keeps me grounded. Stupid stuff happens on the road all the time. I just try to remind myself that next time it could be me.

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  13. I don't think road rage is isolated to just the road...it doesn't happen to me, hardly ever at all b/c I'm rural, but I would guess that if a person could get that mad over being passed, (i.e.) they have anger issues in all areas of their life. That kind of behavior on the road is unacceptable...grow up angry drivers or get some therapy!!!

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  14. oh my this touches my heart, I am married to a road rager, in a milder form, lol, he would never aggressively hurt or put anyone in danger but the air is blue quite often while we drive through town, AND he hates it when people pass him, he speeds up ever so slowly when someone in the lane beside us looks as if they may be thinking of cutting him off, terrible man, he truly is a gentle man, honest, but he is competitive, in situations where I would stay back to let others go forward not he, he speeds up, alpha male syndrome I believe, lol, the road ragers that attack and use their vehicle as a weapon should be banned from driving,

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  15. Although I hate to admit it, I have been known to get quite angry when someone cuts me up on the road (but only when I am already feeling stressed)...although I would never allow it to translate into rude gestures or aggression. I see no point in that at all...I'm aware that behaving in that way would only cause it to escalate.
    And as you so rightly say, such occurrences aren't personal...they're simply rash decisions made in a split second...

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  16. I don't get road rage enough to do stupid thing behind the wheel and I'm no angel driver either but I get really annoyed at stupid reckless drivers who think they own the road.

    Slow drivers really really annoy me and arrogant drivers as well who can't wait a few second to get on the road in front of me and then slows down.

    The manufactures of cars should come up with an anti aggression driving device. That would be cool.
    I'm too tired for road rage today. lol...
    Hugs,
    JB

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  17. Not so much scary as utterly annoying.

    Why does that stupid old man in his 4x4 in front of me insist on crawling along? Even the speed limit is higher. What’s worse, we are on a country lane and I can’t get past him because of all the bends.

    Seriously, aren’t we all much better drivers than anyone else on the road?

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  18. I might get very annoyed at people, but I don't do anything silly apart from let slip the occasional swear word...

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  19. In my younger years I might have had a bit of road rage, but now these days if someone does something stupid when I'm driving, I usually just try to ignore it and let them be ahead of me rather than behind me. I can keep an eye on them better if they are in front of me :) When the two of us, hubby and me, would have separate cars driving home from something we were at together, he always had to be the one that got home first, no matter if I was in the lead. He would take side streets, etc to "beat" me home. I would get frustrated with it but then with maturity just would let him get home first and take my time and even go slower to arrive a few minutes afterwards :)

    Now I'm glad I rarely drive and drive in a small city compared to the freeways of Southern California.

    betty

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  20. Hello Keith,

    We have the perfect answer these days.....no car!

    In our driving days, fond as we were of BMW sports cars, it seemed to us that every other person on the road was out to accelerate faster, overtake dangerously and generally behave badly on the road as soon as they caught sight of our shiny black roadster. Were they, we now wonder in the light of your theory, taking it personally that they were driving family saloons instead?

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  21. Funny you should post about this. I'm an extremely patient and calm person. Except when I am behind the wheel. I don't even get road rage as a passenger, ONLY when I'm driving. As I've aged, I've come to realize the only times I've ever been pulled over are when I'm speeding past someone because I've gotten mad at them. LOL. I don't know why this happens to me, but it does. In my older age however, I've learned it's best to pull over somewhere safe and count to 60, rather than trying to speed past someone. My best guess as to why this happens? I suspect, for myself, it's the result of not having the proper outlet for my anger. I'm a girl, I'm supposed to be nice. Kind of like the "mean girls" hypothesis about girl-on-girl bullying. But my anger manifests into road rage, for unknown reasons. I do know this though, and like I mentioned, pulling over and calming down is the most effective approach for me. Keeps me from getting speeding tickets :)

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  22. I like how REBT helps us to choose a response instead of reacting. For me, with road rage it also has something to do with ego, competition and being separated from everybody else in our cars. It's almost like our car is a private space that we protect. I try to put myself in the other driver's situation: are they on their way to the hospital? has a family member passed? are they ill? I definitely try to stay out of rushing, stressful road rage energy from others and insert space to choose a conscious response instead of reacting from fight, flight or freeze. Hugs Keith!

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  23. Ha, drivers do annoy me sometime, but I don't have road rage. I may curse at them in private, but that is as far as it goes......life is too short to do more than that.

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  24. Good post Keith! I give myself REBT frequently (do my best to rationalize my emotions--especially negative ones), but I never knew the name for it! Good to hear it's actually scientifically studied and approved!

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  25. its funny...i just wrote a short story over the weekend that included some road rage in it...i think it comes down to a couple things...our need to be in control...but also over booking...not leaving on time...and expecting it to work out for us...we are in such a rush we are already half cocked...

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  26. I think driving is sometimes the only thing that raises my blood pressure. I don't get super road rage or anything, but I hate when drivers can't go the speed limit or you get idiots who pass you and then slow down. If I have nowhere to go it isn't so bad, but if I'm in a rush then it can get more annoying.

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  27. People get so angry when they're behind the wheel. I don't get it. It's not like we can see who is driving in front of us or behind us. It's not personal. Some are overly cautious, so they drive a bit slower. Some are morons, so they drive over the speed limit.

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  28. People get so angry when they're behind the wheel. I don't get it. It's not like we can see who is driving in front of us or behind us. It's not personal. Some are overly cautious, so they drive a bit slower. Some are morons, so they drive over the speed limit.

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  29. Ironically I think for it to become personal we must dehumanize the subject of our rage. Humanize them it's tough to make it personal...at least I keep telling myself this ;)

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  30. I'm relatively mellow when it comes to driving. Cut me off at you leisure, but don't get mad when I do it back to you :-)
    (yes, this theory is flawed, but it works for me - lol)

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  31. We have come into contact with some mad people. Once a driver got mad at us and followed us to the grocery store. Once inside, we saw him key our car all along the side. People like this need HELP and I think they are taking out their anger because of other things in their life. OR, they have an emotional problem. I do not remember Road Rage being near this prevalent back in the fifties and sixties.

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  32. I'm not easily angered but when I do get angry driving I don't do anything back. I just yell at them with the window closed. : )

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  33. Very interesting topic/ we do tend to take a lot of random stuff personally

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  34. Yes, when I had to commute to work I could be easily angered by the speeders, the weavers and especially being cut off. I would not do anything other than to curse in my car..Now, that I am retired I am happy I do not have to put up with the crazy drivers. I hope you are having a great day!

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  35. I won't lie, I do get road rage...but I think my attitude while driving is mostly because driving makes me anxious, so I'm not really relaxed. Therefore, when someone does something stupid I get easily angry. Who know, though.

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  36. I'm not too bad. One of my New Years Resolutions was to stop slower on the road, and to not be in such a hurry. I'm not saying that I was horrible with either of those things, but I had room to improve for sure.

    Usually when someone cuts me off I have a momentary racing heart, but I don't shout, cuss, or honk my horn.

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  37. i have lost my temper and yelled out the window at very slow driver - felt very bad afterwards. i've also seen folks overreact and get very angry and competitive for 'their space' on the road. can so easily escalate into tragedy.

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  38. I had a really, really old guy pull up along side me and flip me off. Apparently he didn't like my driving. It made me laugh. :) I don't road rage, but I do get irked at getting cut off too closely when I have kids in the car.

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  39. The only thing I get upset over is when someone is tail gating. It is dangerous for all - the driver, the fellow in front, and the fellow behind. And when I think of my children driving on the same roads as these careless tail gaters! It's such a common sense thing NOT to do, but many people do it anyways. I think the older you get, the less bothered you get by drivers, but maybe that's just me. :~)

    Have a wonderful rest of the week, Keith.

    ~Sheri

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  40. Living in the large, international city of Houston, which is spread out like Los Angeles, and being a business hub, we have people from every country in the world driving around. What I've discoveded is that they do not follow our sense of etiquette, don't bother learning how to do it "our way." They, for me, are the rudest people. Road rage it is not, but late last night I had to go to the supermarket to get coffee. There was a young man carrying a cross-body portfolio, canvas, dressed way down, appearing to be Eastern European, who approached the sliding glass doors at the same time as I. He, clueless, almost knocked me out of the way to go in first, all the time texting on his phone. Another thing I've noticed, and I'm going to write a post on this, is that guys who drive pick-up trucks are the most cordial drivers of all.

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  41. I very rarely drive anymore. When I did, I was always such a nervous driver that I stayed away from any route that had too many cars. At my retirement party, the school staff actually sang a song about me not making left turns. My husband however, does get irritated at people every so often and has to remind himself that he's retired, he's retired, he's retired... even while gritting his teeth.

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  42. I get ticked off when people are not following the rules of the road- especially when they're not giving the correct right-of-ways (on turns). I don't take it personally, but it irritates me that people are so stupid and that they're about to cause an accident. (I beep at them.) ;)

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  43. Fortunately I have never been involved in any road rage experiences but have witnessed a few, which is scary because so many people can be injured, not the two people initially involved. I once witnessed a motorcycle cutting a car off and that car behaved so erratically for several miles playing cat and mouse with the motorbike, it scared me enough to want to call the police. I was just about to when a police car came up behind them so someone had already called. Did you ever see that old 1940's Disney cartoon with Goofy turning into the devil when he got behind the wheel? I wonder if chariot racing had the same issues. Probably!

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  44. I have never experienced road rage pesonally coz I dont drive ...but i have seen my close ones react to such situations when i travel with them..i usually calm them down when they go crazy mad. I try to make the situation funny to lighten the mood. For example if someone is hell bent on over taking us or someone doesnt give us space to pass through..i just say ..let him, he is going to win the cup...or he wants to go pee or something ;-) road rage is a very dangerous thing..like you said, there is no use in taking these things personally..no good has ever come of road rage..it can only lead to horrible accidents where innocent people can also get hurt

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  45. I get ticked off when people are not following the rules of the road- especially when they're not giving the correct right-of-ways (on turns). I don't take it personally, but it irritates me that people are so stupid and that they're about to cause an accident. (I beep at them.) ;)

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  46. I am sorry i used 'he' ...read 'he' or 'she' :-)

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  47. I get irritated, frustrated. If they are zipping between cars and acoss lanes, I know someday, sometime, somewhere they will be on the side of the road with an officer writing out a ticket.

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  48. you're right the phenomenon of road rage is universal. I think it's wrapped up in the human sense of fairness as well as competition.

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  49. I think we are all guilty of it, and we all makes mistakes on the road. But our mistakes are easily forgotten and forgiven just as quick as we make them, usually. Some of us may show the aggression a little more, depending on the situation, or because of a personal situation at home. We also like our space for safety purposes and when it's invaded, look out. The fact that someone could die as a result of a situation triggers off an angry response, naturally. Maybe we want to guilt the other person, or remind them of the rage so they don't do it again. We've all made mistakes on the road, small or large, but we feel better when we are dishing it out the rage rather than receiving it. Our minds are never 100% on driving while we are driving, we are always thinking, thinking, thinking about things: what's for dinner, yelling at the kids in the back seat, smoking, listening to the radio, planning our weekend in our head, thinking about an argument, glancing at the clock to see how much time before we get there, eating, texting, talking on phone, and for some of us dozing off....

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  50. I guess that first, you'd have to define road rage. If it's a quick beep on the horn to show your displeasure at being cut off, then yes, we've probably all experienced it. But as for truly raging at or about another driver to the point of it taking you completely out of the present.. then no, I don't think it affects everyone. Frustration, irritation, exasperation are all normal responses, I think. It's what you do with them that makes the difference between those that behave rationally and those that rage.

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  51. Road rage never - annoyance yes.

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  52. I get a little edgy when people slam on their brakes for GREEN lights, can't maintain their lanes and show other signs of slipping in and out of consciousness. My response is to back off and give them room. I don't want to be like the guy who honked and yelled "dumbass" at me when I dared slow down to turn into my driveway.

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  53. Interesting as I think we all have had an experience with road rage. I guess some just get carried away. I have had someone pass me beeping going about 90 mph and you know what I passed him down the road as he was getting a ticket.

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  54. I think it's not only anger, but fear coupled with that whenever someone makes a bonehead move that could potentially cause a fatality accident. I've been involved in one of those, so I know that feeling well. Just my take on it! The addition of cell phones has caused a whole new set of problems for drivers. Don't even get me started.

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  55. I've been lucky so far, it is such a dangerous thing.

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  56. I found myself being angry to my surprise with phone company. It's it. Behind the wheel I'm happy as can be. During accidents if they're happened I'm trying to be calm and compassionate to self and others... Traffic? Trying to avoid. In the case of slippery weather I feel such a support of all surrounding me drivers here in MN, really! I'd suggest practicing calmness while meditating every day....compassion...understanding why? - for all who in anger....peace :)x

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  57. I am a very patient person and about the most I mutter is "Really???"
    What will make me angry however and I have only seen it once was when a car ran over a dog and didn't even slow down. I stopped to tend the dog and lost track of the driver. Think I prayed for karma.

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  58. I rage silently and wonder why 90% of other drivers are so incompetent.

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  59. I think road rage is very prevalent as it allows angry and frustrated commuters to vent out their emotions in a very irrational manner ~ I have seen cool people but behind the wheel, they become a different and hot tempered ~ For myself, I have my moments but its borne out of frustrations of a long day and too many things to handle all at once ~

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  60. You mean it's not rational to assume everyone is out to get you :P. Seriously though, road rage is scary business. I honestly can't understand why getting behind the wheel suddenly turns people into maniacs. Every minor error the other driver makes is an attack...I really hope people listen to your post!

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  61. I'm with Elaine. And while I haven't personally been a victim of road rage, I have witness it being done to others. In one case a man got out of his car to beat on the window of the woman's car in front of him. I didn't see what happened, but I'm sure it didn't warrant the response.

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  62. I tend not to get it unless I have a lot of idiots on the road. I get angry when safety is obviously ignored.

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  63. I am very much relaxed behind the wheel. There must be an underlying cause for people who go crazy behind the wheel.

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  64. Not only behind the wheel but in the passenger seat too. The hh says I take care of the expletives so he doesn't have to. grin.

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  65. I seldom get angry when I'm behind the wheel, but I do get very frustrated at times.

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  66. While I have never had a road rage emotion personally, I have observed one unfolding and found it very scary! Out of control, which of course is what all rage is classified.

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  67. I've never been the victim of road rage or had a bout of my own road rage. Have never given anyone the finger. Am more of a head-shaking, eye-rolling sigher. Have never understood road rage, to be honest. But then I was born and raised in Minnesota. Wouldn't be Minnesota nice to yell at people. ;)

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  68. George Carlin: “Have you ever noticed that anybody driving slower than you is an idiot, and anyone going faster than you is a maniac?"

    I commuted for 19 years...every morning and afternoon in rush-hour traffic. I learned to just sit back and relax and let the crazies do their thing! For the last few years, I'd drink a hot cup of coffee and listen to Audible.com on the way in. Once I realized it wasn't my job to teach other drivers "a lesson" that they wouldn't learn anyway, I just shifted into defensive mode and began worrying about protecting my own car from all those bad drivers.

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  69. I once had this guy tailgating me so close. Normally, I would have naturally sped up, but because he was riding me so, I deliberately didn't. Finally fed up, he passed me, got in front of me, and deliberately slowed down to a crawl.

    Instead of pissing me off, I thought his reaction was funny.

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  70. I recently saw in the news where a woman was shot and killed by a man she'd engaged in road rage with- so senseless and sad. (I wonder if you saw this as well?) I'm lucky in that I have a 5 min drive to work, so I don't have to endure much craziness on the road.

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  71. I get to be immune ;) I don't drive :) You all scare the hell out of me :)

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  72. I drive close to the speed limit around here because road conditions are not great. You wouldn't believe how that infuriates some drivers.

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  73. I get frustrated with other drivers who do things that influence safety. I don't think I go overboard. I did have two incidents where other drivers went nuts. One of them followed me home.

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  74. Road rage is bad and dangerous. Just recently here in Oregon Portland area, a mother was teaching her daughter how to drive. A young man got angry about some action and followed them home. He shot the mother because of road rage and then fled. He was caught and is going to go on trial.
    Someone lost their life due to another persons inability to handle their anger properly.
    I am often "flipped off" or screamed at for going the speed limit!! I have had people come up on my tail and honk their horns to try and make me go faster. Usually as soon as it is safe I will pull over and let them go. It is scary!

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  75. I don't drive and I never learned how... however; I think I don't because I already get upset when I am in a car with someone else and another driver does something thoughtless... I often say, this is why I don't drive, I can't handle other drivers...

    You are right though Keith, it is not all about me ... so I shouldn't worry so much... maybe one day I will learn how to drive :)

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  76. I found this to be a huge problem when I was living in a big city. Now that I'm in a city with a population of about 150,000, I don't experience it very often. In fact, the majority of the drivers here are not only courteous but surprisingly patient. And you hardly if ever hear anyone honk! I imagine that stress, fatigue and the constant rushing that some people deal with in their daily lives can incite road rage.

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  77. I tend to drive the speed limit and try to stay calm. When people get mad and pass me, I let them without getting frustrated. I want to be safe, so as long as people are not putting me in danger, I stay in my happy place while driving. I do get annoyed when I see people texting or doing dangerous things ! I wish we could all be a little more patient, but maybe there is something about being behind the wheel that makes people a little crazy.

    Interesting post!
    ~Jess

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  78. I get really angry when someone cuts me off or swerves into my lane, putting my children in danger. I don't know if it's irrational or not, but the mother in me wants to take a baseball bat to their heads every time it happens.

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  79. This was maybe 20 years ago when I was still living in the mountains... I was driving home late at night when I came up behind a pick up truck and they immediately slowed down to about 25 MPH and these are winding roads so I can't pass. Every passing zone they sped up to 50-60 so I couldn't pass. Then I finally turned off to my driveway and they turned around and followed me. I was about to confront them when my mom stopped me. Luckily I had their license plate number since I followed them for so long, so I called the police.
    In town I totally expect it and I'm trying to cure myself of my yelling in the car since the day my daughter piped up from her car seat..."come on people." Oops.

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  80. No, I don't get angry when I'm driving, I love to drive and being mad would take the fun out of driving. I've seen other drivers that scared me with their driving. I try to get out of their way ASAP. I do mutter prayers with some unprintable words in them as let them go on their merry way.

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  81. I took a class on rational thinking and behavior in college as well. I sometimes get annoyed with other drivers, but surely don't do any kind of road rage retaliation. Once, years ago, some guy cut us off in traffic. My hubby was driving. We came up to a stop sign and the guy got out of his car and wanted to fight hubby, but we just drove away. Interesting topic. Thanks for your thoughts.

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  82. Like my husband says, the cars in front of you are driving to fast, the ones behind, too slow! Lol! I don't get road rage. If someone cuts me off of what ever, I'll just wave and smile... :)
    I've learned a lot from my son who is a psychology major. I just ask him why? Ha! :)
    Cheri

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  83. Well, I have never driven a car. I take public transportation and thankfully the bus drivers in my area are pretty calm and don't get so angry like many car drivers do. I think that if you are in that bad of a mood (anyone who is going to drive), you should make it a point to calm down before getting behind the wheel.

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  84. Stupidity and thoughtlessness does make one react...as long as we can manage to keep our reaction within, not act upon it...we're one step ahead. :)

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  85. Hello Keith!:) I don't anger easily, but slow drivers make me mutter some bad words to myself in the car, as well as fast drivers who overtake and then slow down, and I pass them, and wonder what all the rush was about.
    People who honk their horns at traffic lights, annoy me a little, and I usually put my arm out of the window and make the gesture for them to go over the top. Naughty but it gives me a certain satisfaction.:)

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  86. ...the scary part of it all is that some, very few, but still some....turn the road rage into murder!! That is all kinds of wrong.

    Maybe it's our diet?!!! [kidding] I know, I know, this is NOT a laughing matter, but I couldn't resist a bit of light-heartedness here.

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  87. I'm immune to all of this, it seems.
    I'm one of those nagging wives telling the husband "do we really need all that color and sound just because of this?! let him hurry and arrive first. Hooray for him. he'll arrive home/work earlier. don't curse, dogs are listening" ahahahah
    When it's me I'm that lady everyone’s bypassing or honking to while thinking "she looks young but she must be a thousand years old. no one else drives that sedately" ahahahahah
    So I guess I'm immune to the aggravation.
    If people shut up when I enter a room I usually assume they were kind enough to resume what they were talking about and are now ready for me; there are like 2 Million more people in the world they could be talking about why would they mind me?! Most of the time it would be worst to have people start over the story from the beginning to share it all with me. Most of the time if they shut up I feel relieved and not embarrassed because I interrupted their moment.
    The same when I see people being intentionally rude. I don’t confront just for the heck of it. A while ago a colleague brought her baby to the office. She didn’t want to show the baby everyone and it was so clear – of course intelligent me thinks “if she didn’t she should have agreed with the ones she wanted the show the baby to to meet some place else” – but some colleagues to “teach her a lesson” approached and asked to be shown the baby. And were (almost) angry that I didn’t do the same and push the situation.
    Now, was I sorry I didn’t see the baby’s face and made all those ahhh ohhh noises? I probably was. I like her and in some way you feel entitled to be shown the baby after 9 months of moaning, helping out and pregnancy talk and some TMI. But it’s her baby, right? And others’ road-rage. I don’t have to embrace the crazy me and join the party ahahah.
    Take Care and Trust REBT!
    Teresa

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  88. I am not easily angered on the road. I am more angry when I'm out walking and I see drivers speeding and not stopping for stop signs in a residential neighbourhood with kids around. Are they really in that much of a hurry?

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  89. I definitely try to keep cool when someone cuts me off. I used to be real quick to honk my horn, but now I realize that it's not worth it to let another driver get me that upset.

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  90. The solution to road rage: use public transportation (cheaper and more ecological too)! :)

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  91. My dad often gets annoyed while driving and it just doesn't make sense. First of all it does not help anybody to get angry and also it is nothing personal, like you said. I try to stay calm (of course I did not when a stupid woman crashed into my car).

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  92. I'm not a driver myself, yet, so I haven't had a chance to experience the dreaded road rage but my parents have succumbed to it a few times! I try to remain calm at all times so only time will tell if I'm a secret hot-head behind the wheel. I will get instagram once I upgrade my phone too Keith, in response to your last comment! Glad you enjoy my photos. - Tasha

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  93. I've had bad days when I reacted, then I made a promise not to react. I try to think of the other driver because I don't know what kind of day the person is having or what weapon he or she carries. I try to keep that in mind.

    Good post to think about.

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  94. Only yesterday I just avoided a head on collision with an oncoming driver who was passing on a blind curve in a no passing zone. I've driven for fifty one years and never understood road rage. Possibly because my husband lived to "pay back" drivers who irritated him, and the nine years we were married produced more than a few frightening incidents. Rage in any situation is useless and counterproductive.

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  95. I don't drive so no, but then I'm prone to wandering sometimes when I'm walking and that has been bad sometimes. Rage no, a pretty calm person in a way !

    Been away for long, loads to catch up! Hope you're doing good!

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  96. I just yell at a lot of people while driving, that's usually enough. I've had some terrifying moments on the road but not because of my decisions. Driving is always a bit scary.

    xx naomi Naomi in Wonderland

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  97. I think possibly because people are 'protected' by being in a car so they feel like they can be slightly ruder than normal or something! Same with people who troll others online. I haven't driven in a very long time though so I'm probably not the best person to comment! x

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  98. If I was driving the road in your picture on a gorgeous fall afternoon, I should be shot if I experience road rage... but yes, sometimes I have found myself very angry at what other drivers do but when I come to my senses, I realize how stupid I've been.

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  99. Thanks for the refresher on REBT. I've been trying to handle a number of situations more rationally and take less personally, but I especially want to become a better driver now that I'm going to be a mom. REBT will hopefully really help.

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  100. Hey Keith....Thanks for stopping by my blog and leaving a comment. Much appreciated. This post immediately made me think of my father. He was such a short fused driver and as a kid I never could figure out why he would speed up to prevent someone from passing him. Or, why he would slow down if someone was following too close. I myself have no patience behind the wheel but I certainly don't look for trouble or intimidate others. Dad cured me of that!! Good post.

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  101. Thankfully I don't suffer from any kind of road rage. I don't like to draw attention to myself so the last thing I would do is honk my horn, yell at someone or flip them off. I don't care if someone cuts me off because then I don't have to deal with them getting closer and closer to my bumper.

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  102. Never had road rage... But only because I don't drive! Your REBT thoughts are however helping me chill out about something else that's made me cross today so thanks for that : )

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  103. I had someone give me the finger once...:( I live in the Detroit suburbs and road rage is a serous thing...especially with people carrying guns. happens a lot.

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  104. I find myself more scared behind the wheel than angered...especially when toting kids around with me. An automobile can be a deadly weapon and traffic accidents are so frequent. Scares me especially when you see someone driving recklessly or obviously intoxicated.

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  105. I'm not usually affected by road rage, but minor annoyances crop up from time to time. I think driving is stressful by nature, so I'm sure stress levels add to the rage for those who have it.

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  106. No, I don't do road rage and fortunately have not personally been touched by it.

    Big hugs, honey...

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  107. I haven't gotten angry in a while but people on their cell phone while driving make me pretty nuts sometimes.

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  108. Oh I am guilty as charged! I used to have a little toy that I placed in my car that made sounds of death rays and grenades that I could press the button and pretend the A%$# in front of me got blown up(it was stolen). Now I have never sped up to yell at someone or slowed down to be a jerk but I have had my middle fingers be shown. Now my mom once got so angry at a man in a pickup that was "toying with my mom and me in the car. I was maybe 15. This guy was dangerous and was slowing down and speeding up and all because my mom passed him. Finally my mom lost it and was chasing after him going over 100 mph! I told her it's not worth it and I am in the car and she calmed down and realized she was being silly and that it was dangerous. My hubby has severe ADHD so anger is a part of him. He is annoyed on the road and just starts to pass people and tell them to smarten up...I shake my head. Overall-you are right...it is very interesting that this is a global issue

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  109. Been there, done that, got the t-shirt. As in I've been on the receiving end, not the giver (I'm pretty calm behind the wheel and usually just laugh if someone cuts me off).

    One time a guy actually followed me into a parking lot over something that was entirely his fault to begin with (I tapped the horn because he was drifting into my lane and almost hit me). He got out and was screaming at me that he was gonna 'beat my ass'. The look in his eyes was insane. Vacant, even. It's like there wasn't even anyone inside. Needless to say, he was making so much noise a crowd gathered and the police were called.

    Now here's the thing. This guy was 50-something and extremely out of shape. I'm 30 and in the best shape of my life. I've been boxing for 10 years now. But just because I can punch out some fat old guy doesn't mean I want to. So I firmly attempted to talk him down, and when he rushed forward to push me, I informed him that I was a trained boxer and that I wouldn't touch him, but if he hit me I would hit him back to the best of my ability.

    After a few minutes it's like the real him came back. He looked confused. Embarrassed. He said he'd never done anything like that before in his life and he was really sorry. The police showed up, they scared him a little more, and I said I didn't want to press charges as by now the guy looked like he was going to crap his pants. After all, he drew a crowd, the police were called, and all eyes were now on him - a lot of them calling him some pretty harsh names.

    It's scary how stuff like that can escalate from practically nothing. And above all, it's scary how it can potentially lead to someone getting hurt. And not just the aggressor; I truly didn't want to, but if he had attacked me, I was gonna 'rock-em sock-em robots' his head right off of his body.

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    1. That was decent reaction from you. Hopefully, this guy learned his lesson during this encounter.

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  110. It sounds similar to what my sister-in-law shared with me years ago - I think it was along the same lines. After every mental assumption like that, add the word, "or...". Instantly reframes it.

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  111. Hi Keith, Happy to join your blog as a new follower and thanks for the follow on Marmelade Gypsy! I've enjoyed looking down your posts (oh, and I'm definitely half full -- sometimes to the chagrin of those around me, but that's another story!)

    Road rage is pretty big up here in Michigan, land of the black SUVs. They seem to be the worst, if one can make a generalization -- at least in terms of going fast, tailgating, etc. I haven't had any direct road rage experiences -- I'm happy to let them pass me by. But you hear of a lot of them around here. Seems like such a waste of good energy...

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  112. Whilst traffic jams are sometimes outside our remit, we do have to take responsibility for our own actions. If you leave early for your appointment, it's more likely you will get at your desired destination on time and feeling better than if you're rushing. Makes sense.

    Greetings from London.

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  113. I think it’s mostly urgent and stress force a peaceful person or a follower of rules to drive rage/rash.

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  114. Thank goodness, no I haven't. It really annoys me when I let people out in front of me and they don't say thank you, but the thing that stops me from getting all enraged is (a) seeing other people do it and thinking how awful they look and (b) imagine if you were swearing and gesticulating at another driver and then recognised them as someone you know. Wouldn't that be mortifying?!

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  115. Driving along this road would make me very calm, it is stunningly beautiful. However cycling around London is a whole different affair.

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  116. Driving should be about being responsible ... people who drive should be calm behind the wheels ... I loved the REBT principle you stated.

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  117. Guilty too. But I had a victory this week. A driver saw that I was about to move into the gap between him and the car infron of him as my lane was soon to merge into his,,, well he got so mad that he hit the gas and flipped me off. So no problem, I was able to use the space behind him and I put up the peace sign. Well, he kept flipping me off, so I blew him a kiss and continued to give him the peace sign. I overcame a little evil with good by my reaction. :)

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  118. I rarely get mad when driving, except when someone does something egregious on purpose.

    I think anonymity plays a role, like it does on comments on some web sites. The trolls come out.

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  119. No (because I can't drive) but I know a bloke who has.....

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  120. I don't get mad when I drive - but it does frustrate me that so many people drive as if they are the only person on the road. Flashing headlights if you are slightly below the speed limit, on the horn if you let a person into traffic! And soon as things like that happen I just slow down!!

    Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne

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  121. What an interesting post, Keith.
    I don't take it personally when someone passes me, but it does bother me very much when I see people driving badly... and yes, I do get very mad. :-)

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  122. You know what, I am a very calm, laid-back, peaceful kind of person. But I have experienced road rage myself! Seems like anytime I'm in a hurry and someone else makes me miss a light or something I get angry. I don't know what it is about being in a car that does that to me!

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  123. There's so much anger in our country/world now that I wouldn't put anything past someone... I don't know why people allow so much stress to build up in them, but even if you look at someone in a 'different' way--they can come back and try to hurt you. Same with road rage. I never EVER blow my horn at anyone anymore (or give them a glance or the 'finger')... They may come back and shoot me... SCARY--but people are angry at the world and they'll take it out on anyone in their way....

    I despise people driving slowly in the left lane on an interstate.. Many years ago, I could blink my lights at someone and they would move over.. These days, I just say nothing and pass them on the right.... Scary times we are living in.

    Hugs,
    Betsy

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  124. Oh I have the worst road rage. well to be fair in recent times it has gotten a lot better but I used to get irrationally angry when driving. I mean really upset until I realized ... wait, I need to calm down. As usual your post is thought provoking!

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  125. Anger is a primordial response. And, I guess, something (or someone) that prevents us from getting to where we want to go - brings out the beast in us. I try to walk as much as possible - much more conducive to quiet reflection and serenity.

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  126. Hi Keith! Your blog is way better than seeing an analyst! And no charge, to boot. Road rage is a great topic. I am not sure, but think that being a "senior citizen" may expose me to more road rage than younger people. Here is why: I like to go the speed limit on the freeway. I stay in the far right lane, aka the slow lane, and if the limit is 60, I'll be right around 60 to 65. What sets me off are folks who will come up and get right on my tail in spite of the fact that the faster lanes to the left are available. I'm tempted to take my foot off the accelerator and slow down as a way to return the annoyance. I know ... not a good idea. Now that I know about REBT I'm going to try something new ... I won't speed up for the tailgater but I will change lanes to let them pass on the right. Thanks for this great post. John

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  127. Keith,

    Here in the UK, it is almost the normal way, to encounter at least one bout of road rage, on even the shortest of drives. People seem to be living life on the edge of time and of temperment. Quite scary and a worry too, as quite a few people have been imprisoned for actually murdering another driver, in a fit of roadside maddness and rage...I do not drive, but witness it from the passenger seat, with great worry!!

    Eileen

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  128. I haven't escalated into road rage, but I am working on my impatience with other drivers. The speed limits here are 75, 80, and even 85 in some parts, so kindness with that kind of speed is a good thing!

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  129. This is a great point. It's amazing how "brave" people become behind the wheel of the car. Then if you speed to catch up to them, they won't even look at you. And one lady, when I stopped my car in front of her (to ask her if she was having medical problems or some similar issue b/c of her weaving) would not only not even LOOK at me, she closed her eyes like a child and just laid on her horn. When I went back to my car to get my mobile phone, she quickly peeled out and drove off in the other direction, cutting off FOUR lanes of traffic. I do hope she wasn't having a stroke, and I do hope she didn't cause a major accident. 911 didn't consider that an emergency, and the operator claimed she would alert local police. Since I had no idea what town I was even in at the time.
    I find that if someone does something like cut me off, just pulling up even to their car is enough to make them think about what they've done.
    As I said, they won't make eye contact and if they see if I have children in my car they are especially horrified. I don't get angry, or even use my middle finger. When/if I can ever get someone to actually LOOK at me? All I need to is shrug and/or hold my hands out, like "WHY?"
    If they flip me off or something back, I give them a dramatic smile, a thumbs up and an immediate thumbs DOWN. That usually confuses them a little bit, but is enough to relay my message in a non-violent way.
    Kids even change the way you drive.

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  130. My sister had an instance this weekend. She drove in to the gas station to get gas and a man felt she got his spot so he yelled at her, "Stupid mf cracker." A man spoke to woman like this over a spot to get gas. Unbelievable to me. Not only the racial slur, meanness of the comment, but how this man feels it's ok to talk to a woman like that. It aggressive and mean.

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  131. Interesting to apply therapy to it. I tend to be pretty chilled out in all areas of life. The only thing that really annoys me is people going too slow rather than fast. Like, well below the speed limit when I'm trying to get the kids to school. It's like they've got all the time in the world!

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  132. The only thing that makes me nervous on the road are traffic jams. What a waste of time. Otherwise, I'm not aggressive :)

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  133. Fascinating! I honestly thought it was an isolated incident with Americans. Hehe. Yes, isn't it the craziest thing ever?!
    If someone's been persistently and aggressively driving inches from the back bumper of our car (because we are going the speed limit, heaven forbid) when that frustrated driver finally begins to pass us, my husband does that "yawning" sign as that car goes around us. It's funny. Just like you said, I'm afraid he takes it personally, but makes an obvious joke out of it, too.
    I love this post! Thank you. :)

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  134. This used to drive me absolutely bonkers. I grew up in traffic and have always hated it. Yeah, I was that person who honked and flipped people off because I took it so personally. Lord help those who didn't wave a hand of appreciation when I let them into said traffic. I'll show them by tailgating. I was terrible!

    I didn't let it go until I worked my program. It took that for me to see how ridiculous I was being - and taking it like a personal affront to me! Now, I don't even care. If they have the need to get there first, that's fine. I'm in no hurry anymore.

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  135. I just get upset at the stupidity of humanity on the roads: talking on phones, texting, smoking. Just drive, will ya??!! I don't take it personally, I blame their IQ level. ;-)

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  136. This was a really interesting look at road rage. My first inkling is always to wonder if I did something wrong, not to blame the other person. REBT seems like it would apply in my case as well!

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  137. I don't know what it is, but it seems like some of the most ordinary people can turn into crazies once they get behind the wheel of a car!

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  138. I've never understood road rage. I think it is completely uncalled for. I have a son-in-law who is the most calm person until he gets behind the wheel. Frankly I don't like to ride with him.

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  139. I'm generally pretty passive while driving but I've been subject to and had incidents of 'road rage'. Very scary when you have another person in a vehicle yelling at you and gesturing. I've locked my doors on a couple occasions. A couple times I have gotten mad at another person but both times was in reaction to someone acting aggressive toward me. I had one guy non-stop beeping his horn at me while we were stuck in a traffic jam. Literally dozens of cars were at a standstill and he was insisting I should have to move. His absolute irrational behaviour lit me up like a firecracker and I'll admit there was some yelling and gesturing coming from my end. I've never gotten mad though during the normal course of driving. If people are acting badly I usually just get out of the way.

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  140. i agree with everything you've said about road rage, ESPECIALLY the irrationality of it. but i have to sheepishly confess that i've been known to curse/shout like a particularly R-rated sailor whilst behind the wheel. do you think it has something to do with being alone in a small space where it's possible to yell at the top of one's voice without being heard? b/c really, driving alone is about the ONLY time that's true for most of us, isn't it? you're right, it's fascinating, for sure! :)

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  141. Driving in the United States of America is a blissful experience. It's easy and most people follow rules and are very respectful. There might be one out of a thousand that are annoying. But in Kuwait, where there's no driver's education, and everyone feels entitled, everyone wants to be first, where there's no respect for pedestrians, where kids are not buckled up and too many ignore basic road rules -- yeh, I would say I definitely become highly irrational and spew all sorts of stuff that I normally wouldn't. Driving in this country is almost a daily torture so that when I get home, I pretty much don't want to go anywhere else. I hate being stuck in traffic for no reason other than the fact that this country doesn't have the infrastructure for the amount of people who reside and are driving here now. Kuwait has one of the highest death rates from car accidents in the world. There are some roads I prefer not to drive at all because it seems some people lose all sensible thinking when they are on them. It's a country full of offensive drivers and I am always on the defense. :)

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