Road Rage

Road Rage

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Road Rage


As I pull up to the stop sign, I look right then left. There is a car in the distance but there is plenty of time to pull out into the road. As I pull out, I notice the car that seemed to be far away has sped up and is now right on my bumper. I slam on my brakes to piss off the driver behind me. I can tell this infuriated him. The driver holds up his middle finger, muttering something that I cannot understand. The driver then whips in front of me, almost running me off the road. As we approach another stop sign, the driver gets out of his car and walks over to mine. I get out of my vehicle and we begin to yell. The next thing I know, we are in an all out fistfight!
The scene described above is an example of road rage. Road rage can be explained by what occurs when drivers get mad to the point of cussing, fighting, or even killing each other. Road rage is extremely dangerous and is a progressing problem in America today. To stop road rage people must have more respect for others and police must start giving hefty penalties to those who show signs of road rage. Road rage has accounted for two-thirds of all highway traffic deaths. (1) " Motorists are being shot, stabbed and run over for totally inane reasons like, 'She wouldn't let me pass' or, 'Nobody gives me the finger'." (2) Almost every driver has been mad on the road, whether it is just a mild complaint like, " Hey, that car cut me off," or an actual fight. Why? That is the question that everyone wants to know. The answer is built up anger, depression and stress.
Throughout a normal day, stress can build up. Whether it's taking care of the kids, being cramped in an office all day, someone getting on your nerves, or any kind of situation, a person builds up a wall of stress. The wall of stress is made of layers of things that upset, anger, depress, confuse, panic, and infuriate you. In the article Driven to Insanity, a doctor states that, " the stress people are under causes them to drive in a manner that normally they would not have under a less stressful situation." Although everyone is not stressed all the time, everyone has experienced and can relate to stress, which increases the possibility that they might react with road rage during stressful conditions.

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When a person's day is through, he or she is ready to go home and unwind, maybe with a glass of wine, a beer, a little TV, or simply rest; but on the way home the person is a bomb waiting to explode. Their wall of stress is ready to burst out into anger. It is a lot easier to get mad or angry with someone you do not know than it is to get angry with a friend, co-worker or family member. If someone lights the person's fire by cutting in front of them, riding their bumper, or perhaps going too slow, he or she might burst. The explosion depends on the person. An aggressive person might have a more vicious rage than that of a shy person, but either way there is an apparent rage.
Another important and interesting question to bring up is why is road rage more apparent now than say 50 years ago. There are many answers to this question, but the main answer comes down to our culture changing. Currently, we share our world with 6 billion other drivers and only a limited number of roads. There are too many people in the cities and very bad traffic, which can make anyone mad. I can personally relate to the bad traffic because I live in Seattle, which is ranked in the top five worst traffic cities in the United States. I know that when I get stuck in gridlock traffic I become very frustrated and angry even though the only problem is that there are too many people for our roads and it is not the guy in front of me that is causing the traffic. The fact is that the growing population and the limited space makes the traffic progressively get worse and along with the traffic comes the road rage.
Over the past 50 years, the American culture has changed significantly. Technology has created more jobs and more competition. With more competition comes more stress, and with more stress comes more road rage. Another reason for the increase in road rage is the attitude younger people have. I do not want to make a stereotype of all teens; however, there is a greater lack of respect for adults now than there was 50 years ago. I even find myself mumbling things about old drivers if they are going slow. Most of the time I am a nice guy, but if an old person is going really slow in front of me it can be frustrating. The lack of respect results in more back talk and less regard for age when teens get into disputes. I try to always have respect for others, just like the old saying, "Treat others how you want to be treated." There is a lack of civility and respect for fellow drivers.
Currently, California is installing a new automated technology system that photographs license plates of vehicles that run red lights and it even captures scenes of accidents for police review. Also, hefty fines for dangerous drivers are given in Maryland, but these new approaches to the issue of road rage will only help catch the people, not stop the phenomena. New York is trying to make road rage a felony crime. (1) Prescriptions for Prozac and many other depression and anti-anxiety drugs are being prescribed for stress, which has calmed many people. These are a few things that can help our road rage problem, but the answer is more respect for others. Parents must teach there children to respect others and the police must give hefty penalties to those who show signs of road rage. With this we can minimize our problem of road rage.
Overall, road rage is a continuing and progressing problem on our roads. It is being compared with the dangers of having a loaded weapon. More respect for others and hefty fines from police will reduce road rage. So, next time you feel tension against another driver, back off and let the situation go. Better that than to get into a wreck or possibly shot because you pissed off the wrong person.





Bibliography:

Works cited
1. "N.Y. Governor proposing legislation to raise 'Road Rage' driving to felony level." Insurance Advocate, 3/24/2001. Vol. 112, Issue 12, p. 5.
2. "Driven to Insanity." Longton, Linda. Over Driven, Nov. 2000, Vol. 40, Issue 11, p. 34.
3. "Road to Ruin." People, 10/23/2000, Vol. 54, Issue 17, p.93.
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