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Road rage: When frustration spills over to the streets

Hostility is not something we get only from unfriendly people in unfamiliar places but we experience it almost every day on our roads.

The causes and effects of road rage are on the increase.

Tailgating, insulting gestures, profanity and physical aggression are examples of full blown road rage.

Medical studies have shown that road rage is typically exhibited in people who suffer from intermittent explosive disorder (IED).

Equally, those who experience extreme road rage have a psychiatric disorder closely related to impulsive violence.

Studies show that people who assault others have predispositions to aggressive behaviour and do not only do it in traffic but also at their workplaces and homes.

Trigger points

Road rage trigger points are when a driver cuts off the other, giving offending gestures or simply violent episodes experienced by some drivers.

Speeding has also been seen as a continuous manifestation of extreme road rage.

In every single reason why there is road rage, it is clear that there was a reservoir of anger, hostility and frustration.

Unfortunately, road rage has always ended in atrocious happenings because of its violent nature.

Its effect is the harm the culprits could potentially cause to other road users.

Such interruptions of normal flow of traffic can lead to traffic offences and further escalate to criminal offences.

Other road users also suffer because of the accidents that result from speeding, over reactions and personal body harm from violent attacks.

Vengeful acts

There are serious cases where deranged road users have followed other people for long distances in vengeful attacks.

The consequences of anger behind the wheel are always regretted because a level of guilt is always involved, however much the culprit felt offended.

Many  times, people think the situation was out of our control but the truth is, many of us can choose not to be angry.

The vice has other consequences that are a double loss to aggressors.

For instance, if your insurance has proof that you are guilty of road rage resulting in damaging other people’s property, they might not cover the costs resulting from the accidents.

Criminal offence can lead to prosecution and a consequent jail term.

Loss of life is never far away when a situation gets out of hand.

Simple road etiquette like signalling before switching lanes, parking with care, keeping your headlamps low or keeping a safe distance from the car in front will put you in good books with other road users.


Do not block the road while talking to other people or braking suddenly to punish others.

Do not jump to the conclusion that something was deliberately done to hurt or offend you.

If you know you are easily irritable you can make a choice and start earlier and get more relaxed for the busy day ahead.

Remember to be calm and don’t antagonise other drivers because you never know who may be potentially dangerous.