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Ragin’ Roadways

Why do we get so angry behind the wheel?

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Picture your daily routine.

You wake up, put on that snazzy WCA uniform, eat breakfast, get in your car, start driving…

HONK!

Some entitled BMW cuts you off and you have to swerve into the next lane to avoid them.

What do you do? Yell at their incompetence? Tail them for the next few miles? Mutter criticisms under your breath about how of course it was a BMW? Or do you, quite simply, let it go and keep driving?

Everyone at some point in their life has to deal with aggressive drivers. You might even be one of them! But why do we get so unreasonably angry? What happens to our brain whilst driving that can make us visualize literally strangling another driver? Well, there are many factors that contribute to these results.

One of the most important contributors to road rage is the sense of anonymity. When you’re driving, you don’t see other people, just cars -metal objects that obscure our identities to that of our car’s particular stereotype.

Say someone cuts you off. We can yell and scream at them all we want because we’re not particularly seeing another human being with a family but a large metal (potentially-killing) machine. Would you do the same if a stranger cut you off while you were walking down the hallway? Probably not. In fact, if you brought it up to them they would most likely apologize.

So, while anonymity does not necessarily bring about this aggressive behavior, it leaves us more inclined to give in when we know there won’t be many social consequences. It’s a classic case of situations that reveal who someone really is on the inside, not just in public.

Most people will agree that road rage originates out of irrational, petty indignation. The overreactions that are brought forth from even the kindest of souls show that it is not only illogical but a systematic issue.

While you are in the driver’s seat, whether you realize it or not, you are in a position of power. If someone cuts you off, you may think you have the authority to do what you want, but you have no idea how they may respond to the situation. Not everyone will react like you would so don’t assume that person behind you will merely brush off a rude gesture.

There’s not a sorry honk. Drivers don’t know if someone is sorry or if they simply don’t care about the consequences of their reckless driving. But, if one is aware of the rationale behind road rage, they can go about thinking and acting differently on the road.

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Ragin’ Roadways