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Road Rage

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Submitted By tireshop1
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Road rage is fairly well known to the most of us, either through direct experience or news reports. According to epidemiological data, about one-third of citizens admit to committing road rage at one time or another. While most of these incidents involve shouting and gesturing at other drivers, a small minority of encounters escalate to direct and damaging contact. Offenders are most often young and male. Factors of road rage may include various environmental factors, psychological factors, and Axis I and II psychiatric disorders.
Road rage encompasses a variety of aggressive behaviors by the driver of a motor vehicle, which seem well beyond the perceived offence committed by the victim. These behaviors range from shouting, screaming, and yelling at another driver to using a weapon, including the vehicle, to incite damage to the victim or the victim’s vehicle. While road rage is an intuitively recognized phenomenon for most of us, for research purposes, a consistent definition of the term seems to be lacking. As a working definition for this paper, road rage may be described as a constellation of thoughts, emotions, and behaviors that occur in response to a perceived unjustified provocation while driving. Road rage may also be defined as those driving behaviors that endanger or potentially endanger others and are accompanied by intentional acts of aggression towards others, negative emotions while driving, and risk-taking. Interestingly, one author has said that road rage can be recognized as a full blown psychological disorder and labeled as “road rage disorder.”
The prevalence of road rage has undergone relatively limited examination, but data from several Canadian studies is available. According to the findings of a Canadian telephone survey of 1,395 people, 31.7 percent said they shout or cuss at other drivers in addition, another 2.1 percent admitted that they have threatened to hurt someone or damage their vehicle. In another Canadian study, this time involving 2,500 adults, the 12-month prevalence rate for shouting at another driver was 32 percent, and threatening another driver 1.7 percent, and attempting to damage or actually damaging another driver’s vehicle 1 percent. In this study, researchers found that frequent road ragers accounted for five percent of participants in their sample. This data indicates that around one-third of community drivers have engaged in aggressive behavior toward another driver while on the road, but far fewer actually report serious threatening behavior or damage to another person or vehicle. A number of studies have examined the epidemiological characteristics of individuals who perpetrate road rage. In a study by Smart and Mann, individuals with road rage are predominantly young and male, findings that have been reported by other investigators. Being a predominantly male behavior, other investigators have found that road rage may extend across all age groups with the exception for seniors.
A number of environmental or non-psychological factors may contribute to road rage incidents. These include a greater amount of miles driven everyday, carrying a gun or other weapon, and the amount of traffic. Other factors may be aggressive environmental stimulants such as billboards and building signs.
A number of nonspecific psychological factors may contribute to road rage, as well. These include the tendency to displace anger and attribute blame to others as well as unrewarding and stressful employment situations. Several authors have also underscored the role of high levels of general stress as well as the strains of modern urban living.

References
Pepper, M. (2006, November 16). Road Rage. Retrieved from http://www.drivers.com
Top 10 tips to prevent road rage. (2006, April 14). Retrieved from http://www.edmunds.com

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