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Road Rage

In: Other Topics

Submitted By ToadFace18
Words 2042
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It all starts when that guy behind an individual starts tailgating, or the person in front of someone cut that person off, maybe it was the guy who would not let a person move into the fast lane. In most cases it is simple misunderstandings between drivers that set them off. Regardless of what car is driven, large or small, road rage is dangerous. Therefore we must do more to control this outrageous behavior before it gets out of hand.
Many people have heard of road rage from drivers ed or from the local media. People who have heard of road rage have a general idea of what road rage is but do not really understand what it is until they have experienced it themselves. Road rage can be caused by tailgating, speeding, driving under the speed limit or cutting others off. Even driving within the required speed limit can start road rage. An example of road rage in the article, “Can road designers and police calm motorists down?” by Sarah Glazer, is told by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, “a station wagon in San Francisco ran a red light five seconds after it turned red hitting a cab at thirty miles per hour” (Glazer 650). Most of the time though it is the smallest infraction that will set people off. For example, not signaling, making a rolling stop, and stealing people’s parking spots while they are waiting for the car to back or pull out.
As noted above, road rage can start in many ways. In today's world people live in a fast paced society where everyone is constantly in a rush. They also live in a time were if they want something, they expect it immediately. There is pressure to be at work on time, to get kids to after school activities, or to get home in time to make dinner for the family. If people could find a way to get out of their house ten minutes earlier without speeding or cutting others off, a lot of unnecessary road rage would be eliminated. Although people often do not give themselves enough time to get to their destination on time, this is not always the reason someone has road rage.
Drivers need to be aware that when someone who has road rage gets angered it can have some serious consequences. These days people often carrying guns or knives. These fellow drivers can follow wherever an agitator lives and pull either of these weapons out and use them. In 1987 “Approximately 70 shootings and one stabbing are reported over the summer on Southern California roads. In the fall, another outbreak follows in St. Louis with 22 confirmed shootings.” (Glazer) People do not realize how big of a deal road rage really is until something like this or until they get into an accident themselves. Before a person agitates another driver by cutting them off or refusing to let them change lanes, they should consider whether or not it is worth the hassle.
One of the ways that people express road rage is by yelling and screaming at the person who ticked them off. Granted the person will not hear what is being said, but they will probably see the person's facial expression and notice that next time they should signal earlier or not cut people off. Social psychologist, Carol Tavris points that, “the car is the best possible example of an environment where it's typically safe to express anger,” she then goes on to say, “You can yell and shout; no one will yell back at you, and maybe they'll get out of your way.” (Glazer) I am at fault for yelling at people who decide to go very slow and when I say “slow” I mean going the speed limit. I also hate it when people tailgate. For example, I am use to hauling my horse trailer everywhere, most of the time I have a horse in it. People who tailgate do not realise that it takes a lot longer for a trailer to stop.
Patricia Waller said,
“Over the years, we've become much better drivers - if you look at the fatality rate per 100 million miles driven. The rate in the 1960s was between five and six deaths; three was a barrier people never thought we'd cross; it's well under two at this point.” (Glazer 657).
Waller goes on to say, “People have been driving for hundreds of years now so it does not surprise me that we are under two deaths now.” Waller continues with talking about how more people are likely to die while driving out in a “rural” area because of the higher speed limits and the greater length of time for “medical attention to get there.” (Glazer 657). If people took into consideration the conditions they are driving it would greatly decrease fatal accidents in rural areas. One of the biggest problems people face that have road rage is speeding. This includes not only going five over the speed limit but ten or even twenty over. Lisa Sheikh, a child welfare expert, started Citizens Against Speeding and Aggressive Driving after she moved to Washington from New York City two years ago. Sheikh stated,
“I was astonished by the speeding, the red- light running, and the very aggressive driving behavior,” she says. “I really began to think about the possibility that a lot of crashes are not accidents - they're the result of unlawful driving behavior.” (Glazer 655-656). States in the U.S. are starting to raise the speed limits on highways hoping that if they raise the speed limit, those who are speeding will stop speeding, According to the coalition,
“raising the speed limit sends motorists the wrong signal - that it's safe to speed. Further, it says, police forces are inadequate to the task of enforcement. According to a recent Harris Poll conducted for the organization, 64 percent of those polled are “concerned that higher speed limits will contribute to even more aggressive driving.” (Glazer 666).
I agree with this. If we raise speed limits even higher than they are currently, people will go simply drive even faster. Since people speed right now with the speed current speed limits, what good will raising the speed limit do? For example, when I went on a road trip last summer, I did not care what the speed limit was so I went well over what I knew the speed limit was. I realize now that was a stupid mistake. I was putting not just myself but, those in the car and fellow drivers at risk of being in an accident. Another problem that causes road rage is traffic congestion. In David Hosansky’s article “Is the United States facing permanent gridlock?” he states, “In the last few decades, traffic has grown so heavy that most big cities and their suburbs are gridlocked for much of the workday.”(Hosansky) Most traffic that will cause road rage occurs when people are driving to or from work. The best way to help people who are driving in congestion is to be in an “air conditioned car with music or CD’s” that is relaxing, since road congestion is something that is not going away anytime soon. Traffic does not just happen when it is time to go to work. Traffic also happens when there is a big holiday, such as Christmas or the Fourth of July. A good way to avoid going through the stress of traffic congestion is to give more time to get somewhere. Psychiatrist John A. Larson, director of the Institute of Stress Medicine in Norwalk, Conn, said to “allow 50 percent more time, if it is three hours, allow 30 percent more time. If you plan the travel time really tight, anything that slows you down will make you angry,”(Glazer) Just as Larson said give plenty of time to travel whether it is twenty minutes or a few hours. In the long run this will result in a calmer and better day.
What is being done to fix road rage somebody might ask. So far there are two things being done to help traffic flow, and help the police catch those who are breaking the law. Glazer states, “Maryland and Colorado have passed legislation to allow cameras at intersections to catch motorists running red lights....” (Page 666). Washington also has these cameras placed around to catch drivers as I have seen them while driving around Olympia and Lacey. These cameras will help police catch the people who are running red lights and those who are not attempting to slow down and stop. People who are more aware of the cameras will take the time to slow down. Putting cameras at lights will make people aware that they will be caught if they are speeding through lights. Also these cameras will catch people who have road rage, racing through lights in a hurry to get somewhere. Julie A. Rochman stated that “Ninety-seven percent of the people who get tickets pay for them,” she then goes on to say “It's hard to argue when you get a shot of your car in the mail.”(Glazer). I agree with what Rochman stated. If I was to see my car going through a light that was red I would definitely pay the ticket. Obviously the cops have proof that it the offender's car from the licence plate so they might at well pay and get the ticket over with.
Another way that road workers and state authorities are helping with road rage is putting in roundabouts instead of stop lights. In theory roundabouts make it so that traffic will flow smoother. Roundabouts can come in large, medium, small, and extra small circles. With roundabouts only going to the right it makes it so that people are almost always moving. Therefore the idea is that there will not be a lot of traffic, and if there is any traffic it will not last long. For example, the City Transportation Department planner, Stuart Goldsmith stated,
“Seattle is one of the cities most often cited for embracing traffic-calming measures. Small traffic circles placed in the middle of neighborhood intersections, sometimes adorned with small gardens, have been the single most effective and popular method for traffic calming.” (Glazer 664)
I agree with how well roundabouts work and how effective they are. However, I also think that if a person does not know how to use a roundabout it can be useless. Roundabout are harder for some people to use, mostly older people. For example, while I was driving I made it to a roundabout and saw an older gentleman who for some strange reason drove left instead of right. At first I laughed but now that I look back on it, I think that people who do not know how to use roundabouts need to be better educated on how roundabouts work.
Psychiatrist John A. Larson, director of the Institute of Stress Medicine in Norwalk, Connecticut wrote a few strategies that can be helpful when trying to avoid road rage. One plan for a person who has road rage or thinks they do is to plan more time than a person thinks they need. Another plan is to not “race a car if they are next to you” at a light or just driving on the road, or just listen to something like “music” on the radio. You should also be nice to others on the road, and refrain from trying to “teach someone a lesson on the road” (Glazer).
People need to realize that there are people on the road who have road rage, realize that it is dangerous, and not something that can be fixed right away. People need to remember others on the road have places to be and should be cautious of other drives. Driving a vehicle is not a time to be reckless or to agitate those around us and the results of such foolishness are often disasterous. Therefore we must not let ourselves be easily angered on the road or cause those around us to be agitated. Otherwise road rage will continue until more and more people including ourselves experience the serious problem road rage.

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