7 Surprising Triggers of Road Rage You Didn’t Know About

When you’re on the road, there’s a lot you can’t control. But you can reduce your chances of a road-rage incident by practicing some simple habits.

For example, never drink and drive and always leave yourself enough time to get where you’re going. Here are some other things that can cause you to lose your cool behind the wheel.

1. Drinking and Driving

Intoxicated driving reduces your ability to react quickly and makes it harder to control your emotions. This can make it much easier to get enraged on the road, and it’s also a big cause of car accidents and senseless aggression that escalates into violence.

Alcohol also alters the activity in your prefrontal cortex, which is responsible for impulse control, making it more difficult to resist temptation and control your behavior. This includes impulsive driving behaviors such as speeding, rapidly switching lanes, and tailgating. It’s no wonder people who engage in aggressive driving are more likely to get into a car accident, especially since it increases your risk of being involved with another driver who is equally angry and aggressive.

Being late for your appointment or a flight can also trigger road rage. If you know you’re going to be running late, leave for your destination early and prepare to encounter delays like traffic congestion. Otherwise, you’ll find yourself irritated with everyone and everything on the road and working yourself up to the point of losing control of your vehicle. Anger and aggression while driving are dangerous, costly to both you and other drivers, and could result in a suspended license, fines, or even jail time.

2. Traffic Delays

Sitting in traffic all boxed up in your car, running late and powerless to do anything about it can be enough to trigger road rage. Add some guy who weaves in and out of lanes like a maniac trying to push his way past you, a frustrated driver honking at your annoyance or someone blocking your path with their car, and you have the perfect storm for anger.

Studies show that traffic congestion and delays are among the most common triggers of extreme driving behaviors. So, if you’re feeling irritated by another driver, try to put distance between yourself and them by safely switching into the slower lane or taking less crowded routes.

If you see someone else behaving aggressively, do your best to stay calm and report them to law enforcement. This may help keep them from putting you or other drivers at risk and avoiding the repercussions of a traffic accident, citation or worse. It’s also important to remember that the vast majority of people who engage in road rage do so because they feel they have been wronged or that their proxemic space is being violated. In such cases, the driver is usually to blame.

3. Lack of Sleep

Getting enough sleep is key for the body and mind to function optimally. However, not everyone is able to get adequate rest. This lack of sleep can make it difficult to think clearly and respond quickly to road situations. It can also cause the brain to interpret visual and auditory signals incorrectly, leading to an angry reaction.

If you feel your temper rising while driving, it’s best to pull over. This will give you time to calm down and give your mind a break. It can also help to listen to soothing music or take deep breaths. This will allow your heartbeat to slow down, a natural way to relax and avoid the onset of anger.

Drivers who experience road rage often exhibit aggressive behaviors and are more likely to act on impulse. For example, they may sound their horn or make rude gestures at other drivers. This type of behavior can lead to a deadly accident and even physical violence. It’s important to realize that road rage can trigger other violent activities, such as domestic violence or workplace aggression. Moreover, these road rage incidents can develop into deadly disputes involving firearms. Hundreds of fatal road rage altercations happen each year.

4. Competition

A sense of competitiveness can lead to road rage, especially when you’re stuck behind someone who is speeding or driving dangerously. You might start honking or making rude gestures and may even try to race them to get to your destination. This kind of behavior can put you and other drivers in danger, and it’s also illegal. The Suffolk Road Rage Capital has been named the fifth road rage capital in the UK.

There are many reasons why people get angry while on the road, including dealing with a personal problem like a bad day at work or a spousal argument. They might be frustrated that they’re running late for an appointment or just tired of the traffic. And of course, there’s always the possibility that someone just is out to get them.

While it’s tempting to retaliate when another driver makes you mad, it’s not worth the risk. Instead, try to detach from the situation and focus on your breathing (four seconds of inhale, four seconds of hold, and then four seconds of exhale). Also, leave earlier for appointments so you’re not in such a hurry. This will help reduce your stress levels and prevent you from reacting to a minor offense by another driver. Also, avoid alcohol when driving as it can make you irritable and less likely to tolerate others’ mistakes.

5. Angry People

If someone cuts you off, drives too slow or swerves into your lane, you might feel that familiar tightening of the chest and red tinge to your vision. This is because your body has just been triggered by the fight-or-flight response.

While the stress of driving can lead to anger, road rage is more than that. Experts say road rage can also be triggered by underlying mental health conditions like depression and anxiety. These conditions cause people to have a difficult time regulating their emotions and are more likely to turn that anger on strangers on the road.

Some drivers have low tolerance for traffic delays, especially on the highway. These people might respond by following other vehicles too closely, frequently switching lanes or honking their horn. They might also get angry when other drivers don’t agree with their position on an issue.

Angry drivers can be dangerous and it’s important to keep your distance from them. They might be carrying weapons that could put you at risk if they get out of their car to confront you. If you do encounter a raging driver, pull over into an occupied police or fire station in the area and call 911.

6. Distractions

The definition of distraction is “the act of removing attention from something in order to focus on another thing.” There are several types of distractions, both internal and external. Internal distractions include thoughts and emotions like anxiety, stress or displaced anger. These emotions can be triggered by driving conditions, traffic delays, or other common frustrations such as a GPS that doesn’t work or being late for an appointment.

External distractions can also be a major cause of road rage, especially when they’re aimed at another driver. Tailgating, excessive honking or rude gestures are often used to signal a driver’s impatience with another vehicle. These behaviors can be very dangerous and even deadly, so it’s important to avoid them whenever possible.

We all experience road rage from time to time, and it can be very dangerous. Fortunately, there are ways to deescalate situations and keep your cool when confronted with an aggressive driver. Practicing stress breathing, for example, can help calm the nervous system and reduce blood pressure. It’s also helpful to remember that road rage is not worth the potential consequences, such as a fine, jail time or having to file an SR-22 or FR-44 form with your insurance company.

7. Lack of Empathy

In some cases, road rage can lead to aggressive driving, which can end in serious car accidents and senseless personal attacks. Whether someone bangs into another driver’s rear bumper or pulls a pistol, tens of thousands of car accidents occur every year because of road rage.

One of the main causes of this is lack of empathy. When people get angry in traffic, they often see the other drivers as objects rather than as human beings. This is because they have a hard time regulating their emotions behind the wheel and transferring them to another context.

The problem with this is that it makes them less able to see how their behavior affects other people and can even make them act violently toward their own family. Psychologist John Casada, who treats people with anger problems, says that those with the classic Type A personality tend to be more prone to rage. He explains that this is because these people are driven and always want to be at the top of their game.

There are many ways to prevent road rage, including staying calm and remembering that other drivers’ mistakes are not personal. It’s also helpful to keep a distance between vehicles, honk only when necessary, and avoid using high beams in traffic.