Common Causes of Road Rage and How People Control It

Driving to work, bringing the kids to rehearsals, running for errands makes people spend some of their time in their cars. Nowadays, being patient and defensive in driving is one thing drivers often do not keep in mind, resulting in unsafe conditions and scenarios on the road. When something goes wrong on the road, any driver would really feel irritated, and some cause them to experience road rage. Road rage happens when a driver shows rude or violent behaviour as a result of uncontrolled temper or anger as a response to another driver’s behaviour. Road rage can pose a danger between drivers and even affect innocent people as well. It is important to know how to manage anger or temper to avoid the occurrence of this incident.

Here are some reasons why some drivers lose their temper.

  • Changing lanes without an indicator or changing lanes too close to the back of another vehicle
  • Speed driving faster than defined speed limits on the national road or highways
  • Flashing beam lights to another driver to express displeasure
  • Making a filthy look to other drivers
  • Driving closely behind to another vehicle
  • Revving the engine behind the car
  • Yelling at another driver 
  • Showing rude gestures to another driver
  • Swerving sideways and/or comfortably close to another vehicle
  • Chasing and/or threatening another driver
  • Cutting abruptly on the road 
  • Speeding up or slowing down to prevent another driver from changing lanes, or merge safely or just to frustrate another driver
  • Pulling over to argue 
  • Unnecessary honking the horn to express displeasure
  • Moving the car in a sudden manner to threaten

A driver may initiate road rage because of these actions done by another driver. This is also oftentimes triggered by stress or anxiety, making it more difficult to deal with. The causes of road rages are oftentimes related to a person’s ability to control his feelings. Let’s look further into how these happen.

Causes of Angry Driving and Road Accidents

Pre Existing stress

When a person is under a large amount of stress, whether it is caused by external factors such as his job, family, or the people around him, this can affect how he would control his temper when dealing with road incidents or problems. This state can really interfere with the person’s self-control as he is already overwhelmed with a lot of challenges that cause him stress, which may lead to a temper tantrum. 


People who are impatient in nature are more likely to experience a road rage incident. They always think of themselves as priorities on the road, and they always wish to be where they are heading to as soon as and in as little time as possible. 


People who are undergoing anxiety or depression may also have the difficulty to manage a stressful situation as they are already under a very negative perception of the world around them, adding a road ordeal to this situation can initiate road rage as they already feel that the world is against them or nothing good is happening around them.

Being Rushed

People who always want to get from one point to another point on time are not used to rushing or being delayed by difficulties along the road. They get frustrated if they face these obstacles like traffic, road works, or slow drivers, so they can be triggered to create an argument and cause them to feel road rage.

Mental Illness

If a person is mentally disabled or has mental health illness, this can cause them to start a fight in response to a road incident. They are less able to handle a situation calmly and logically, so they just react based on what they see and feel. Some people who have anxiety disorders can be anxious when they are driving. 

Lack of Concentration

Road rage can also happen when a driver who is not paying attention to the road gets involved in a road incident, like being on a mobile phone while driving or having an argument with somebody inside the vehicle, which also causes a lack of concentration on the road while driving. 

Overall, an individual who can not control anger and shows violent reactions can be easily involved in road rage. When they feel angry about something, even if it is not related to the road, they can easily get angry towards something or towards other drivers. This also implies poor emotional intelligence since they lack the ability to deal with a situation with the proper emotion or reaction. These may be hard, but it is controllable. If you think that you easily lose that temper, here are some things you can do to control it and not get into deeper trouble:

How to Make Your Drive Safer

Take control of your reactions

This is very important since you can never be in control of other driver’s emotions or reactions. You also do not have control over traffic lights or road accidents. What you can do is to focus on your energy and ability to control your own reactions while driving.

When you notice someone who is not good at driving or whose driving behaviour is trying to provoke you, distance yourself by avoiding eye contact, or you can directly drive to the nearest patrol to the police station, especially if you are in danger.

You can do this by driving with extra precaution and always think about safety. Follow traffic rules, use signals or indicators properly, and be considerate to other drivers. If you think another driver is aggressive, you just give way and let them go ahead of you. 

Stay calm & have rest

Take a deep breath when you feel that your temper is about to burst. Allow yourself to calm and listen to light and calming playlist. This will help you control that temper and keep your driving smooth and safe. Also, do not reciprocate another driver’s offensive and aggressive actions. 

Having good rest and sleep will reduce your anxieties and stress. The ideal quality sleep can be achieved when a person has enough sleep for an average of about 7-9 hours. If you have enough rest, you are more likely to be emotionally stable and enable you to handle your emotions well.

Allow yourself to have more time to travel, from your origin to your desired destination. This will relieve you from being worried about arriving late, especially if something unexpected happens along the road. 

Avoid what angers you on the road

You know yourself better as a driver. Picture that thing or scene that will really cause you road rage, and this will help you avoid or become proactive when you foresee that it is going to happen. This way, you are able to prevent your temper from spiking up and overcome your feelings. 

Always remind yourself that uncontrolled feelings and emotions will just make things worse. There could be detrimental effects and consequences once a road rage ends up without being resolved. If you feel that your road rage was due to other people’s uncontrollable emotions, you have the right to seek legal advice from a lawyer and fight for your right, especially if you were put to danger or got injured due to untoward actions from an arrogant driver. For some people who believe that it is not about anger management, they consult therapists to help them deal with these kinds of situations. 

If you ever are a victim of road rage you can not let it stay that way, you can file for a lawsuit against the driver who has caused you damage, be it physical or damage to your vehicle. Sometimes road rage can really lead to assault and/or harassment. Be sure to collect enough evidence. Installed dash cams can be very helpful during these incidents, if not available you can ask your passenger if any, to take a video of the incident. And while you are in this situation, think ahead of protecting yourself. Here is how you can protect yourself from such an incident:

Drop your own road rage

As much as possible, avoid making it more complicated by acting out your own road rage. Try to approach the other driver calmly, and he will surely reciprocate with calmness. If this does not happen, then escalate. You can seek cops’ help.

Ironic as it may seem, especially if you know that you are in the right, just give way to these people. This will help you prevent the risk of getting involved in a more complicated problem from the picture. Just slow down your speed and let the aggressive drive ahead. 

Do not get out of your car

If you are threatened, and the driver tries to attack you, your own vehicle will serve as your own protection, do not allow the driver to get any closer and always lock those doors. This reduces your risk of being hurt or injured. While you are in your car, immediately contact cops for rescue. 

If you are being threatened or endangered, flash your headlights and honk your horn until other people are diverted to your location. Other people can help by calling the cops or come right to your rescue.

Do not go home immediately

If the driver is really ill-tempered and wants to pin you down, do not give them a lead to your home, this can be more dangerous. Instead of heading to your home, you can drive around, take different routes, go to a place where this is a crowd so that you can seek for help or go straight ahead to a police station nearby.

Be prepared to defend yourself

There may be incidents where road rage can require you to defend yourself, especially if it already poses a threat to your safety. If ever you get provoked to defend yourself though, you take some of these tips:

If you are already under a physical attack, you have the right to defend yourself. In fact, you do not need to be attacked first, you are entitled to protect yourself as long as it was not you who provoked the attack.

Your response to the attack should reciprocate, or as much as possible, be appropriate to the attack. In a simple explanation, you can only use the force to stop the attack. For example, if the person tries to punch you, you can hit back to stop the attack, and not to use a gun or a knife to defend yourself. 

Once the person ceases to attack you, you can stop hitting back or stop your defence in general. Moreover, unless the person stops to attack you, you can continue defence until law officials arrive to settle the rage.

Most importantly, be cautious of your defence. Be sure that it is justifiable and that you can be found reasonable to doing so. Be consistent that you are doing it to defend yourself and not to hurt back the aggressive driver.

Your defence should have evidence that will tell the jury that you were just merely protecting yourself. If you were hurt, you could claim for injury. You just need to have yourself seen by a medical practitioner and provide this evidence to your attorney so that he can present it to the driver’s legal representative who has caused you this injury or damage. Some also use their insurance claims if the damages are of high value or have caused the inability for you to work as normal or even the loss of life can be filed against the person. But if proven guilty, the person who inflicted you will have to pay the damages and losses that it has brought to you.

In general, if a driver is behaving rudely and you get irritated or your emotions are triggered, the best thing to do is to let them go. Be a respectful driver. This is a rule of thumb when you are a driver. Never take others too personal, talk about issues or incidents in a subtle way. Be courteous while on the road. Keep in mind that you would always want to arrive safely at your destination.

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