I honestly don’t know how common it is in other places, but there is a phenomenon that is common in the US called road rage. Merriam-Webster defines road rage as “a motorist’s uncontrolled anger that is usually provoked by another motorist’s irritating act and is expressed in aggressive or violent behavior.“
The trigger can be nearly anything related to driving or riding in a car. For instance, someone might cut you off in traffic, turn or switch lanes without signaling, there may be a traffic jam or a person can pull into a parking spot you intended to use. All of these can and have triggered road rage, though most often, the intense emotion is totally irrational, as strong emotion usually is.
The resulting actions are also usually irrational and can include a vocal altercation, a physical fight, and even using the car as a battering ram against other cars or people. Naturally, these actions are illegal and a person can be fined or incarcerated if they take those actions.
Being totally honest, in the past, I’ve experienced road rage, both on the giving and receiving ends, though it has never come to blows and I’ve never used my car as a weapon.
This came to mind yesterday when I was driving my wife to an appointment. I was stopped, waiting to pull onto the main road. A person was driving up the road, too fast and not looking right or left. I waited for them to pass, then pulled into the road behind them. The driver almost immediately hit their brakes and pulled into a gas station parking lot, without using signals. They slowed down so fast that it was necessary for me to slam on my brakes to avoid hitting them. If I had hit them, it would have been my fault because it would have been a rear-end collision.
In years past, I would have pulled in behind the person and would have at least given them a piece of my mind. (Folks, I don’t have enough of a mind to spare any pieces.) Instead, though, I merely resumed our trip and spent some time calming my wife down. She was livid about the incident. I shrugged it off and just told her that the other driver was clearly in much more of a hurry to get to where they were going than we were. Then I offered a silent prayer for the other driver, that they would stay safe and not have an accident.
It occurred to me then, somewhat to my surprise, how much I’ve changed over the past several years. It wasn’t even a matter of self-control since I didn’t need to contain my anger. I didn’t feel any anger. Rather, I was more concerned about the well-being of the other driver. It might not sound like much, but that is a tremendous change over how I would have reacted as little as a decade ago. I attribute the change to studying the bible and trying hard to live by biblical principles. It isn’t always easy to do and I’m still working on it, but in this case, I never felt anger at all, so it appears to be working.
Have you ever experienced road rage?
I haven’t felt it, but I’ve been a victim of it