The Connection Between Rush Hour and Road Rage

The Connection Between Rush Hour and Road Rage

Experts have turned to Instagram to analyze driving habits, more specifically to analyze the connection between rush hour and road rage. And the results are not surprising. After analyzing almost 9,000 Instagram posts on road rage, the experts found that most drivers had the most negative comments related to traffic between 5 P.M. and 7 P.M. which is typically considered rush hour. [1]

Road rage and rush hour go hand in hand. Two peas in a very uncomfortable and aggressive pod. The connection between rush hour and road rage will not be surprising, but we still believe it’s necessary to discuss.

Therefore, it is important to recognize how these can affect your safety on the road and how to react to road rage hits you.

Aggressive Driving

As defined by the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, aggressive driving happens when a person has done a combination of offenses in moving traffic that put other people or their property in danger. What’s the difference between aggressive driving and road rage?

As legally defined, aggressive driving is considered a traffic offense, and it is usually accompanied by a ticket or fine. Road rage is actually considered a criminal offense as defined by “assault with a motor vehicle” with the precipitated intent to cause harm.

The connection between rush hour and road rage is therefore dangerous.

This seems like a subtle difference but it is an important one. If you were the victim of a road rage incident, you should ensure you follow the right steps. But that’s something we won’t get into here.

Road Rage

Road rage is a type of aggressive driving that is motivated by anger usually resulting from some perceived aggression or unwanted maneuver of another driver. As the AAA Foundation defines it, road rage is any type of unsafe driving movement done on purpose and with the ill intent or disregard for the safety of others.

You will realize that there is road rage going on when one or more of the following is true.

  • Cutting other drivers off.
  • Intentionally hitting one car with another.
  • Running the other driver off the road.
  • Physically assaulting or shooting other drivers or passengers.

Basically, road rage is caused by somebody driving under the influence of impaired emotions. 

Why Rush Hour and Road Rage Seems To Be Perfect for Each Other

Well, we’ve all probably been here once or twice before. Anybody can feel rage behind the wheel. So, anyone is capable of causing a road rage incident when triggered by a common factor. That is because anyone can take offense based on the activity of the other driver.

A driver’s emotions can be triggered by mental assumptions. But other factors will trigger road rage, which includes the following.

  • Pre-existing stress.
  • Feeling hard because you are already late.
  • Blaming other drivers for the time missed out.
  • Speeding – A driver that always races the clock and pushes other drivers out of the lane.
  • Weaving – Continuously changing lanes even if it means going the wrong direction.
  • Not yielding the right of way – Always placing others at great risk of serious injury or death.
  • Tailgating – Driving up behind another car, honking the horn, and flashing the lights.
  • Failure to signal – No time to signal because of frequent changing of lanes.
  • Honking often – Using the horn in anger and in response to another driver or just expressing his or her rage.
  • Lane blocking – Blocking a lane change on purpose causing other drivers to react ragefully.

Traffic congestion during rush hour takes your control away from how fast you can travel to your destination. No one wants to be late and so your frustrations build up. These unexpected delays add to the irritability of the driver. The driver’s anger gives a false sense of control that leads him or her to take greater risks. The compounded stresses from rush hour felt when drivers arrive at their destination, and drivers feel anxiety when arriving late for work or knowing they missed the school event of their child.

It’s just a perfect storm of a snowball effect.

Keeping It Under Control

Okay, so how you do avoid road rage during rush hour?

  • Avoid rushing to your destination.
  • Consider other alternate routes.
  • Avoid any type of distraction.
  • Maintain perspective, you can control how your commute feels.
  • Be courteous to other drivers and foster goodwill.
  • Don’t take it personally, in a month you won’t even remember this moment.
  • Avoid confrontations, and just keep positive.
  • Stay safe and do your best to drive safely.

You can avoid aggressive driving from escalating to road rage by keeping your cool. If you feel threatened by another driver, just don’t engage with them and try your best to be patient. What’s better is you may inform the police when a confrontation persists due to road rage.

Jordan Ellis

Jordan Ellis graduated from Florida Gulf Coast University in Fort Myers. She is a firm believer in making the roads safe for everyone. Fort Myers being such a heavily populated city during Snow-Bird season, she has seen many fatal car accidents due to aggressive driving. She is a very defensive driver and thinks everyone should know how to handle aggressive drivers and be safe.

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