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ROAD RAGE AND AGGRESSIVE DRIVING

Leon James, Ph.D.

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The phrase "road rage" entered the English language around 1994 in London. The Oxford English Dictionary first started listing "road rage" in 1997.  It defines it as "a violent anger caused by the stress and frustration of driving in heavy traffic."

From the point of view of Driving Psychology, this definition is not fully accurate.  Road rage frustration and aggression is not caused by traffic, no matter how heavy.  Road rage is a learned cultural habit of retaliation when you feel like retaliating. It's a free choice we exercise. When we are frustrated in heavy traffic we have a choice of how we're going to respond. The types of responses available to us include

 

  • venting without retaliating
  • venting with retaliating
  • not venting, staying cool and objective
  • not venting, doing something else
  • etc.

It's up to us how we respond and it's up to us how we train ourselves to respond. Driving psychology teaches emotional intelligence for drivers. This is a skill we can learn with some practice behind the wheel. The rewards for learning this new way are tremendous. You insulate yourself from negative stress on highways.  You build up a positive highway community and you contribute to it. You are safe, happy, smart.  It's well worth it.

We invite  all of you to get in touch with your own DrDriving or driving conscience, and to experience the health and spiritual benefits of Supportive Driving (=the opposite of aggressive driving).

In my view "Road Rage" represents the culmination of an escalating sequence of punitive behaviors meted out from one driver to another. This Vigilante behavior has four degrees of escalating retaliation:

First Degree, a single gesture, curse, or grimace delivered as punishment.

Second Degree, repeated exchanges of the same, together with diminished awareness of other sensory input, plus impaired judgment.

Third Degree, harassing the other driver through high beams, tailgating, retarding the progress of his vehicle, edging him over, or abruptly stopping in front of him. I call this "Highway Madness".

Fourth Degree, intentionally injuring the other driver's vehicle or person. This is "Road Rage".

Dr. John Larson's Testimony to Congress


"Road rage is a habit acquired in childhood. Children are reared in a car culture that condones irate expressions as part of the normal wear and tear of driving. Once they enter a car, children notice that all of a sudden the rules have changed: It's O.K. to be mad, very upset, out of control, and use bad language that's ordinarily not allowed. By the time they get their driver's license, adolescents have assimilated years of road rage. The road rage habit can be unlearned, but it takes more than conventional Driver's Ed."

Dr. Leon James' Testimony to Congress

 

Author: Lance Deegan
Date: 1999/02/06
Forum: aus.bicycle

Road rage doesn't occur for no reason. It happens in response to someone doing something silly or even dangerous. For example, rude or incompetent driver dangerously cuts off another driver. The victim is angry and abuses the perpetrator. Result: the victim is accused of road rage. People who commit road rage are providing a valuable service to all of us in letting errant and dangerous drivers know that their conduct is unacceptable. We should be rewarding people accused of road rage for this valuable service. Their accusers should forthwith be sent to driver re-education camps or if the incident was bad enough, charged with dangerous driving.

This whole hysteria against road rage is a classic case of punishing the victim.


Road Closed After Drivers in California Behave Badly
New York Times, United States - Jul 22, 2007

July 22, 2007, Sunday By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS (NYT)
California highways have been shut down by wildfires, mudslides, earthquakes and police chases. And now road rage. Drivers inconvenienced by a road-widening project subjected construction workers to so much abuse -- death threats, BB gun shootings, a flying burrito -- that the state shut down California Highway 138 altogether. ...

Associated Press - July 20, 2007 3:13 PM ET

WRIGHTWOOD, Calif. (AP) - It was known as "Blood Alley" -- an accident-plagued stretch of Southern California highway.

Now it's becoming known for road rage -- aimed at construction workers.

State crews began widening the section of California Highway 138 near the town of Wrightwood last summer. It was shut down for most of the day. During rush hour, though, commuters got a bit of a break -- with traffic being allowed to flow one direction at a time behind escort vehicles.

For some, though, the situation proved intolerable. One man threatened to climb a water tower and shoot highway workers. Vandals tore down barricades, and construction equipment was stolen.

A driver was arrested last September and charged with assault after allegedly clipping a flagman with his vehicle. Construction workers have also had burritos thrown at them and been shot with B-Bs.

So, citing the continuing problems and the need to expand the construction zone, the state shut down the road entirely last month, until the work is finished.

Respecting road crews can save lives

July 24, 2007   Connie Schultz

Road construction crews are not our enemy.

Granted, they slow us down, order us around like a toddler's mama, and some think they're way too lackadaisical from our air-conditioned perches. None of that, though, justifies what happens when our rage hits the road.

Too many motorists regard reduced speed limits as somebody else's problem, which is turning out to be a problem for everyone.

Road Construction Rage

A slow driver when you're late for work, a construction zone that never seems to go away - we've all felt that road rage creep up at one time or another. But on one stretch of California Highway 138, north of Los Angeles, the outrage has reached a fever pitch. Drivers are taking it out on the road construction crew.

Some commuters are so angry they're attacking the construction crews.

"I have actually had someone throw a socket at me, and actually hit my car," said road worker Robert Bartlett.

Think that's bad? One worker was pelted with a burrito. And a woman was shot with a bb gun!

(...)

"Well I have been called names that I never knew existed," says Bartlett.

This highway had nearly 3,000 collisions in the years leading up to construction. The project was designed to make it safer - but didn't account for road rage.

"A gentleman came up to the closure and disobeyed the flagmen at the entrance, proceeded through and ended up running over one of the workers on scene," says Highway Patrolman Jeff Perez.

It got so bad, state officials said "forget it!" no more open lanes. No more escorts through construction.

"They want to get through real bad so we had to close the road down, because of the road rage," adds Hultquist.

So now commuters have to drive another half-hour around the construction.

(...)

CNN http://www.todaysthv.com/news/news.aspx?storyid=50568


Road Rage in the News from Goggle (August 2007)

Toddler hurt in road rage attack
NEWS.com.au, Australia - 2 hours ago
A TWO-year-old Perth girl suffered serious head wounds and needs plastic surgery after she was hit with a wheel lock in a road rage attack on her mother's ...
Surgery for toddler in road rage attack The Age
Road rage driver in court ABC Online
Road rage attack hospitalises WA toddler The Age
Melbourne Herald Sun - ABC Online
all 35 news articles »
Road rage driver in court
ABC Online, Australia - 12 hours ago
A 32-year-old truck driver charged over a road rage incident in Perth has been granted bail in the Midland Magistrates Court. The man is accused of using a ...
Don't crush 'morons'' cars, sell them NEWS.com.au
'Sell hoons' cars' - Premier Sunday Times.au
all 9 news articles »
Road rage killing accused held
Hindu, India - 10 hours ago
Narender honked, but Arvind apparently did not hear and kept walking on the road. An angry Narender then got into a fight with him. ...
 

Telegraph.co.uk
Marquess of Blandford admits 'road rage'
Telegraph.co.uk, United Kingdom - Aug 6, 2007
By Daily Telegraph Reporter The Marquess of Blandford admitted three driving charges yesterday including a "road rage" attack on a car. ...
Marquess of Blandford adds road rage to list of convictions Independent
Road rage puts blue-blooded bad boy back in court New Zealand Herald
Marquess admits road rage BBC News
Guardian Unlimited - Guardian Unlimited
all 57 news articles »
Road Construction Rage
Today's THV, AR - 2 hours ago
A slow driver when you're late for work, a construction zone that never seems to go away - we've all felt that road rage creep up at one time or another. ...
Angry California drivers take frustration out on construction crews ABC7Chicago.com
all 2 news articles »

2GB News
Brothers charged over road-rage that hurt toddler
The West Australian, Australia - 7 hours ago
A second man has been charged over a road rage incident during which a two-year-old girl was seriously injured. The girl is in a stable condition after ...
Man arrested over road rage attack on 2 year old IBN News
Toddler hurt in one of two road rage attacks The West Australian
Road rage attack injures toddler 2GB News
Sunday Times.au - Brisbane Times
all 6 news articles »
Truck driver guilty of road rage
Marlborough Express, New Zealand - 14 hours ago
Feelings of road rage became so violent for a Napier truck driver he threatened an elderly motorist with a baseball bat after getting frustrated by the ...
 
Tot hurt in road-rage attack
Sunday Times.au, Australia - 18 hours ago
A TWO-year-old child has been hospitalised after a road-rage attack on a car in Bellvue - one of two such incidents involving young children yesterday. ...
 
Road rage: man thrashed to death
Times of India, India - Aug 6, 2007
NEW DELHI: In another brutal case of road rage in the Capital, a pedestrian was beaten to death on Monday by a biker angered by the victim getting in his ...
 
Robert Rector: Road rage blog points finger at Angelenos
Pasadena Star-News, CA - 16 hours ago
Consider this jury duty for the road." While a Web site might not provide the raw animal satisfaction of laying on the horn, drilling some jerk with your ...
 
Road rage, cop spitter top police
Gladwin County Record, MI - 17 hours ago
GLADWIN — A Gladwin woman was arrested and lodged in the Gladwin County Jail Saturday after deliberately spooking a horse-drawn buggy. ...
 
2005 Road Rage Case Ends
WRBL, GA - 18 hours ago
Filing out of court Tuesday morning, the family of Kenneth Williams tried to hold their heads high. “It’s just been hard and, you know, I’m glad for closure ...
 
Jefferson County Man Shot In Alleged Road-Rage Incident
MyFox Saint Louis, MO - Aug 7, 2007
(AP) -- Authorities in Jefferson County are searching for a green dump truck whose driver allegedly shot the driver of a car in an apparent road-rage ...
 
JeffCo driver wounded in road-rage shooting
St. Louis Post-Dispatch,  United States - Aug 7, 2007
"We're investigating the shooting as a road-rage shooting," Boyer said at 9:30 am "We don't know exactly what we're going to have because we are just ...
 

CNN-IBN
Road rage again! Biker beats man to death in Delhi
CNN-IBN, India - Aug 7, 2007
New Delhi: Another life was lost to road rage on Capital’s streets on Monday. The incident took place at around 1530 hrs (IST) in the busy marketplace of ...
 
Police: Barber shooting may be connected to road rage
9NEWS.com, CO - Aug 6, 2007
Aurora Police said on Monday that the shooting may be connected with an apparent road rage incident. They released pictures of Powell's truck, a silver 1999 ...
 
Police Respond to Drive-Thru Road Rage
Kitsap Sun (Subscription),  United States - Aug 6, 2007
A drive-through flare-up at a Taco Bell turned into an assault Sunday evening. A 32-year-old Bremerton woman was sitting in her blue car with some friends ...
 
Road rage victim still fighting to survive
NJ Blog, New Jersey - Aug 6, 2007
MacGuire, 27, was injured on August 1 in a road-rage incident at Laurel Lake when she was struck and then run over by another driver. ...
 
Year of probation for Shrewsbury doctor in road rage
York Dispatch, PA - Aug 6, 2007
A Shrewsbury Township pediatrician who succumbed to road rage and waved a handgun at another driver must serve 12 months' probation as part of an agreement ...
 
Man in jail following road rage incident near Centralia
The Olympian, WA - Aug 6, 2007
A Puyallup man was booked into the Lewis County Jail for driving recklessly following an altercation with another driver on northbound Interstate 5 near ...
 
Police arrest man in fatal road rage wreck
Boston Herald, United States - Aug 3, 2007
By Renee Nadeau A Boston man has been arrested in connection with an early-morning road rage attack in Dorchester that killed one woman and injured two ...
 
One dead, three in critical condition following possible ’road ...
Boston Herald, United States - Aug 3, 2007
Police Captain James Claiborne told the Associated Press the road-rage incident involved two people who apparently knew each other. ...
 
Homicide charges filed in Dorchester road rage case
Boston Globe, United States - Aug 3, 2007
Police charged a 28-year-old Boston man with motor vehicle homicide today after what has been described as road rage on Blue Hill Avenue killed one woman ...
 
Ex-con charged in road-rage homicide
Boston Herald, United States - Aug 3, 2007
By O’Ryan Johnson A violent ex-con is accused of running a carload of women and children off the road, and causing a crash that killed a teenager and tossed ...
 
Police investigate Macquarie Pass road rage attack
Illawarra Mercury, Australia - Aug 5, 2007
By MICHELLE HOCTOR POLICE are investigating a road rage attack on a father and his 16-year-old son by a motorcyclist after an incident on the treacherous ...
 
One dead, two injured in road rage rollover
WOOD-TV, MI - Aug 4, 2007
COVERT TOWNSHIP -- One person has died and two others were injured when their vehicle rolled over during a road rage incident. It was around 11 am Wednesday ...
 
'Road rage' passenger pulls knife
BBC News, UK - Jul 31, 2007
Surrey Police said the "road rage" incident happened at traffic lights in Albert Road, Bagshot, on Thursday. The articulated lorry nearly collided with a ...
 
Road-rage accused's vile bleating
NEWS.com.au, Australia - Jul 31, 2007
By Rhett Watson HE is accused of a brutal and cowardly road rage attack on an 87-year-old Digger, but his girlfriend believes "half the Australian men would ...
 

Borneo Bulletin
Road rage couple detained
Borneo Bulletin, Brunei Darussalam - Aug 4, 2007
By Azlan Othman A husband and wife handcuffed and detained for alleged involvement in road rage. - AZLAN OTHMAN Police arrested a husband and wife on ...
 
Road rage for Gordon means win for Harvick
Long Beach Press-Telegram, CA - Aug 4, 2007
AP In the end, it was Kevin Harvick who celebrated the victory in Saturday's inaugural NASCAR Busch Series race in Canada. It was a controversial finish ...
 
Road rage: Drunk youths attack doctor
Times of India, India - Jul 30, 2007
PUNE: Road rage took an ugly turn on Saturday night as three intoxicated medical students tried to attack cardiologist Manoj Durairaj with a broken liquor ...
 
Move over motorists, angry bicyclists are all the rage
Oregon Daily Emerald, OR - Aug 5, 2007
Motorists may currently have a monopoly on road rage, but cyclists are gaining ground because road rage transcends transportation type and crosses lane ...
 
Rolly: Unseen road rage allowed?
Salt Lake Tribune, United States - Jul 29, 2007
She called dispatch later with Mr. Road Rage's license plate. But on traffic misdemeanors, state law says, with some exceptions, an officer must witness the ...
 
Road rage victim remains in coma
Bridgeton News,  United States - Aug 3, 2007
A 27-year-old Laurel Lake woman, the victim of an apparent road rage incident Wednesday, remained in critical condition Friday. Rosa MacGuire, who was 11 ...
 
Road Rage Couple Detained
Bru Direct, Brunei Darussalam - Aug 3, 2007
By Azlan Othman Bandar Seri Begawan - Police arrested a husband and wife on Thursday (August 2) who was allegedly involved in a road rage attack on two ...
 
Kiwi in road-rage bashing of veteran, 87
New Zealand Herald, New Zealand - Jul 29, 2007
SYDNEY - A New Zealander who allegedly admitted to police that he "was going to kill" an 87-year-old World War II veteran in a road-rage attack in Sydney ...
 
Retired officer took photos of road-rage scene
Louisville Courier-Journal, KY - Aug 4, 2007
... when Pickerill and Koenig got into an altercation at a four-way stop in the parking lot of the Kroger at Hurstbourne Parkway and Taylorsville Road. ...
 
Stewartstown man sentenced in road rage case
York Dispatch, PA - Aug 3, 2007
A Stewartstown-area man who committed road rage by assaulting another driver pleaded guilty yesterday in an agreement with prosecutors that forces him to ...
 
Road rage suspect took scene photos
Louisville Courier-Journal, KY - Aug 3, 2007
By Jason Riley After shooting Darren Pickerill in a road-rage incident June 3, retired police officer Richard Koenig took pictures of the scene with a ...
 
Family in road rage bat attack
ic SouthLondon.co.uk, United Kingdom - Jul 27, 2007
By Joshua Layton A CRAZED driver grabbed a cricket bat from his boot and launched a violent assault on another motorist in a terrifying road rage attack. ...
 
'Music In Cars Causes Road Rage'
Sky News, United Kingdom - Jul 26, 2007
Certain types of in-car music can lead to road rage, a new survey has revealed. As many as 65% of people reckoned music influenced their behaviour while ...
 
Road rage shooting nets man 4 months in county jail
Northwest Arkansas Times, AR - Aug 3, 2007
His friend Matt Wilson said the road rage incident was uncharacter istic of Waller. Waller’s mother, Darlene Stinson, said her son is trying to “ build his ...
 
New exempt tournaments all the rage
ESPN - 1 hour ago
Florida's 82-80 loss to Kansas in last year's Las Vegas Invitational was one of the few bumps in the road to the Gators' second consecutive national title. ...
 
Road Rage Victim Released From Hospital
WCCO, MN - Aug 3, 2007
(WCCO) A teen injured in a road rage accident has been released from the hospital after more than a month's stay. Alexander Schaenzer, 16, was released from ...
 
Hero doctors honored for saving road rage victim's life
KVOA.com, AZ - Aug 2, 2007
Two local doctors were honored Thursday afternoon for saving the life of a road rage shooting victim last month. It was June 29. The road rage shooting ...
 
Road-Rage Shooting Victim's Family To Speak
WLKY, KY - Aug 3, 2007
It’s been two months since what police called a “road rage” incident left Louisville resident Darren Pickerill in critical condition On Friday afternoon, ...
 
Bolton gets six years in prison for fatal road-rage incident
Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, AK - Aug 3, 2007
“The road rage thing never happened, unless it happened on Mr. Walters’ part,” Bolton said. A back seat passenger in the Geo flashed an obscene hand gesture ...
 
Road rage incident leads to arrest
Moorpark Acorn,  USA - Aug 2, 2007
"The incident is probably road rage-related because the Caltrans truck wasn't going as fast as the culprit wanted," said Detective Edwin Ilano of the ...
 
Kiwi charged in road rage incident
TVNZ, New Zealand - Jul 28, 2007
A man who allegedly admitted to police that he "was going to kill" an 87-year-old World War II veteran in a road rage attack has been granted bail. ...
 
Elderly man bashed in road-rage incident
ABC Online, Australia - Jul 26, 2007
A 33-year-old man is being questioned by police over a road rage incident in south-west Sydney yesterday. About 11:50am (AEST) an 87-year-old man was ...
 
Road rage attack on 87-year-old: man arrested
Sydney Morning Herald, Australia - Jul 26, 2007
Police have arrested a 33-year-old man over a road rage attack on an 87-year-old man in Sydney's southwest. Police say the arrested man is believed to be ...
 
'Road-rage solicitor threatens delivery man with knife'
Daily Mail, UK - Aug 3, 2007
... rage', prosecutor Alfred Weiss told the bench a lorry was delivering beer to the Escape wine bar at 9am and had created a bottleneck in a narrow road. ...
 
Man, 87, bashed in road rage attack
NEWS.com.au, Australia - Jul 26, 2007
AN 87-year-old man was repeatedly punched in the face by another driver in a road rage attack on Sydney's western outskirts. ...
 
Road-rage suspect’s bail now $500000
Press of Atlantic City, NJ - Aug 3, 2007
... Township roofer be held on $500000 cash-only bail for allegedly running over a pregnant woman in what police described as a grisly road-rage incident. ...
 
Ambo 'spat on in road rage incident'
Melbourne Herald Sun, Australia - Jul 27, 2007
AN ambulance officer has been spat on during a road rage attack in Sydney's inner-west, police say. The New South Wales Ambulance Service said two officers ...
 
Man charged over road-rage bashing of 87-year-old
NEWS.com.au, Australia - Jul 27, 2007
A MAN has been charged with bashing an 87-year-old driver during a road rage incident in Sydney's southwest. Police allege the 35-year-old man was the ...
 

Bostonist
Boston Blotter: Alleged Road Rage Crash on Blue Hill Avenue
Bostonist, MA - Aug 3, 2007
--A deadly car crash happened early this morning on Blue Hill Avenue. One person died, and three people, including a child and a baby, went to the hospital ...
 
Man charged over road rage attack
The Age, Australia - Jul 26, 2007
A 35-year-old man has been charged with bashing an 87-year-old man during a road rage incident in Sydney's south-west. Police allege the man was the driver ...
 
Teenager injured in road rage incident
Norwich Evening News, UK - Aug 3, 2007
A teenager suffered injuries to his arm following a road rage incident between the occupants of two cars. The altercation in Westlegate happened between ...
 
Road rage in Volusia leads to arrest
Orlando Sentinel, FL - Aug 2, 2007
Because he didn’t, Volusia County deputy sheriffs said, a man involved in a road-rage incident Wednesday in the Lake Ashby area north of Osteen not only was ...
 
Road Rage Erupts In Gunfire
Fort Smith Times Record, AR - Aug 3, 2007
The man said he was driving east on Rogers when he noticed an older maroon sports utility vehicle swerving all over the road. ...
 
Arrest is made in road-rage shooting
Detroit Free Press, United States - Jul 26, 2007
BY AMBER HUNT After a month on the lam, the woman accused of shooting and killing an innocent bystander in front of his 4-year-old nephew after a road-rage ...
 
Surgeons honored for saving road rage victim
Tucson Citizen, AZ - Aug 2, 2007
... today because two University Medical Center surgeons stopped to help him after the unarmed man was shot in the chest in an apparent road rage incident. ...
 
Man, 87, punched in road rage attack
Sydney Morning Herald, Australia - Jul 26, 2007
The 87-year-old man was driving his white Mitsubishi sedan along Appin Road, about 11:50 yesterday morning, when it bumped into another vehicle near the ...
 
Police Investigate Possible Road Rage Incidents
KHBS/KHOG 40/29, AR - Aug 1, 2007
FORT SMITH, Ark. -- Fort Smith police spent the lunch hour Wednesday investigating a case of road rage on the city's busiest street. ...
 
Willis man arrested in road-rage incident
Houston Chronicle, United States - Jul 23, 2007
CONROE — A Willis man was arrested Monday on a charge of deadly conduct after he allegedly shot at a motorist on Interstate 45 in apparent road rage. ...
 
Three injured in road rage rollover
WOOD-TV, MI - Aug 2, 2007
COVERT TOWNSHIP -- Three people were injured, one critically, when their vehicle rolled over during a road rage incident. It was around 11 am Wednesday when ...
 
Willis man arrested after alleged road rage shooting
Houston Chronicle, United States - Jul 23, 2007
... CONROE — A Willis man was arrested Monday on a charge of deadly conduct after he allegedly shot at a motorist on Interstate 45 in apparent road rage. ...
 
Drivers fear road rage attack more than accident
Scotsman, United Kingdom - Jul 22, 2007
DRIVERS are as worried about becoming a victim of road rage as they are of having a car accident. Road rage and accidents top the list of driving phobias in ...
 
Disturbing trend appears all the rage
Times Online, UK - Jul 27, 2007
Type the words “road rage” into any search engine and the number of cases worldwide is staggering. It is a social phenomenon that seems to have left no ...
 
Road rage closes California highway
Telegraph.co.uk, United Kingdom - Jul 22, 2007
By Catherine Elsworth in Los Angeles A highway in California has been shut down because of road rage. Motorists inconvenienced by a road-widening project ...
 
Road rage at Laurel Lake bad
Bridgeton News,  United States - Aug 1, 2007
What started out as a case of road rage ended in a Laurel Lake woman being struck and critically injured early Wednesday morning. According to Sgt. Al Della ...
 
Road Rage Leaves Driver Bloodied, Ready To Fight
NBC5.com, IL - Aug 1, 2007
CHICAGO -- What started with Jeff Goza accidentally cutting off another driver in rush hour traffic, ended in a bizarre case of road rage that saw a car ...
 
Road rage prompts shutdown of Calif. highway under repair
Chicago Sun-Times, United States - Jul 22, 2007
Add one more hazard: road rage. Drivers inconvenienced by a road-widening project subjected construction workers to so much abuse -- including death threats ...
 
Road Work Rage Closes Calif. Highway
ABC News - Jul 21, 2007
Add one more emergency to the list: road rage. Drivers inconvenienced by a road-widening project subjected construction workers to so much abuse _death ...
 
Road Rage Erupts In Gunfire
Fort Smith Times Record, AR - Aug 2, 2007
... looks for shell casings Wednesday at the Albert Pike entrance to Green Pointe Shopping Center after a road rage incident erupted into gunfire. ...
 
Arraignment set for Laurel Lake 'road rage' incident
NJ.com, NJ - Aug 2, 2007
By MATT DUNN BRIDGETON -- An arraignment is scheduled today in the case of an apparent road rage incident early Wednesday morning at Laurel Lake. ...
 
Road rage deal set
MLive.com, MI - Jul 23, 2007
By Paul Janczewski A Swartz Creek man charged with killing a Durand man in a June 2006 road rage incident has pleaded no contest to reduced charges. ...
 
Road Rage Marquess Pleads Guilty
Sky News, United Kingdom - Aug 6, 2007
The Marquess of Blandford has pleaded guilty at Oxford Crown Court to a road rage attack on another driver's car. Social bookmarking allows users to save ...
 

NBC6.net
Police: Road Rage Responsible For 112 Crash
NBC6.net, FL - Aug 1, 2007
MIAMI -- Police said road rage might be to blame for a crash on State Road 112 Wednesday morning that left a woman hospitalized. ...
 
Road rage shuts down Hwy. 138
San Jose Mercury News,  USA - Jul 21, 2007
Add one more hazard to the list: road rage. Drivers inconvenienced by a road-widening project in a rugged stretch between San Bernardino and Palmdale ...
 
Suburban Driver Victim of Seemingly Endless Road Rage
WBBM780, Chicago - Aug 1, 2007
GURNEE, Ill. (WBBM) -- A suburban truck driver says he was the victim of a road-rage incident... that didn't end when the pursuing driver crashed his car. ...
 
Road rage a multi-dimensional behavioural disorder
Hindu, India - Jul 17, 2007
Defined broadly as “violent behaviour by an automobile driver that may lead to unsafe driving conditions”, road rage is considered by most psychiatrists to ...
 
Police: Road Rage Shooting Suspect Wanted
KOLD-TV, AZ - Aug 1, 2007
What started literally as a bump in the road nearly turned into murder. That's what happened when two vehicles ran into each other and one of the drivers ...
 
Road Work Rage Closes Socal Highway
Guardian Unlimited, UK - Jul 20, 2007
Add one more emergency to the list: road rage. Drivers inconvenienced by a road-widening project subjected construction workers to so much abuse - including ...
 

CTV.ca
Road rage over construction shuts Calif. highway
CTV.ca, Canada - Jul 20, 2007
Add one more hazard to the list: road rage. Drivers inconvenienced by a road-widening project subjected construction workers to so much abuse -- including ...
 
HPD: Stabbing the result of robbery, not road rage
Houston Chronicle, United States - Jul 20, 2007
By KEVIN MORAN What had been reported as a road-rage stabbing after a car wreck early today turned out to be an armed robbery after which the three fleeing ...
 
Road Rage?
Southport Visiter, UK - Aug 2, 2007
by Gary Stewart, Ormskirk Advertiser THE public are being asked their views over a proposed £37million Ormskirk bypass – but already angry opposition is ...
 
Choir director won't go to jail for road rage
Detroit Free Press, United States - Jul 18, 2007
... one year of probation, and community service but spared jail time for a misdemeanor assault conviction stemming from a 2006 road rage incident. ...
 
'Road rage' incident investigated
Whitehaven News, UK - Aug 1, 2007
POLICE are appealing for witnesses after a driver allegedly assaulted another motorist in a road rage attack after their cars had crashed. ...
 
Bikers thrash motorist, try to throw him off flyover
Hindustan Times, India - 20 hours ago
In yet another case of brazen road rage, a group of drunks on motorcycles pulled a man out of his car, thrashed him mercilessly and threatened to throw him ...
 
Alonso and Massa in road rage
News24, South Africa - Jul 22, 2007
Nurburgring, Germany - Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa were involved in a heated exchange after the Spaniard dramatically won the European Grand Prix on ...
 
Text: Road Rage On The Rise
MyFox Saint Louis, MO - Jul 30, 2007
Two adult men on Washington Avenue in a serious case of road rage, caught by Fox 2 cameras. Is construction, congestion, or the heat causing tempers to ...
 
Shot fired in Sydney road rage incident
Sydney Morning Herald, Australia - Jul 15, 2007
Police are investigating a road rage incident in Sydney's south-west during which a shot was fired at a man's car. The gun was allegedly fired during the ...
 

Techtree.com
GTA 4: A look into Liberty City
Techtree.com, India - Aug 7, 2007
GTA - the series, enables a player to be a hard-core criminal who can display road-rage, kill civilians, deal in drugs, steal any car that he likes, ...
 
Road rage: motorist thrashed to death in Delhi
Hindu, India - Jul 17, 2007
New Delhi, July 17 (PTI): A man was allegedly beaten to death by some persons here in a case of road rage in the capital, police said today. ...
 
Shot fired in Sydney road rage spat
Sydney Morning Herald, Australia - Jul 16, 2007
Police are appealing for witnesses who saw a Sydney road rage incident turn into a shooting. One man fired shots into another car in Punchbowl yesterdayat ...
 
Man thrashed to death in road rage
Times of India, India - Jul 17, 2007
NEW DELHI: In an incident of road rage that left the city shocked, a 35-year-old man was beaten to death, his head crushed by a concrete flower pot ...
 

NDTV.com
Road rage claims life in Delhi
NDTV.com, India - Jul 17, 2007
Delhi was witness to a fatal road rage incident on Monday night when a Santro car hit a motorcycle. The incident happened in Saket, a South Delhi colony. ...
 

New York Times
New York Up Close Elderly Road Rage Over Transit for the Disabled
New York Times, United States - Jul 21, 2007
By JENNIFER BLEYER It began four years ago when Florence Chasin’s 91-year-old husband grew so frail that a strong gust of wind would threaten to blow him ...
 

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What is Driving with emotional intelligence?

Driver Competence Skills

Emotionally Intelligent
Thinking

Not
Emotionally Intelligent

1. Focusing on self vs. blaming others or the situation "I’m feeling very impatient today. Everything seems to tick me off." "This traffic is impossibly slow. What’s wrong with these jerks. They’re driving like idiots."
2. Understanding how feelings and thoughts act together "I feel angry, scared, outraged when I think about what could have happened."

"I’m angry, scared, outraged. How can they do this to me."
3. Realizing that anger is something we choose vs. thinking it is provoked "I make myself so mad when they do that." "They make me so mad when they do that."
4. Being concerned about consequences vs. giving in to impulse "If I respond to this provocation I lose control over the situation. It’s not worth it." "I just want to give this driver a piece of my mind. I just want him to know how I feel."
5. Showing respect for others and their rights vs. thinking only of oneself
"I wish there was no traffic but it’s not up to me. These people have to get to their destination too."

"They better stay out of my way. I’m in no mood for putting up with them. Out of my way folks."
6. Accepting traffic as collective team work vs. seeing it as individual competition "I try to keep pace with the traffic realizing that my movements can slow others down—like switching lanes to try to get ahead."
"Driving is about getting ahead. I get a jolt out of beating a red light or finding the fastest lane. It’s me vs. everybody else."
7. Recognizing the diversity of drivers and their needs and styles vs. blaming them for what they choose to do "I need to be extra careful around drivers using a hand held cellular phone since they may be distracted."
"How can they be so stupid? They’re talking on the phone instead of paying attention to the road."
8. Practicing positive role models vs. negative "This driver is going slower than my desires. Now I can practice the art of patience and respect for the next few minutes."
"Come on, buddy, speed up or I’ll be on your tail. Go, go. What’s wrong with you. There’s no one ahead."
9.  Learning to inhibit the impulse to criticize by developing a sense of driving humor "I’m angry, I’m mad
Therefore I’ll act calm, I’ll smile and not compete.  Already I feel better.  Be my guest, enter ahead."
"I can’t stand all these idiots on the road. They slow down when they should speed up. They gawk, they crawl, anything but drive."
10. Taking driving seriously by becoming aware of one’s mistakes and correcting them "I monitor myself as a driver and keep a driving log of my mistakes. I think it’s important to include thoughts and feelings, not just the overt acts." "I’m an excellent driver, assertive and competent, with a clean accident record—just a few tickets here and there."

 

DRIVING WITH EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE

 

Name

Symptoms

Remedy

 

1

 

Obsessing about slow traffic

"At this rate we’ll never get there" , "I feel like I’m going backwards" , "Now I’m stuck behind this slow driver" etc. Leave earlier; Give up getting there on time; Distract yourself with radio or music; Admire the scenery; Practice yoga breathing

 

2

 

Feeling combative with self-righteous indignation

"This jerk just cut me off—gotta give him a piece of my mind" , "I don’t deserve to be pushed around" , "Nobody gives me the finger and gets away with it" "Nobody should fool with me and get away with it"; etc. Make funny animal sounds; Make up some possible excuses for that driver; Think about your parents and children who might do the same thing; Think about being a saint

 

3

 

Feeling excessively competitive

"Darn, that guy made the light and I didn’t" , "How come that lane is faster than this one" , "Those pedestrians better watch out—I’m coming through" , etc. Tell yourself it’s just a habit from childhood to feel anxious about not winning, or being left behind; Remind yourself it feels good to be civil and helpful
 

4

 

Being over-critical

"Look at that idiot who forgets to turn off his signal" , "I can’t stand it the way he slows down and speeds up, slows down and speeds up" , "How can he pay attention to the road if he’s babbling on the phone" Tell yourself it’s human to make mistakes; Recall to yourself your own mistakes; Remind yourself that patience is a virtue; Try to maneuver your car away from that car
 

5

 

Love of risk taking

"I like to go fast, but I’m careful" , "I can make this light if I speed up" , "I can squeeze into that opening if I time it right" , "I can insult that driver ‘cause I can get away fast" , etc. Think of your loved ones and how they would feel if something happened to you; Tell yourself you prefer to be a mature and prudent person

Getting a Grip on Anger or Loosening the Grip of Anger

 
LEVEL OF EMOTION

Cultural Personality Habit

(with built in resistance to change)

Leads to these consequences

Driving Personality Makeover:
installing de-escalation habits

(see lifelong AWM within
QDC support groups)

1
ANNOYANCE

[feeling inconvenienced by  drivers, cyclists, pedestrians, legislators, passengers, law enforcement, road crews, etc.]

impulse to feel resentful

[berating, name calling, insulting, ridiculing, complaining, rushing, breaking traffic rules, driving aggressively, etc.]

or lose self-esteem and be a wimp

*impatience
*inattentiveness or distraction
*taking excessive risks
*driving while drowsy
*feeling a sense of entitlement
*feeling competitive
*obscene expressions
*category 1 offenses (breaking speed limits, going through red, not signaling or yielding, weaving, taking too long, speeding up to yellow)
 

installing supportive driving habits such as situational awareness, attitude of latitude, civility, teamwork mentality, cooperation

2
ANGER

[feeling endangered, thwarted, coerced, insulted, manipulated, ignored, etc.]

impulse to feel indignant or punitive

[punishing, retaliating, rectifying, venting, eye for eye, self-righteous indignation, feeling of superiority]

or lose control and let chaos reign


*power struggle
*gaining the upper hand
*territorial fights
*hostility
*cynicism
*disrespect
*intolerance
*blocking the only lane--not pulling over
*category 2 offenses (tailgating, cutting off, blocking passing lane, braking suddenly or   flashing brights to retaliate)

installing emotional intelligence habits through scenario analysis of choice points to retain control of self and situation
RAGE

[feeling injured, invaded,  dehumanized, delusional, attacked, etc.]

impulse to feel murderous

[killing, ramming, shooting, beating, tearing down]

or be destroyed

*driving recklessly
*engaging in a duel
*giving a break job
*running someone off the road
*running down pedestrians
*bumping bicyclists
*acts of  desperation
*category 3 offenses (assault, battery, vehicular homicide, attempted murder)

installing a supportive driving philosophy that includes social responsibility and lifelong training

based on our book ROAD RAGE AND AGGRESSIVE DRIVING

DEFINING THE COMPONENTS OF ROAD RAGE AND AGGRESSIVE DRIVING

Transforming Negative to Positive

LEVEL OF EMOTION CULTURALLY
NEGATIVE HABITS
CULTURALLY
POSITIVE HABITS
 

1

COMPETITIVE DRIVING
leads to
ANNOYANCE
&
STRESS

VS.

SUPPORTIVE DRIVING
leads to
CALM
&
SATISFACTION

*feeling insulted and insulting others
*feeling competitive
*practicing selfism
*egocentrism
*acting with a defensive mentality
*expressing pessimism
*showing intolerance or being over-critical
*denigrating others
*involved in put-down symbolism (or deprecating others)
*feeling ignored
*being contentious
*viewing traffic as individual competition
*holding on to a sense of entitlement (or "I have the right to do what I want")
*thrill-seeking or looking for excitement
*insisting on driving at your level of control
*me first mentality
*individual focus vs. focus on group
*hating diversity
*self-serving bias
*acting with civility
*being optimistic
*being tolerant
*showing obedience to legitimate authority
*viewing traffic as teamwork
*being conscientious
*accommodating to diversity
*being attentive
*accommodating
*feeling supportive
*acting cooperatively
*acting predictably
*being facilitative (or the "Be my guest" attitude)
*practicing  lifelong driving self-improvement activities (QDCs)
 

2

ANGRY
DRIVING
leads to
HOSTILITY
&
FEAR

VS.

EMOTIONALLY INTELLIGENT DRIVING
leads to
COMPASSION
&
SECURITY

*being vindictive or cruel to others
*demeaning others
*being over-sensitive to provocation
*being prone to territorial fights or turf wars
*acting with ritual opposition
*following the law of the jungle
*feeling wronged
*feeling thwarted
*feeling being taken advantage of
*acting with habitual hostility
*maintaining an adversarial attitude
*being cynical (or expecting the worst of others)
*dehumanizing others
*prone to vehemence (or insistence)
*self-righteous criticizing (or indignation)
*accepting aggressiveness
*being coercive or wanting to enforce domination
*showing mutual disrespect
*approving of retaliation
*continues in a chain of errors while feeling pushed by the other
*approving of mental violence (or " just thinking about it")
*approving of vengeance
*insisting on punishing or retaliating
*practicing road vigilantism
* maintaining a status-seeking mentality
*suffering an erosion of inhibitions to violence
*giving in to social pressure to take excessive risks (party atmosphere in car)
*exercising freedom of choice
*showing mutual respect
*acting with compassion
*fair-minded
*making emotionally intelligent choices
*exercising self-restraint and self-control
*being able to turn down a challenge
*backs out of errors
*willing to forgive and forget
*refusing to demean others
*ignoring provocations
*recognizing that roads are for a wide  diversity of people
*preferring a friendly atmosphere
*considerate of the legitimate rights of others
*disapproves of retaliation or vengeance
*rejects aggressiveness
*retains control of self and situation
3

ROAD RAGE
DRIVING
leads to
VIOLENCE
&
BREAKDOWN

VS.

RESPONSIBLE
DRIVING
leads to
ALOHA SPIRIT
&
COMMUNITY
BUILDING

*uncaring and willing to hurt others
*feeling alone and disconnected
*feeling alienated
*acting delusional or from fantasy
*acting on a lust for control
*acting recklessly with disregard for all others
*feeling depressed and worthless
*feeling violent or enraged and seeking an excuse to express it
*violentization through choice
*feeling depersonalized
*attached to reciprocal response leading to a chain of escalation
*general acceptance of violent behavior as normal
*excited by violent behavior
*failure oriented and acting self-destructively
*knee jerk desperateness
*refusing to back down no matter what
*feeling unable to stop
*reacting out of proportion to a provocation
*being socially responsible
*feeling connected in traffic (belonging)
*viewing traffic as teamwork
*acting from conscience
*choosing transformation to denial
*acting with integrity
*acting with dependability
*feeling interdependent
*success oriented and acting with prudence
*taking driving seriously
*willing to go through a driving personality makeover
*practicing lifelong self-improvement activities (QDCs)
*striving to be a better driver and person
*willing to come out swinging positive

based on our book ROAD RAGE AND AGGRESSIVE DRIVING

 

Drivers who do not consider these behaviors to be aggressive:

NATIONAL
percent

Making obscene gestures

14

Passing on the shoulder

17

Failing to yield to merging traffic

17

Pulling into a parking space
and making others wait for you

20

Flashing high beams at other drivers

32

Waiting until the last minute to merge
(not waiting in line)

40

Speeding up to a yellow light

42

Changing lanes without signaling

42

Blocking the left (passing) lane

45

Honking the horn

45

Going at least 10 mph over speed limit

53

Driving too slow
(at least 10 mph below speed limit)

74

Tailgating

12

DrDriving's HINTS on How to

Arrive alive || Drive smart  || Stay healthy || Be supportive || Help speed up traffic flow ||  Be a good role model to your kids  ||   Stay in control of the situation || Stay cool and maintain your composure

Slowly count to ten While you force yourself to count slowly, your adrenaline in the blood goes back down to normal levels.  Take deep breaths as you do this.
Forgive and forget Think about the people who are waiting for you to arrive and how you don't want to disappoint them.  Tell yourself it's just not worth the hassle.
Make funny noises Laughter not only interrupts your negative thinking, it unloads the stress.  Try animal sounds or any nonsense noise--really get into it.
Use the Castanza Technique When you're in a bad mood, act the opposite of what you feel like.  It worked for George on Seinfeld--remember that episode?
Act as-if Do your courtesy waves and put on a pleasant face.  The way you drive is contagious.  You're influencing others' behavior, not by retaliating, but by peacemaking.
Shrink your emotional territory Develop an attitude of latitude. Think of positive reasons why drivers do things that annoy you. Perhaps they're sick or confused.  Maybe they're rushing to the bathroom. Maybe they just got some bad news. Maybe...
Come out swinging positive Don't be rude to the rude. Seize control by defusing anger. Apologize, don't argue, be sympathetic. Don't challenge anything. Go out of your way to appear friendly and peaceful.
Drive with emotional intelligence It's intelligent to choose positive explanations, rather than negative because they are less disturbing, more community oriented, less alienating, and ultimately more satisfying than the "you stupid clown" approach.
Commit yourself to a Lifelong Program of Driver Self-improvement
Keep a Driving Log or Diary and make appropriate entries after each trip. Or, you can record yourself while driving, speaking your thoughts aloud.  What a revelation when you listen to it later!  It's a wake-up call to a driving personality makeover.

 

Emotional Intelligence

LEVEL

State
of

FEELINGS

Sequence

of

THOUGHTS

Type

of

ACTIONS

 

1

 

Oppositional

 

Irrational

selfish, reckless, impulsive and hostile; constantly expresses criticisms; feels insulted and insecure

 

2

 

Defensive

 

Logical

Suspicious, wary and competitive but prudent and restrained; expresses worries and complaints

 

3

 

Supportive

 

Prosocial

helpful and friendly; gives others the benefit of the doubt; expresses enjoyment and optimism

based on our book ROAD RAGE AND AGGRESSIVE DRIVING

peaceful?

NEGATIVE & ANTI-SOCIAL

ORIENTATION

POSITIVE & PROSOCIAL

ORIENTATION

Focus on blaming others and retaliating

Focus on self and how to cope

"They're bone heads!" "I'm feeling very impatient today!"
"How can they do this to me!" "I'm scared and angry!"
"They make me so mad when they do this!" "I make myself so mad when they do this."
"I just want him to know how I feel!" "It's not worth it."
"They better stay out of my way!" "I need to recognize that everybody has to get to their destination."
"How can they be so stupid talking on the phone while driving!" "I need to be extra careful around these drivers."

The transformation from negative and aggressive driving to positive and supportive driving is illustrated by the driver competence skills in the chart below. The oppositional driving mode is a negative mental quagmire while the positive driving mode is emotionally intelligent because motorists exert rational self-control. The actual words in these examples may not fit your own style of thinking-to-yourself, but try to figure out what each example stands for, and think of the words you would use in that frame of mind.

Driver Competence Skills

NEGATIVE DRIVING

POSITIVE DRIVING

Your Driving

Focus on Positive Roles vs. Negative Roles

Emotionally Challenged

Emotionally Intelligent

Add your own words.

1. Focus on self vs. blaming others or the situation "This traffic is impossibly slow. What’s wrong with these fools. They’re driving like nutcases." "I’m feeling very impatient today. Everything seems to tick me off."  
2. Understanding how feelings and thoughts act together "I’m angry, scared, outraged. How can they do this to me." "I feel angry, scared, outraged when I think about what could have happened."  
3. Realizing that anger is something we choose vs. believing it is provoked "They make me so mad when they do that." "I make myself so mad when they do that."  
4. Being concerned about consequences vs. giving in to impulse "I just want to give this driver a piece of my mind. I just want him to know how I feel." "If I respond to this provocation I lose control over the situation. It’s not worth it."  
5. Showing respect for others and their rights vs. thinking only of oneself "They better stay out of my way. I’m in no mood for putting up with them. Out of my way folks." "I wish there was no traffic but it’s not up to me. These people have to get to their destination too."  
6. Accepting traffic as collective team work vs. seeing it as individual competition "Driving is about getting ahead. I get a jolt out of beating a red light or finding the fastest lane. It’s me vs. everybody else." "I try to keep pace with the traffic realizing that my movements can slow others down—like switching lanes to try to get ahead."  
7. Recognizing the diversity of drivers and their needs and styles vs. blaming them for what they choose to do "How can they be so stupid? They’re talking on the phone instead of paying attention to the road." "I need to be extra careful around drivers using hand held cellular phones since they may be distracted."  
8. Practicing positive role models vs. negative "Come on, buddy, speed up or I’ll be on your tail. Go, go. What’s wrong with you. There’s no one ahead." "This driver is going slower than I'd like. Now I can practice the art of patience and respect for the next few minutes."  
9. Learning to inhibit the impulse to criticize by developing a sense of driving humor "I can’t stand all these bozos on the road. They slow down when they should speed up. They gawk, they crawl, anything but drive." "I’m angry, I’m mad. Therefore I’ll act calm, I’ll smile and not compete. Already I feel better. Be my guest, enter ahead."  
10. Taking driving seriously by becoming aware of mistakes and correcting them "I’m an excellent driver, assertive and competent, with a clean accident record with hardly any tickets." "I monitor myself as a driver and keep a driving log of my mistakes. I think it’s important to include thoughts and feelings, not just the overt."  

based on our book ROAD RAGE AND AGGRESSIVE DRIVING

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DRIVING WITH EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE
Transforming Oppositional Symptoms into Intelligent Remedies

Oppositional Symptoms

Statements We Say In Traffic

Emotionally Intelligent Remedies

 

1

 

Obsessing about slow traffic

  • "At this rate we’ll never get there."
  • "I feel like I’m going backwards."
  • "Now I’m stuck behind this slow driver."
  • "What a royal waste of time--I can't stand this waiting."
  • Etc.
  • Leave earlier.
  • Give up getting there on time.
  • Distract yourself with calming talk radio or music.
  • Admire the scenery.
  • Practice deep breathing.
  • Etc.

 

 

2

 

 

Feeling combative with self-righteous indignation

  • "This fiend just cut me off, gotta give him a piece of my mind."
  • "I don’t deserve to be pushed around."
  • "Nobody gives me the finger and gets away with it"
  • "Nobody messes with me and gets away with it"
  • Etc.
  • Make funny animal sounds to yourself.
  • Make up some possible excuses for that driver.
  • Think about your parents and children who might do the same thing.
  • Think about being an angel.
  • Etc.

 

3

 

Feeling excessively competitive

  • "Darn, that guy made the light and I didn’t"
  • "How come that lane is faster than this one?"
  • "Those pedestrians better watch out 'cause I’m coming through."
  • Etc.
  • Tell yourself it’s just a habit from childhood to feel anxious about not winning, or being left behind.
  • Remind yourself it feels good to be civil and helpful.
  • Etc.
 

 

4

 

 

Being over-critical

  • "Look at that idiot who forgets to turn off his signal"
  • "I can’t stand it the way he slows down and speeds up, slows down and speeds up"
  • "He can't pay attention to the road if he’s babbling on the phone."
  • Etc.
  • Tell yourself it’s human to make mistakes.
  • Recall your own mistakes.
  • Remind yourself that patience is a virtue.
  • Try to maneuver away from that car.
  • Etc.
 

 

5

 

 

Love of risk taking

  • "I like to go fast, but I’m careful."
  • "I can make this light if I speed up."
  • "I can squeeze into that opening if I time it right."
  • "I can insult that driver ‘cause I can get away fast"
  • "I feel the need for speed!"
  • Etc.
  • Think of how you would feel if you did something to hurt someone.
  • Think of how your loved ones would feel if something happened to you.
  • Tell yourself you prefer to be a mature and prudent person.
  • Etc.

based on our book ROAD RAGE AND AGGRESSIVE DRIVING

 

Scenario Analysis Exercises


One way to begin is to examine in detail the thought sequence involved in a road rage exchange, especially to identify the decision points of the protagonists--where they could still back out of the sequence of choices leading to the tragic end point. The following Traffic Emotions Education (TEE) card illustrates the critical thinking process with a real-world road rage event.

TEE Card No.30C6 Scenario Analysis--Newspaper Stories:
Road Rage Shoot Out in Fender Bender

Instructions: First read the entire news story in the left hand column. Then read the comments on the right, going back to the story to examine the elements being discussed.
Road Rage Shoot Out

A hit-and-run "gone terribly wrong" was how sheriff's officials described a fender-bender between two pickup truck drivers that ended in a shootout Thursday night in northeast El Paso County. One man was killed. The other remained at Penrose Hospital on Friday with a gunshot wound to the abdomen.

The shooting stemmed from a crash that occurred about 7:30 p.m. Thursday on Powers Boulevard just south of Stetson Hills Boulevard. The man in the red Dodge Dakota was "driving erratically" when he bumped Bispo's blue Ford pickup, Hilte said.

The Dakota driver then wheeled around Bispo's Ford and sped north on Powers Boulevard, Hilte said. Bispo, a civilian employee at Fort Carson, followed as the driver turned east onto Dublin Boulevard and parked on the shoulder.

"He pulled over about a car length back, and it just went bad from there," Hilte said. Both men got out of their vehicles wielding handguns.

Words were exchanged.

 

 

These two drivers got into a road dispute, the result: one is dead, the other was wounded and faces serious charges. It has happened hundreds of times this year, where one driver ends up dead, while another is facing homicide charges. The one who killed had not planned to do so. Could this happen to you? The fact is that most of the "killers" in road rage disputes were taken by surprise at the ferocity of their own over-reaction.

Notice these elements in the newspaper story on the left:

The first driver was driving in an alcohol impaired state. He chose to do so, which led to the next event.

The first driver left the scene of the crash after causing a fender bender with a second car. He chose to do so, which led to the next event.

The second driver went in pursuit to obtain the license number. Pursuing another vehicle is dangerous and illegal. But the driver had a second motive: to confront the fleeing driver. Evidence: he did not just get the license number. He chose to stop, when he could have just driven off after getting the plate number, which led to the next event.

The first driver chose to stop. This may have been an attempt to confront the second driver, or something else. We do not know. The second driver saw this, and he did not know either.

The second driver chose to stop behind the first car. This then set up the next event. If he had not stopped, or if he had stopped some distance away, the first driver may still be alive.

The second driver chose to approach the first car, or at least, chose to exit his car, which led to the next event. He could have stayed in the truck and waited for police to arrive.

Shots were fired.

Blood was spilled. Bispo's girlfriend was still on the phone with 911 dispatchers when the shooting started. On-scene investigators found about a dozen shell casings - two from the Dakota driver's revolver, the rest from Bispo's 9 mm semiautomatic pistol.

While enlisted in the Army, Bispo qualified as a sharpshooter with an M-1 rifle, according to military records. The Dakota driver died of a gunshot wound to the chest shortly after the shooting. Neither driver was licensed to carry a concealed weapon.

The second driver also chose to exit his car with a weapon. This weapon was visible to the first driver, which led to the next event.

The first driver chose to shoot, which led to the next event. If he had not started to shoot, he might still be alive today.

The second driver chose to shoot back. The first driver was hit and died.

In these 9 steps, each driver had several opportunities to back down and to choose not make the next move that led to disaster. Is this a road rage case? Yes, because it involves two drivers making a series of escalating moves that lead to a violent exchange, when either one of them could have broken the deadly dual by not going along with the next violent step in the series of decisions to act. Remember: it takes an unbroken series of links in a long chain of bad choices to get into a road rage shoot out.

based on our book ROAD RAGE AND AGGRESSIVE DRIVING

 

Exercise: Scenario Analysis to Develop Critical Thinking

Chain of steps

The Chart below identifies the specific chain of steps that together make up this road rage incident. There are 13 bad driving behaviors these two teenagers performed in sequence, as evidenced by their own description of the events (middle column). Your comments should answer two questions: (a) how does each step contribute to their trouble (focus on the bold words in column 2), and (b) how could they have backed out of it at each step by doing something else. Have your friends or family members also complete the exercise, then get together to compare and discuss everybody's solutions. Doing this exercise will strengthen your emotional intelligence as a driver by making you more aware of how your behavior influences other people's behavior on highways.

 

Scenario Analysis of Teen Drivers' Unrecognized Road Rage Behavior

Emotionally challenged behavior

Segment from the letter

State how each step contributes to trouble.

Suggest smarter behavior.

1. Playing games on the highway. "I'm a 16 year old boy and I was driving in tandem with a friend."    
2. Driving after curfew "It was almost midnight"    
3. Losing the address and going anyway "I lost the address and all we did was drive around then started to go home"    
4. Driving abreast occupying center lane and fast (left) lane "I was in the left lane and wanted to stay close to my friend--who was in the center lane"    
5. Blocking the way so the SUV had to pass in the right (slow) lane "SUV pulled up really fast and close behind my friend's car-who was in the center lane"    
6. Discounting the seriousness of the incident "we thought he was gone"    
7. Not realizing they were doing something provocative "My friend and I were both in the left lane and passed him"    
8. Not realizing that the incident has now escalated into a potential duel "The SUV took the same exit and my friend and I thought it was funny that he was behind us"    
9. Finally realizing this is trouble but still acting like they're in a duel, escalating the fight instead of backing down "we slowed down in both of the lanes (stupid plan). He pulled up…and began pointing a gun."    
10. Engaging in reckless driving--weaving through traffic at high speeds getting away from a chase "We got really scared and did everything we could to get away. He followed us really fast but never tried to pass us. This went on for miles. We were all swerving through traffic. I think I was driving about 90 miles an hour"    
11. Engaging in further provocative behavior by ignoring its potential effect on the pursuer "I started to flash my lights and honk at my friend so that he knew to take the exit"    
12. Trying to diffuse their own responsibility in the sequence of events, as a sort of denial "We think that this driver did something illegal and could have caused an accident"    
13. Hiding behind inadmissible excuses, avoiding to admit what they did wrong, and refusing to think objectively about it "We know that we were stupid and added to the problem but we think that he's an adult and he was the one who was making it into a battle"    

based on our book ROAD RAGE AND AGGRESSIVE DRIVING

See Articles on Road Rage and Aggressive Driving by Dr. Leon James and Dr. Diane Nahl 

See Interview Answers to Road Rage and Air Rage by Dr. Leon James

See Student Reports on Driving Psychology


 

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