Aggressive Driving Can Lead To Road Rage

This essay has a total of 1064 words and 8 pages.

Aggressive Driving Can Lead To Road Rage


It starts with just a moment of tailgating, or maybe the guy in front of you cut you off
or wouldn't let you into the fast lane. In some cases it appears that incidents of road
rage are caused by simple misunderstandings between drivers. A driver may make a momentary
error of judgment but the perception of another driver is that he or she is driving
aggressively. Then suddenly it turns into World War III on the highway. It matters little
what causes it; a bad day at the office, a love affair going bad, credit cards maxed to
the credit limit. All it takes is a sudden movement of someone else's wheels, and within
seconds a normally mild mannered motorist is consumed with a red-eyed, mouth-foaming surge
of anger that grabs more of us every day. Road Rage, something that has always simmered on
the back burner of motoring America, is now going off like fireworks.


Motorists who have snapped and committed incredible violence are mostly men and women with
no known histories of crime, violence, or alcohol and drug abuse. They are the people
typically described by neighbors "the nicest woman or man" or "a wonderful mother or
father."


Father, mother, son, daughter, they all have their own ways of getting mad. Some slam on
the brakes, jump out of their cars, open the trunks and grab anything that they get their
hands on. Others use baseball bats, knives, mace, pepper spray, fists, or some simply pull
out a pistol and start firing away. Why are these drivers turning their anger and
frustrations into road rage and what solutions can we propose to stop this road rage?


Some say that one of the main causes of aggressive driving which usually leads to road
rage is highway congestion. The road construction on the major interstates adds to




lane closures and distractions to motorists. A motorist is driving the speed limit and
then immediately has to slam on their brakes because another motorist sees the lane
closures and decides to cut in front of them. This type of driving makes motorists mad
because they know that the driver that has just cut in front of them has seen the
construction signs and were well aware of the lane closures but still decided to wait to
the last minute to get over.


Impatient drivers can also be an instigator of road rage. "A road-raging madman pulled up
behind Gary Mckay's truck in the passing lane on Interstate 55 several years ago. Mckay
was passing a slow moving tractor-trailer at the time and said that he saw, "nothing but
the truck grille in his mirror. I could see his fist and he was cussing and obviously
mouthing off." Mckay also recalled, "I probably should have sped up a little faster to get
out of his way but instead I kept on easing around the truck and then signaled to get
over." After passing Mckay, the madman made an obscene gesture, pulled in front of Mckay's
truck and slammed on the brakes, three times. Finally the guy sped off," (Leiser,
Post-Dispatch). It's this type of behavior that makes road rage a life or death situation.
If Mckay wouldn't have been paying close attention when the madman pulled around him and
slammed on his brakes this situation could have turned fatal.


It's not only men who are contributing to the road rage statistics; it's women too. Back
when road rage was first brought to America's attention, "the drivers who would rip and
snort their way through traffic, without regard for turn signals or leaving more than a
few inches between cars, were mostly men, but the times have changed. More and more women
are becoming dangerously aggressive drivers, and it is no longer unusual for




women to take the next step from aggressive driving to road rage, actually committing acts
of violence from behind the wheel," (Ledford, New York Times). "You feel a whole lot safer
yelling at someone when you are surrounded by 2,000 pounds of metal, says Athelia
Gunderson of Tacoma, Washington, who admits to an occasional outburst during her daily
30-minute commute to her job at a roofing supply company," (Bowles and Overberg, USA
TODAY). All of the above factors may be compounded by the frustration many Americans feel
as a result of longer commutes and busier schedules.


Local law enforcement officials have started programs in their areas to improve the
enforcement of laws against aggressive driving which usually turns into road rage. Judges
are issuing stiffer punishments to motorists who are convicted of offenses related to
aggressive driving. "Battles on Capitol Hill and crackdowns on the nation's highways will
continue as officials target aggressive driving. Arizona became the first state to make
aggressive driving a crime. Nineteen others are considering similar laws," (Bowles and
Overberg, USA TODAY).


"The federal government also has responded. The Department of Transportation is giving
more than $10 million to a dozen communities in a test to battle aggressive driving.
Campaigns include more police patrols, television monitors mounted on freeway overpasses
and even dummy cameras at intersections to make drivers think they are being videotaped
for running red lights," (Bowles and Overberg, USA TODAY). Another possible solution to
help relieve road rage is decreasing congestion through the construction of more lanes,
widening roads and decreasing the number of curves on roads and highways.
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