Road Rage - What Annoys Drivers The Most?Main Category: Anxiety / Stress
Also Included In: Psychology / Psychiatry
Article Date: 14 Jan 2013
Road rage, or driver aggression, is a major safety concern and is thought to be a contributory factor in almost half of all car crashes, researchers from the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) reported in Accident Analysis and Prevention.
The authors say that identifying what causes drivers to get irritated, and finding strategies to prevent driver aggression is a top priority for road safety. Apparently, exposure to gasoline vapors can make us more aggressive.
Among the traffic behaviors that make drivers' blood boil are hostile displays, cutting in, weaving and speeding.
Dr. Christine Wickens and team gathered and examined data from thousands of comments posted on RoadRagers.com, a website that asks drivers to register their complaints about improper and unsafe driving.
Dr. Wickens had previously carried out a study which examined the complaints drivers had submitted to the Ontario Provincial Police. This time she used data from some new websites to ask drivers to describe examples of bad or unsafe driving they had observed.
Dr. Wickens said "These websites can tell us more about what people are doing out there in the real world."
The team evaluated over 5,000 entries which had been posted between 1999 and 2007. Most of the reports were about driving incidents that occurred in Canada or the USA. They sorted the complaints into various categories, including blocking, erratic braking, improper braking, speeding, and racing.
The most common complaints were:
They found that in some cases, a reckless act by one driver can escalate into a hostile situation between several drivers.
The team now plan to determine how a slighted driver perceives the offensive action of another driver. Is the other driver being deliberately aggressive, negligent, or simply in a hurry? What impact do these different interpretations have on how people respond or retaliate?
Dr. Wickens emphasizes that drivers need to work hard at keeping calm, and not responding aggressively to the behaviors and actions of other people.
Dr. Wickens said "Remind yourself to take a deep breath, stay calm, and do whatever it takes to bring your anger down."
Perhaps drivers should be educated on the impact of their own responses to bad driving when they are learning to drive. Driving lessons might include ways of avoiding these types of retaliatory behaviors. The authors wrote that "The training could also teach drivers to be aware of their own responses associated with behaviours they are likely to encounter on the road."
Written by Christian Nordqvist
Copyright: MediLexicon International Ltd
Original article posted on Medical News Today.
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