Life can be a lot more pleasant and less stressful if you stay calm, keep things in perspective, and don’t go around angry all the time. Of course, it isn’t possible to achieve this ideal one hundred percent of the time: we’re only human and can’t help but fly off the handle now and then. Some people don’t know the benefits of staying cool or if they do, can’t or won’t try. And that brings us to road rage.
Road rage isn’t an officially recognized psychiatric condition, although it could be a form of “intermittent explosive disorder,” a condition where a person sometimes becomes violently enraged over trivial matters. Road rage can be triggered by actual poor manners on the part of another driver: cutting someone off, not yielding the right of way when they should, or some other violation of the rules of the road. But it can also be set off by imagined misdeeds. The other driver might be doing nothing wrong and yet send someone over the edge.
The term road rage was apparently coined in late 1980s by Los Angeles newscasters in response to a rash of violent incidents on local highways. The vast majority of road ragers are male, with in average age in the early 30s. A curious thing researchers have found is that the number of bumper stickers or other decorations is a predictor of road rage: the more, the angrier. The nature of the bumper sticker messages didn’t matter.
In the dashcam video posted below, you’ll see a fine example of a variant of road rage: pedestrian rage. The driver of the vehicle is admittedly going too fast for an urban side street. When he approaches the intersection and stops short, a man walking his dog starts raging at him but gets prompt and hilarious punishment for losing his temper. Note that the man’s dog doesn’t get upset at all. Such is the wisdom of animals.
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