Road Rage

Road rage is a peculiar concept. Maybe its the heightened stress of being in a metal box that weighs several tons and carries your loved ones at deadly speeds that puts people on the offence- a good offence being the best defence for many. Or maybe its due to massive amounts of traffic congestion preventing people from getting home to said loved ones.

In Syria a cousin of beleaguered dictator Bashar Al-Assad recently shot and killed a beloved and high-profile general after he overtook him at a crossroads. The general was fighting to defend the very family that produced his killer. Thousands took to the streets to demand justice and for many it highlighted the arrogance and pomposity of the ruling family- it would be a strange turn of events to find one of the key players in the Syrian conflict removed by road rage not a drone strike or a suicide bomber.

The term road rage was given to the world by newscasters at KTLA, a TV station in LA, California. From 1987-88 a spree of freeway shooting occurred on interstates and freeways in and around Los Angeles.

You might have been on the receiving end of some road rage if any of these sounds familiar- aggressive acceleration or braking, tailgating, cutting someone off, seeing the finger flashed at you, verbal abuse. At its worst road rage is pure violence.

“[A]n individual commits a combination of moving traffic offences so as to endanger other persons or property; an assault with a motor vehicle or other dangerous weapon by the operator or passenger(s) of one motor vehicle on the operator or passenger(s) of another motor vehicle caused by an incident that occurred on a roadway”

-US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration definition

Studies have suggested that those most likely to enter into road rage are under 33 and male. Although road rage is not officially recognised as a mental disorder in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) behaviours similar to road rage are known as intermittent explosive disorder.

Where will you find the most rage on the roads? In 2009 New York, Detroit, Atlanta and Minneapolis were considered the ‘Road Rage Capitals’ of the US, but you can find road rage wherever there are roads and people driving on them. Cyclists already attract the ire of many ignorant motorists. Watch out.

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