Can You Define Road Rage?
It seems like you can’t drive more than two miles today without encountering road rage. Some say that road rage is a national epidemic more dangerous than drunk driving. Others find it to be a perpetual but insignificant problem. Needless to say, almost everyone agrees that road rage is an actual attitude that can be observed on most American roadways. But what is road rage? Is it some kind of medical condition? A certain habit or behavior? Or maybe it’s an actual traffic accident?
Road rage has a short but interesting history. The term “road rage” first appeared in England in 1988 and gained popularity rapidly. Mentioned only about two dozen times in 1994, there was an extensive increase when the term was mentioned 400 times the following year. In 1996 the term appeared 1,600 times and has been steadily growing since then. The public has grasped the term and considers it to be one of the foremost national driving concerns. In a recent AAA poll 44% of motorists ranked road rage as the biggest threat on the road while drunk driving ranked second with 31%. Road rage is now an everyday household term heard on the evening news and read in newspapers daily (Bowles, Scott, and Paul Overberg).
So what is this new-sprung expression that has received so much attention in recent years? Numerous people have tried to define the term and add some clarity to it’s meaning. Some have tried to determine it’s psychological significance and apply it to certain people. Others have defined the term according to traffic violations--speeding, running stoplights and recklessness. In addition, others have tried to classify it according to poor driving conduct such as obscene gestures and unkind words. Each of these definitions are valid interpretations of road rage’s meaning (Overberg).
Many psychologists believe road rage to be an aggressive behavior disorder. Arnold Nerenberg, a...
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