Road Rage Triggers and How You can Avoid Deadly Driving

road rage photo

Even the most laid back drivers have experienced occasional road rage. It happens to the best of us.

A recent study from the travel site Expedia has pinpointed some road rage inducing behaviors. The report was released in conjunction with Memorial Day, one of the biggest driving travel days of the year.

“As the unofficial start of summer, Memorial Day sees a huge spike in the number of drivers on the road,” said Expedia General Manager John Morrey. “The rule, as with airplanes and hotels, is that shared spaces demand decorum and attentiveness.”

The study, reported on CNBC, found that the biggest causes of road rage included when other drivers were texting while driving–69 percent of drivers admitted it caused undue anger. Another 60 percent of drivers had a real problem when other drivers tailgated them. Drivers also complained about multitaskers, those that hogged the left lane, and drivers who failed to signal before they suddenly changed lanes. The 2014 Road Rage Report surveyed 1,001 adult American drivers with a valid driver’s license.

Road raging is a big problem because people are more likely to incite conflict when they’re protected by the safe haven of their vehicle–they remain anonymous. While they likely wouldn’t get into a verbal argument at the grocery store, the freeway is a different story entirely. Overcrowding on the highways is also to blame.

“You know those studies of overcrowding in rats?” asks Barry Markell, PhD, a psychotherapist in Park Ridge, Ill., who has treated many perpetrators and victims of road rage, reported on WebMD. “Well, rats are usually OK until there is one rat too many in an enclosed space and then they all turn on each other. There are far more people on the road than ever before. Crowding causes aggression.”

If you’re vulnerable to losing your temper on the road, take steps to avoid road rage.

  • Get enough sleep.
  • Leave with enough time to get to your destination without driving aggressively.
  • Play soothing music.
  • Breathe deeply.

Remember, this behavior can cost you in more ways than one. “People don’t think about that,” Markell says. “This can have a high price tag even if no one is hurt or killed — tickets, lawyers, court costs, damage to vehicles, insurance rates.”

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Image: kris krug