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Road Rage Fist – Photo credit Jens Christian Shroder (Flickr)

Is Ireland in the grip of road rage fever?  Irish road use studies suggest that it might be and that it could be on the increase.    1 in 5 of the drivers surveyed by Independent Motors said that they regularly get very angry when  they are behind.  Also, drivers see red when cars are badly parked and when other drivers don’t indicate.

Adding fuel to the fire that is Irish road rage, is the claim made by RTE’s Mean Streets documentary that half of Irish motorists have experienced aggressive driving, at one time or another.  It documented incidents of road rage on Irish roads.  One of which included a driver spitting at cyclist courier, who also had a bottle thrown at him. Well, at the very least, drivers are touch with their anger, albeit in a negative way:

So, what are the causes of road rage.  One of the causes include a  psychological need to be in control of the road.  If this need  is not fulfilled, the driver becomes very angry and aggressive because they believe that their “share of the road” or “proxemic space” is being invaded.  Other causes of road rage include hormone levels, narcissistic pride, the need for superiority and unchecked egos, so says Dr Albrecht, an American psychological therapist.

Are there ways of preventing the Irish driver from becoming a road rage demon?  Apparently, there is.  Mr Noel Gibbons, road safety adviser, says that Irish drivers should avoid eye contact with the enraged driver; shouldn’t use obscene hand gestures and shouldn’t evade the driver or retaliate.  Drivers can also temper their road rage demons by trying to forget about home or work related problems; by concentrating on their driving and by planning their journey.   Hopefully, this will make for a more calming and happier driving experience.  Other ways to curb those road rage demons include using a deep breathing technique.   Whereby the driver can reduce the effects of road rage by taking a long deep 5 second breath.  You then hold it for 5 seconds and then exhale for another 5 seconds.     

Breathing Technique – Photo credit (Wikihow)

What should be a calming and rewarding activity or experience for drivers,  could become a driving nightmare.  Hopefully, drivers will find a more positive and non-violent way of getting in touch with their road rage demons.   And get a grip on road rage – before it gets a grip on them.