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Old 04-14-2015, 03:08 AM
 
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what is the psychological reason that people can just flip out for the most minor "traffic incident" but a similar incident that doesn't involve roads and other people in cars won't be nearly as close to throwing someone into a fit of rage.

People who don't normally "rage" could lose their "stuff" over the most insignificant thing on the roads. Why are we SO sensitive when it comes to things that happen on the road, even if its an honest mistake by the other driver and no malice was intended?
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Old 04-14-2015, 03:26 AM
 
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My thought is that being in a car makes you an object, not a human. And people drive thinking that way, by the time their blood is boiling, it's too late.
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Old 04-14-2015, 06:58 AM
 
Location: Texas Hill Country
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Or perhaps the car is the last retreat from the world (before the home) and when things happen on the road, people feel no escape.

It would be interesting to compare road rage to rages in the home....but I don't have the time for that right now.
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Old 04-14-2015, 10:05 AM
 
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Just my ideas off the top of my head:

1. Drivers don't have to relate to other human beings. They are just objects housed in steel boxes. It's easier to project a lot of hostility and frustration onto these objects. We often forget there are living breathing beings inside them.

2. Most of the time, people driving are in a hurry: they have to be somewhere by a certain time, and probably half of them are always running late. This means the baseline emotional state is higher than when not driving, so a person is more easily set off.

3. Since we don't know the people who just did something to tick us off, we're more likely to link their current bad driving decision to something about their physical appearance or their vehicle, putting them into yet another box and objectifying them even more. Person cuts you off happens to be a woman, it's a stupid woman driver who should get off the road. Person who cuts you off happens to have white hair, it's some old b*astard who's too old to drive and should get off the road. Person who cuts you off is a different race from you, you might mutter a racial slur. Person who cuts you off is a man in a flashy expensive car, he's a self-important pr*ck who's trying to show off and is probably up to his neck in debt. Person who cuts you off is a woman in a flashy expensive car, she's a self-involved b*tch who is probably sleeping with some old guy for his money. Person who cuts you off is overweight, you mutter something about them being fat and they must be in a hurry to get to the McDonald's drive-thru. Person driving a "beater" cuts you off, you decide they're trailer trash who should not have that piece of crap on the road. Etc, etc.

4. At any moment on the road, other drivers have the ability to kill or seriously injure you due to their inattention or poor judgment. You have the ability to kill or seriously injure them due to your inattention or poor judgment. So all emotions gets ratcheted up several degrees. Someone walking in the mall accidentally bumps into you because he's looking at his phone: his actions can only inconvenience you, not kill you, so your anger/frustration will be much lower. But put that same guy with his phone out on the road and he bumps his car into yours, your emotions will be much more intense.
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Old 04-16-2015, 07:26 AM
 
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Interesting question and I really like TracySam's response.

Objectification seems like a big one. Same reason you see more rage on the Internet. This also makes me think of how angry and emotional people can get while playing video games. It is a thing instead of a person so you can go off on it without a care. When I was a kid, I would swear like a sailor while playing a video game and never swore any other time!
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Old 04-16-2015, 12:21 PM
 
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I think it has to do with the feeling of empowerment that some people get while driving. They are inside the "safety" of a vehicle, and therefore that makes them feel empowered to say or do something bad to another driver. In a face-to-face interaction, it's a different story.
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Old 04-19-2015, 05:02 PM
 
Location: San Francisco, CA, USA
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Quote:
Originally Posted by UrbanCrossroads View Post
I think it has to do with the feeling of empowerment that some people get while driving. They are inside the "safety" of a vehicle, and therefore that makes them feel empowered to say or do something bad to another driver. In a face-to-face interaction, it's a different story.
I think that's basically it. A lot of drivers also do other things that are risky (such as use their cellphones while driving, speed, drive while half asleep) which are more indications of a feeling of safety in a vehicle.
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Old 04-21-2015, 04:04 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TracySam View Post
Just my ideas off the top of my head:

1. Drivers don't have to relate to other human beings. They are just objects housed in steel boxes. It's easier to project a lot of hostility and frustration onto these objects. We often forget there are living breathing beings inside them.

2. Most of the time, people driving are in a hurry: they have to be somewhere by a certain time, and probably half of them are always running late. This means the baseline emotional state is higher than when not driving, so a person is more easily set off.

3. Since we don't know the people who just did something to tick us off, we're more likely to link their current bad driving decision to something about their physical appearance or their vehicle, putting them into yet another box and objectifying them even more. Person cuts you off happens to be a woman, it's a stupid woman driver who should get off the road. Person who cuts you off happens to have white hair, it's some old b*astard who's too old to drive and should get off the road. Person who cuts you off is a different race from you, you might mutter a racial slur. Person who cuts you off is a man in a flashy expensive car, he's a self-important pr*ck who's trying to show off and is probably up to his neck in debt. Person who cuts you off is a woman in a flashy expensive car, she's a self-involved b*tch who is probably sleeping with some old guy for his money. Person who cuts you off is overweight, you mutter something about them being fat and they must be in a hurry to get to the McDonald's drive-thru. Person driving a "beater" cuts you off, you decide they're trailer trash who should not have that piece of crap on the road. Etc, etc.

4. At any moment on the road, other drivers have the ability to kill or seriously injure you due to their inattention or poor judgment. You have the ability to kill or seriously injure them due to your inattention or poor judgment. So all emotions gets ratcheted up several degrees. Someone walking in the mall accidentally bumps into you because he's looking at his phone: his actions can only inconvenience you, not kill you, so your anger/frustration will be much lower. But put that same guy with his phone out on the road and he bumps his car into yours, your emotions will be much more intense.
Fantastic post, i agree with a lot of this.

I would add that personally i think that a lot of the "rage" comes from people hating the idea that there are so many other people "in their way" especially if you live in a highly populated area. People are very sensitive to traffic jams and stuff that forces them to sit in their cars longer than they want to.

I've found that most of my on road frustrations come from people being too passive as opposed to people being too aggressive. If someone zooms past me and is in much more of a hurry than i am to get to Point B, that is less annoying to me than if i'm sitting at a turn lane and i know the green arrow is only green for 5 seconds, and the person who's first in line just sits there and wastes 1 or 2 valuable seconds before they decide its ok to go.
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Old 04-22-2015, 08:52 AM
 
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Reminds me of George Carlin's thing in the 80s:

Anyone who drives slower that you is a ___ing idiot, and anyone who goes faster than you is a ___ing maniac.
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Old 04-23-2015, 04:02 PM
 
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I had an incident yesterday that first made my temper flare, but my cautious side took over and I backed off of what could have been a bad situation.

I was the first car at the red light with my left turn signal on waiting for the green arrow. As soon as it turned green, I began making my turn and had to slam on my brakes because some fool who was four cars behind me chose to go into the oncoming lane (which was free of traffic) and beat me making the turn! I almost hit him/her! I didn't see him or her driving down along side of me to make that turn. Where are the cops when crap like this happens.. (Not bashing cops here, just wish they were around when people do stupid stuff like this).

I was in "road rage" mode for a minute and I sped up with the intent of tailgating them. The smart side of my brain kicked in and I backed off and chose to go slower than normal knowing that the person could have had a gun or was looking for a fight. When we turned onto another road, they began slowing down and my heart was pounding. I felt like they wanted to mess with me. I went even slower because we were in an area that wasn't well traveled. When we did get to an area where there was a good bit of traffic, I got my cell out and we came to a red light and I pulled up close enough so they could see me on my cell and I repeated their license plate # over a couple of times like I was talking to the police and reporting them. When the light turned green, they went into the right lane and I went into the left lane and got far ahead of them as they drove normal speed in the right lane. It could have been a nasty situation if I'd have chosen to allow the "road rage" to take over my actions. I've caught myself a couple of times and stopped it because you never know who you're dealing with and in all reality, because they're a crazy driver, I don't have to act like them because they irked me.

My brother's boss had a gun pulled on him about a month ago. He was sitting in traffic for a good while where 2 lanes go into 1. He decided to pull his car into the center of both lanes to block the jerks that feel they don't have to sit in the traffic and cut to the front of the line. (I've also been guilty of blocking both lanes when I've been sitting there forever) A car of 4 guys pulled up along side of him and the driver got out and pointed the gun in his face...
He pulled over and allowed them to pass. He was lucky that he wasn't shot. I'll think twice in the future before I decide to block lanes to prevent "line jumpers". You just never know who you're dealing with.

I have the ability to realize that I'm being a jerk just like them if I choose to "get them back". It takes a minute to kick in and sometimes I'm just able to say to myself, well, there's gonna be an accident in their future.

Great topic!
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