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Road Rage: One Woman's Journey to Heal Herself

Updated on August 29, 2012
Source

List of the 10 Most Dangerous Cities to Drive In

1. Orlando, Fla.

2. Memphis, Tenn.

3. Glendale, Tenn.

4. Miami, Fla.

5. Las Vegas

6. Birmingham, Ala.

7. Sacramento, Calif.

8. Tampa, Fla.

9. San Antonio, Texas

10. Jacksonville, Fla.

I will admit it. I am guilty of following to close to other driver’s bumpers, honking my horn, and engaging in a moderate level of road rage. Not the carrying a gun and assault you kind of rage but more like passive aggressive behaviors mentioned above. In my defense, these actions aren’t completely unjustified. I will never understand why another driver feels to the need to race out in front of me only to slow down after I have had to slam on my brakes. Doesn’t it just make more sense to wait one extra minute so you can maintain a constant speed? But no matter how hard I try something just takes over my usually quiet demeanor when I get stuck behind a driver who decides that going 10 under is an acceptable speed to go. It is in these circumstances that my blood starts to boil and the yelling and aggressive driving starts.


I don’t remember when these habits began or whether it’s nature or nurture learned. I have no distinct memories of either my mother of father being this way but who’s to say some relative further on down the tree didn’t feel the same way I do. More than likely it is a result of my own lack of patience and living in Orlando, FL which was recently voted as the most dangerous city to drive in by the Dayton Daily News. At first I was shocked but then as I really thought about it, those statistics really weren’t too surprising. Orlando is crawling with tourists who don’t know where they are going and are so strung out on their Disney high they don’t pay attention to the road. They are too busy craning their necks out the windows trying to not miss anything all the while going 35mph down I-4.

While this is no excuse for my behavior I have recently made a resolution to curb my angry ways and try to calm down for the sake of my children and my overall well being. Here are some reasons why a change has become necessary.

Stress Symptoms

Cognitive
Emotional
Physical
Memory problems
Moodiness
Diarrhea/Constipation
Poor Judgement
Lonliness/ Isolation
Nausea
Anxious or racing thoughts
Depression
Frequent colds
 
 
Loss of sex drive
For a more extensive list and more information please visit www.helpguide.org/mental/stress_signs.htm

Reasons to Stop Road Rage Behaviors

  1. Kids will do as you do and not as you say.

I will tell you that when my kids are in the car I do tone down my more aggressive driving maneuvers; I will not ride as close to an offending bumper and I do not yell curse words in front of them. But I can’t seem to discontinue all the road rage habits. I do raise my voice or make comments about other drivers in front of them. As a parent, it is my job to model acceptable and appropriate behaviors for them and I am teaching them very negative behaviors. How can I tell them not to yell at others and use their big boy/girl words when I am not doing that myself?

2. Any form of on going stress or anxiety is bad for your health. We all know that negative emotions can affect our bodies and cause damage to us. Driving is something that is necessary to my everyday life and if I am in a constant state of anxiety while in the car than it will have a negative impact on my body and health.

3 Aggressive drivers are more likely to be involved in traffic accidents than non-aggressive drivers. I would never forgive myself if I ever harmed my children by driving negligently and causing an accident.

Source

Statistics

  1. 56% of fatal crashes are said to be caused by aggressive driving.
  2. Young men are more likely to experience road rage but women are quickly closing the gap.
  3. In the last 18 years, we have had 810,000 deaths, 97.2 million non-fatal injuries, 504 million damaged vehicles and costs of $2,484 billions, not to mention the pollution and angst caused by road rage.
  4. Drivers with children in the car are more likely to engage in road rage than drivers with out children in the car. Shocking!
  5. Younger drivers (18-24) account for 67% of incident while older drivers (65 and older) account for 30%.

What I Can Learn From Letting Go of Road Rage

  1. Patience, in my opinion, is a life long learning process. Some of my earliest memories are the voice of my mother saying patience is a virtue. That seems to have stayed with me and by learning to be patient with others and not always rushing around; maybe I can finally become a more patient person in other areas in my life as well.
  2. Learning to be more tolerant of others is also a character trait worth working on. I have begun trying to understand why the person in front of me is choosing to go so slow. As long as they are not talking on their cell, then I tell myself that maybe they or someone they know was in a traumatic accident and they are now more cautious because of it. As for those tourists who keep Orlando’s economy going, I think about when I am excited to go somewhere new and how I want to be able to take in the whole experience and not miss anything either. It comes down to being conscious of the fact that I don’t know the other drivers’ stories or past experiences and maybe their reason for driving that way is completely justified.
  3. I can learn to be a better driver for myself. Getting in a car accident is frustrating, frightening, and potentially fatal. Whether you were at fault or not, it can cost a lot of money and stress. All of these things are worth avoiding.

Summary

I know these behaviors will not change over night. It will take a conscious effort on my part to let go of the anger and frustration which occurs while driving. I will have to make the choice everyday to not let someone else's driving habits dictate my thoughts feelings, and actions.


For more information and the websites where I found my statistics please visit:

www.stoproadrage.us

Do You Engage in Road Rage Behaviors?

See results

Comments

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    • jenbeach21 profile imageAUTHOR

      jenbeach21 

      5 years ago from Orlando, FL

      Thank you Sandy spider!

    • Sandyspider profile image

      Sandy Mertens 

      5 years ago from Wisconsin, USA

      Very good story on road rage.

    • jenbeach21 profile imageAUTHOR

      jenbeach21 

      5 years ago from Orlando, FL

      Thank you Denise. It is because of my kids that I need to look at my actions and see what it working and what isn't. Thanks for the support.

    • Denise Handlon profile image

      Denise Handlon 

      5 years ago from North Carolina

      Jennifer, I loved the self reflection that is exhibited in this hub. Any person who can stop, realize the impact they are having on themselves, as well as the impression they are making on others, (especially children), is on the right road to conquering any negative habit. Kudos to you!

      Well presented and set up; the tables are a great addition. Rated up/A/U

    • jenbeach21 profile imageAUTHOR

      jenbeach21 

      6 years ago from Orlando, FL

      rcrumple, thank you for sharing that with me. I love how you make a game out of it now. I am going to have to try that next time I am feeling the agitation start to rise.

      Mary, thanks for the comment and sharing. So glad you aren't affected as I am by the bad drivers and I hope I can be calmer as I work on it!

    • mary615 profile image

      Mary Hyatt 

      6 years ago from Florida

      I find myself almost being overly cautious now when I drive because I have had so many near misses! We have a lot of Senior drivers here who can't see, can't hear....

      I have never been guilty of road rage, honestly!

      I voted this Hub UP, will share.

    • rcrumple profile image

      Rich 

      6 years ago from Kentucky

      Jennifer - Loved this! I used to be terrible with road rage. I got cut off by a woman going into the Mobile Bay Bridge tunnel one night. I reached down and grabbed a pistol I kept in the car for self defense. I looked at it, said to myself, "What am I doing" and put the gun down. Ever since that evening, I look for bad drivers and make a game out of proving they're going to do the stupid things I guess they'll do. When my wife and I are together, we vocalize this and make jokes about it. Did away with a whole lot of stress with this change in philosophy. Great Job!

    • jenbeach21 profile imageAUTHOR

      jenbeach21 

      6 years ago from Orlando, FL

      Thank you Kimberlie! I still struggle to control myself while driving. It is a day at a time.

    • kimberlie33 profile image

      Kimberlie Kacan 

      6 years ago from Brooklyn, NY

      Great hub! Thanks for sharing. I can understand though. People who have to "mediate the traffic" as I like to call it drive me nuts! Its hard not to beep the horn, shout a few choice words, and fly past them in the other lane.

    • jenbeach21 profile imageAUTHOR

      jenbeach21 

      6 years ago from Orlando, FL

      Thank you KduBarry! So glad that no one was hurt in your accident.

    • profile image

      KDuBarry03 

      6 years ago

      Very informative and useful, Jen! I remember I had a really bad accident because traffic was moving in a 55mph zone and, all of a sudden, the car stops in front of me (broke down in the middle of the road) and I totaled my car by rear ending them at full throttle. Their breaklights didn't work so I couldn't make a good judgment. Needless to say, no one got hurt and definitely lessons were learned for both of us.

      Great read! Sharing this and voted up!

    • jenbeach21 profile imageAUTHOR

      jenbeach21 

      6 years ago from Orlando, FL

      Thanks Sunshine. I'm better around my area but I have to work more at it in touristy ones.

    • Sunshine625 profile image

      Linda Bilyeu 

      6 years ago from Orlando, FL

      Road Rage in Orlando. Oh my. Not a good thing. It used to be a lot worse, but with the mishaps that have happened over the years I've toned down quite a bit. I wish you luck on toning down also:)

    • jenbeach21 profile imageAUTHOR

      jenbeach21 

      6 years ago from Orlando, FL

      Thank you Alecia. I am working on the moving on part and realizing I have no control over how other's drive but I can control how I react.

    • Alecia Murphy profile image

      Alecia Murphy 

      6 years ago from Wilmington, North Carolina

      I'm not a hot tempered person but driving is frustrating. People do one thing and they expect you to do another. But I just breathe deeply and move on. Life's too short to let yourself be overtaken by emotions of any kind. Interesting hub, good luck on your journey.

    • jenbeach21 profile imageAUTHOR

      jenbeach21 

      6 years ago from Orlando, FL

      Thank you mejohnson!

    • mejohnson profile image

      mejohnson 

      6 years ago

      Very informative hub. You're right patience is key when driving, especially with so many "special" drivers out there. Voted up.

    • TToombs08 profile image

      Terrye Toombs 

      6 years ago from Somewhere between Heaven and Hell without a road map.

      Just keep up the good work...no thanks are necessary. :)

    • jenbeach21 profile imageAUTHOR

      jenbeach21 

      6 years ago from Orlando, FL

      I just can't thank you enough:)

    • TToombs08 profile image

      Terrye Toombs 

      6 years ago from Somewhere between Heaven and Hell without a road map.

      Great job, Jenn. My pleasure! :) I shared with my followers; lets see what they think. :) oh yeah, I posted it on my paper and shared it on Chime as well. :)

    • jenbeach21 profile imageAUTHOR

      jenbeach21 

      6 years ago from Orlando, FL

      Thank you again! You have been a great help.

    • TToombs08 profile image

      Terrye Toombs 

      6 years ago from Somewhere between Heaven and Hell without a road map.

      Good improvements, Jenn! Break up some of the first section into smaller paragraphs with some white space in between and this will be a great read! :)

    • jenbeach21 profile imageAUTHOR

      jenbeach21 

      6 years ago from Orlando, FL

      Thank you TToombso8!

    • TToombs08 profile image

      Terrye Toombs 

      6 years ago from Somewhere between Heaven and Hell without a road map.

      Hiya, Jen. Good information on road rage. Definitely helpful when facing the moronic masses in heavy traffic. :)

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