Road Rage: One Woman's Journey to Heal Herself
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.
Anxious or racing thoughts
Loss of sex drive
Reasons to Stop Road Rage Behaviors
- 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.
- 56% of fatal crashes are said to be caused by aggressive driving.
- Young men are more likely to experience road rage but women are quickly closing the gap.
- 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.
- Drivers with children in the car are more likely to engage in road rage than drivers with out children in the car. Shocking!
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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: