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Signs Of Road Rage – Do You Exhibit These Behaviors?

Updated on May 21, 2013
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I'm a dad, husband, and Christian first. Second, I'm an educator and organizational development professional.

Do you have road rage?
Do you have road rage? | Source

Have you experienced road rage before? You don’t have to go out of your car and smash someone else’s window before you think you have road rage. Many drivers don’t realize that there is anger brewing inside them. When this goes unchecked, you might be harboring a road rage beast inside of you. So before you cross over to the destructive and violent side, know the telltale signs of anger on the road. The sooner you recognize the signs of road rage, the better you can address it.

Cussing and cursing while driving

There’s a long list of cussing and cursing that I can write, but I will spare you the vulgarity. It is one thing to exclaim a rude word or two now and then, but it’s another to blurt out a barrage of profanity simply because other motorist are driving too slow in front of you. You don’t need to learn how to read lips for you to know that the other driver is spitting vulgarity inside his car. Worse, some drivers even roll down their windows and pull to your side just to throw these immature words at you. If you’re at the receiving end, it’s just hard to resist pitching your own. When you’re the one throwing them out, you’re in for a tough ride when you find yourself face to face with another road rage warrior.

Use constructive words rather than profanity. Also, think about what you want to accomplish before you say anything. People tend to speak without the benefit of forethought. This is why they get into trouble rather than resolve problems.

Sure, you may think twice to shout OMG if you’re all burly, tattoo-covered and driving a 500 horsepower muscle car. But, there are better ways to release your surprise or even anger on the road. Cussing and cursing are just words that can aggravate you and other motorists.

How do you handle road rage?
How do you handle road rage? | Source

Rude gestures

Hand signals may come in helpful when driving. However, giving other motorists the finger is not one of them. Although non-verbal communication is diverse, this one is universally accepted as rude. If rolling down your window and brandishing your middle finger is a habit of yours, know the risks. First, you take off on hand off the wheel unnecessarily. At 70 MPH, control of your vehicle is very important. Next, waving your hand or any body part for that matter outside your car is just dangerous. Lastly, such rude behaviors on the road can escalate matters.

Other gestures that can be counterproductive include waving a clenched fist and pointing at other people. Of course the norms from one place maybe different from another. But when in doubt, just avoid flailing around your hands while driving. Remember, when you’re feeling anxious or angry, don’t let your fingers do the talking.

A motorist hits a traffic enforcer

Driving faster than needed

Allow me to be clear about this. Driving along the freeway at 100 mph is one thing, but driving at the same speed in a residential area is another. Many drivers resort to putting the feet hard on the pedal when they feel frustrated with another driver or with some other reason. It may pale compared to more violent behaviors but this can be dangerous. Worse, you put other people both motorists and pedestrians in danger.

There are times when drivers choose to increase speed when there’s a car trying to cut my lane without even signaling. There is lots of that in Metro Manila. Another instance is when we choose to go faster when we try to catch up to another driver just to cut them off. It’s childish, but it happens.

Before you put your foot on the pedal to retaliate, try to take it off or easing on it for a change. This requires conscious effort. But the payback is worth every restraint.

Honking like it’s the end of the world

Which do you prefer, long bursts or a myriad of short bursts? Perhaps you’re the hybrid type of honker. Regardless, using your horn more than necessarily is a sure sign of road rage. If you've driven in Metro Manila, Philippines, you’re probably aware of how honking can be part of the driver’s daily lingo. Long bursts usually mean get the hell out of my way. Short but more frequent horn blasts means hurry up, move it. Of course there is no dictionary for honking in Metro Manila, but after some time, you can decipher what they mean. The most proficient honkers in the Philippines are the public transport drivers particularly the bus drivers. I lovingly call them bully buses.

The horn is created to get the attention of other motorist or even pedestrians. It’s a helpful tool in the hands of cool-headed drivers. But in the hands of a road rage warrior, it’s a weapon of intimidation. The louder you are the scarier you may appear.

Sometimes I can’t resist the idea that driving can be egocentric. My horn is bigger than your horn. Toot it if you dare. Unless you have a really big horn, resist the urge to honk it unnecessarily.

Driving at night can be difficult.  Use your headlights properly.
Driving at night can be difficult. Use your headlights properly. | Source

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Flashing of lights

The headlights are more than just for illumination. It is a way to communicate with other drivers. Flashing your headlights can warm others as you approach especially at night in turns and blind curves. However, these same tools for safety can be used to provoke others. Flashing of headlights like a madman can irritate others. Worse, some even switch to brighter lights just to blind the other driver. This behavior is just juvenile and dangerous.

This is really dangerous when done to on-coming cars at night. This can impair the vision of the driver and can cause fatal accidents. So please, if you have the habit of flashing your lights like a madman or switching to brighter lights to

The signs of road rage are easy to identify. However, if you’re the one behind the wheel, it’s equally easy to disregard these signs. You can always point to someone or something else but never put the blame on yourself. Road rage starts from somewhere. Before it gets out of hand, make sure you tame the beast.

There are many steps to fight road rage. The first and most important step is to recognize the signs and put a stop to them. When you’re behind the wheel, people are dependent on you for their safety. So, the next time you go out on the road, consider these road rage behaviors and consciously put a stop to them. There are many behaviors not worth doing while driving. Drive responsibly.

Do you think you have road rage? Or are you calm enough to survive your next drive?


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