Causes of Road Rage and How to Handle It

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Causes of road rage and how to handle it

Driving can be stressful, but being upset behind the wheel can be one of the causes of road rage. How do you react? We’ll talk about the causes of road rage and how to deal with it in this article.

Causes of Road Rage, how to handle road rage, what is road rage, factors affecting road rage, how to avoid road rage

We’ve all experienced anger when driving at some stage in our lives–someone might cut you off, run a stop sign next to you, merge improperly, and so on.

Between 2006 and 2015, fatal auto crashes caused by aggressive driving jumped nearly 500%, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. 

However, the difference between irritation and road rage is whether or not retaliatory action is taken, which endangers the life of those involved.

Here’s everything you need to know about road rage–what causes road rage, how to keep cool, and what to do if you’re approached by an aggressive driver.

What Exactly is Road Rage?

Road rage is a type of irrational rage triggered by small issues and accidents while driving. 

It’s most commonly seen in a retaliatory manner—the enraged driver thinks they have been wronged in some way, their anger gets the best of them, and they exact revenge on the supposed wrongdoer.

This eventually leads to accidents and other acts of crime, such as ramming. It’s important to remember that road rage is triggered by the person showing it, not by the traffic itself. 

If you’re someone who acts violently as a result of an altercation on the road, it’s important that you understand that what you’re doing is the result of your own decisions and not the actions of others.

Causes of Road Rage, how to handle road rage, what is road rage, factors affecting road rage, how to avoid road rage

Road rage drivers also show the following characteristics:

  • Suddenly increasing speed close to another car
  • Brake-checking is the intentional use of the brakes in front of another driver.
  • Following too closely behind another car
  • Flashing the bright lights aggressively behind another car
  • Competing against other drivers
  • Changing lanes in and out of traffic lanes
  • Stopping your vehicle, exiting, and approaching another driver
  • Threatening other drivers
  • Cursing and obscene expressions
  • Weaving
  • Yelling
  • Honking

Why Road Rage Is So Risky

These habits cross the line between letting off steam and careless, dangerous driving.

So, what exactly is it with road rage that leads to accidents?


Accelerating the car, particularly close to another driver, increases the likelihood of a crash. The probability is often increased if the irate driver alternates between speeding up and slowing down. 

Failure to follow stop signs and traffic signals. Overly offensive drivers often avoid red signals, defy traffic signs, refuse to yield, and often behave dangerously.

Losing focus

Driving, particularly in congested areas or in bad weather, necessitates focusing your attention on the road. You won’t be as focused on the road if you’re yelling at another driver or attempting to confront another person.

Confronting other drivers

Some drivers take road rage a step further by swerving in front of the potentially offensive motorist to prevent them from leaving. 

Alternatively, they leave their car and meet someone else who is stuck at a stop sign or signal. This could lead the other driver to run or take other actions that endanger himself or herself and other drivers.

Reducing reaction times

All of the above may have the additional result of shortening the response time of the road rage driver. 

If another car comes to a sudden halt, the aggressive driver will crash into them. Pedestrians are now at risk because the driver has little time to slow down and yield.

Increasing the risk of physical violence

Road rage doesn’t always end with curses, motions, threats, or even reckless driving. Many have been known to pull a gun or other firearms on an unsuspecting driver, throw objects from the car, and partake in other dangerous actions.

Road Rage Factors

Road rage is often only an initial reaction caused by the reckless actions of others; it becomes more intense as you feel compelled to exact retaliation for the said behavior.

Whatever the source of a person’s road rage, it’s important to recognize that it’s irrational and never a smart idea.

Although it’s impossible to predict what could set anyone off, the following are some of the most important causes of road rage incidents:

Causes of Road Rage, how to handle road rage, what is road rage, factors affecting road rage, how to avoid road rage

Heavy traffic

Nobody loves waiting in traffic. However, severely irritated drivers get aggravated more quickly, and minor inconveniences can irritate this sort of individual more easily.


To others, the path is similar to the internet in that you can chat with someone and then never see them again. This mentality empowers the driver, making them less afraid of honking, gesturing, or cutting off.

Texting/distracted driving

Seeing a distracted driver swerve, unintentionally cut you off, or otherwise driving erratically can be a frightening sight, leading to indignation directed at the reckless driver. 

It is, however, smarter and more efficient to stop them or pull over and contact the police rather than approach them.


Impatient drivers are more likely to drive erratically because they think their meetings are more critical than anyone else’s on the highway.

Running late

Drivers who are late for a meeting or appointment can become anxious.

Disregard for others and the law

Any driver may believe that the rules should not apply to them.

Habitual or learned behavior

Aggressive driving could be the rule for some drivers.

What You Should Do to Improve Your Road Rage Management

Road rage, particularly when caused by an inability to adequately control indignation, can wreak havoc not only on the angry driver’s life but also on the drivers on the receiving end of their road rage.

Here are a few precautions you should take to reduce the likelihood of a conflict:

Do not tailgate

Even if the driver in front of you is traveling at a higher speed than you like, tailgating accomplishes little and is dangerous.

Leave on time or early

Allowing yourself more time than you need to drive from point A to point B gives you the ability to alleviate the uncertainty associated with not getting enough time to get to your destination. 

Knowing what the roads look like before leaving will improve a driver’s outlook.

Empathy for other drivers

Recognizing that not everyone is a great driver is a good place to start. There are still two sides to the story, and a brief outburst of frustration is not worth the risk of exacerbating road rage.

Pullover to cool down

It’s important to note that you do not influence other drivers’ reactions or behavior..

If you’re experiencing road rage and are unable to calm down, pull off to the side of the road. This downtime will encourage you to decompress and let go of any resentment you might be feeling.

Ensure you are getting enough sleep

An average adult needs 7 to 9 hours of quality sleep a night to perform optimally. When you’re well-rested, you’re more able to control your feelings and responses more effectively.

Remind yourself it is not worth it

Untreated rage, which manifests as road rage, may have negative effects. It’s critical to note that no matter what obstacle you face on the lane, road rage is never worthwhile.

Remain calm

Don’t make disrespectful noises, use explicit words, brake search, or block the other driver. They would eventually disappear.

Overall, try to be aware of other drivers on the road and recognize that driving can be stressful. You will be able to drive easily and stop incidents of road rage if you stay calm and polite.

What to Do if You Are a Victim of Road Rage

If you’re on the road and becoming the victim of someone else’s road rage, there are a few actions you may take to mitigate the chance of conflict.

Keep a safe distance. If the other driver is driving erratically near you to exact revenge, try to avoid them as safely as possible. Do not speed or weave in and out of traffic to get away from this person; instead, try to avoid them if at all possible.

Don’t stop. Stopping in a parking area can be viewed as an invitation to a face-to-face confrontation, which could turn violent.

Pull into the nearest police station. If you’re being tailgated, harassed, or followed by a racing driver, one of the most surefire ways to lose them is to pull into a police station. 

They will most likely continue on their way; however, if they are brave enough to follow you, go into the station and notify the police that an aggressive driver has followed you there.

How to Manage Road Rage

There are, fortunately, certain things you can do to control your frustration and reduce your chances of feeling road rage. Try using any of the following tactics if you find it difficult to remain calm throughout your drive.

Causes of Road Rage, how to handle road rage, what is road rage, factors affecting road rage, how to avoid road rage


Breathing exercises will help you cleanse your body of polluted air and stale energy, increase the oxygenation of your blood, and, of course, relieve anxiety. 

Focusing on your breathing directs your thoughts inward, making frustrations feel more distant, without diverting your mind away from the lane.


Play music, podcasts, or audiobooks. Music can unconsciously color your memories, providing an entertaining backdrop to your drive. 

Audiobooks or podcasts can offer a minor diversion that can make the drive more fun, allowing you to tolerate annoying drivers and bumper-to-bumper traffic.


Try progressive muscle relaxation (PMR) and deep muscle relaxation (DMR) (DMR). When you’re angry, the body stores the pain. 

These exercises also teach you how to easily relieve whatever anxiety you’re holding, including when sitting in the car, allowing you to feel more physically and emotionally comfortable.


Use your time wisely. When we’re annoyed on the route, it’s mostly because we’re in a rush and can’t get there fast enough due to traffic. 

Organizing your day to leave early and preparing for traffic will leave you feeling more comfortable because it won’t matter too much if the ride takes a few minutes longer.

Trust American Auto Care/ASR for Affordable Car Repair Services


Road rage is never worth it, regardless of the conditions, and arriving at your destination safely is much more important and significant than taking a chance and attempting to teach another driver a lesson, regardless of their actions on the road.

Road rage can have drastic and catastrophic effects not just for the drivers involved, but also for any passengers, local pedestrians, and families, and friends.

If you or a loved one has been the victim of a road rage incident, we are very sorry, but glad that you are safe.  American Auto Care/ASR in Murrieta, California, is the top local car repair.

At American Auto Care/ASR, we have contactless service as well as reliable vehicle maintenance services.

Our mechanics work on all makes and models of vehicles, and our mission is to worry about your vehicle so you don’t have to. 

Please contact us at 951-461-2507.

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