Road Rage: Drivers need to chill

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Lexy Hairston

Road Rage has become an epidemic when driving, let's take a chill pill.

Gabrielle Jenkins, Opinion Writer

Everybody’s heard the old saying, “You’re more likely to die in a car crash than in an airplane.” But why is that? What’s causing all these crashes? It’s not the changing of the music, it’s not the distractions of other people in the car, it’s not even the texting. The leading cause of motor vehicle accidents isn’t any form of multitasking; it’s road rage, according to a 2020 study done by Carsurance.
Road rage is defined as “violent anger caused by the stress and frustration involved in driving a motor vehicle in difficult conditions.” This includes slow driving, cutting off others, being honked at or even just sitting in traffic for a long time. The same source says that a whopping 80 percent of people in the United States have had road rage (myself included, as there have been many times I’ve felt tempted to get out of my car and in someone’s face.) It’s time to recognize the bitter truth that although driving in frustrating conditions is angering, it’s really not that deep.
I can recall a time where I was driving on a major highway with about four or five lanes and sitting in heavy traffic. I had watched the man in front of me flip off several people, and I could hear him screaming from inside my car. A car in another lane put on their signal and tried to merge into our lane. I guess the man in the truck wasn’t looking, or he just didn’t want to let anyone merge in front of him. Regardless, he immediately sped up once he saw the car start moving in front of him, without realizing the person was already halfway in the lane. The person finished moving over, and the guy in the truck stopped, hopped out and grabbed his gun. He ran up to the car in front of me and started screaming and yelling. He didn’t stop till the woman in the car pulled out a gun herself and started recording the incident.
I remember watching that happen, shocked and extremely terrified. I moved into a different lane because I was scared to drive behind him any longer. I can’t help but wonder, if that lady hadn’t had her gun, would he have shot her? Further Carsurance studies show that 30 murders are attributed to road rage every year. While road rage may be a hilarious feat to people who don’t have it or haven’t seen it, causing it isn’t as funny when you look at the outcome.
A couple weeks ago, I heard a girl in one of my classes telling a story of how she purposely began driving slower once she realized the person behind her was getting agitated. There was no passing lane, so multiple people were now stuck behind her. She said that as this went on, the person behind her began tailgating. Tailgating itself already creates a risk for accident, but what this girl did was far more dangerous. She began going even slower, and the person crossed the double yellow lines and cut her off so fast that she almost went off the road. The girl thought it was absolutely hilarious, but I did not. Carsurance also says that two out of every three traffic fatalities are caused by road rage. Someone could have gotten seriously hurt when he crossed the double yellow lines. She could have even hurt herself if she had gone off the road.
With all this, I must say that if you are someone who likes to cause other’s road rage, you seriously need to stop. Since a vast majority of the population does experience some form of road rage, you could be creating a bigger problem. I’m sure we can all agree that preventing an accident is worth more than getting a quick laugh out of someone else’s irritation. As for those of us with road rage, we need to remember to stay calm. There’s a multitude of reasons someone could be driving in an obnoxious way. The person could be running late, visibly impaired, distracted or they could truly be trying to get a rise out of you. Don’t give them that satisfaction. At the end of the day, avoiding a car crash or a potentially dangerous situation is the best outcome you could have.