Road rage is fine to a certain degree

December 9, 2019 — by Edwin Chen

As I was driving home on Saratoga Sunnyvale Road after a long day of school, a stranger in a white BMW suddenly swerved into my lane without signaling. As a result of his uncourteous maneuver, I slammed on the brakes, narrowly avoiding an accident that could have injured both of us and cost us thousands in repairs. The near-accident turned me from someone just trying to get home into a rage monster.

Road rage is a motorist's uncontrolled anger that is usually provoked by another motorist's irritating act and is expressed in aggressive or violent behavior, from shouting to rude gestures to aggressive driving. Road rage is unhealthy, rude and dangerous. It can lead to unnecessary accidents, violence and police involvement. Despite all of these disadvantages, I personally find it helpful in coping with daily frustrations. 

The kind of road rage you see on YouTube that results in violence is dangerous, illegal and abnormal. Even road rage that results in less than pleasant interactions between drivers can be dangerous. 

However, aggressive behavior while driving on the road is perfectly natural. According to the American Automobile Association (AAA), around 80 percent of drivers have engaged in at least one aggressive driving behavior.

Threats that require rapid response on the road create a fight-or-flight response, which results in road rage, according to psychologist Stan Steindl. 

Personally, I find that road rage helps me release anger that may have built up over the day. When someone brake checks me, yelling at them in my car with all the windows closed just helps me get through a rough day without upsetting anybody or getting into any trouble.

This is more effective and less damaging than taking my anger out on one of my friends or my parents. 

I don’t think road rage is the ideal form of therapy for anyone. People should try to find something that soothes them when they’re having a rough day. Road rage just happens to be that something I and many others give into sometimes even though it’s not ideal.