Understanding Road Rage - The Psychology Behind it and How to Control Yourself

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Understanding Road Rage - The Psychology Behind it and How to Control Yourself
© Provided by News18 Understanding Road Rage – The Psychology Behind it and How to Control Yourself

Traffic woes are pretty much the part and parcel of your ideal city life. And in such populous urban areas, road rages are as common as dirt. While a lot of us might have gone through such an incident at least once, a quick Google search might show you all the extreme incidents that have even led to people dying. In most of cases, such fights are a result of impulsive decisions. And there are a few ways in which such a mindset that naturally happens in a split second can be avoided.

Road rage has been a topic of discussion in newsrooms, have made tabloid headlines and even inspired movies like Black Cadillac and Mad Max 2. We are all at risk of being victimised by road rage -the moment we step out of the house, even if we’re not behind the wheel.


Any brawl big or small between two motorists always involves power-play. A bike feels threatened by car owners and it car-owners often take motorcyclists for granted. There is a hierarchical setup. When a car owner sees a motorcyclist swerve or jump the signal, they are compelled to correct them. In addition to this, an underlying sentiment of the other party not treating you well makes the equation even more unpredictable. On the other hand, a motorcyclist might feel that a car driver is throwing his weight around on the road. Sadly, pedestrians are the lowest rung of the ladder.

The Stranger Factor

Venting one’s anger on people who you don’t know is much easier than addressing the people that are the root for that anger. Psychologists call this ‘displacement’. It is when a person shifts their subconscious anger and when they are unable to express it. This then manifests itself through random episodes of road rage and other such episodes. In addition to this, the lack of consequences or rather the lack of awareness for it makes the mix a lot more muck. Think about it, if one chooses to outright talk about their displeasure to their boss, there will be repercussions, but verbally abusing a fellow driver, or a cabbie is much safer. Needless to say, the increasing cases of road rage are nothing more than a byproduct of urbanisation.

ALSO READ: 5 Upcoming Maruti Suzuki Cars Set to Enter India: New Vitara Brezza, Jimny SUV and More

Impulse Control is the Solution

It’s almost like there is a twisted method to this madness. A closer look at the cases of road rages will indicate that that the perpetrators do follow a certain pattern. The common thread is the inability to control their impulses. So spending more time in addressing the underlying issues will be the first step to deal with road rage. It is not after the wave of anger settles that one might be riddled with guilt over their act, and sadly often this is when it’s too late.

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One more reason for people to act the way they do on road is simple psychology. Compare a brawl at the ticket counter at a train station and one on the road. The fact that the other person is sitting in the car, subconsciously forces our mind to dehumanise them. The same reason why a spat at a train station will not lead to throwing punches and kicking. Hence, as a driver or a rider, it is important to drill that in your head at all times.

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