Road Rage and S.O.S.

A recent poll in Texas (and the statistics are probably similar in other states) reported the number of road rage incidents had increased 500% from 2006 to 2016! According to a 2021 Road Rage Statistics website, “A total of 12,610 injuries and 218 murders have been attributed to road rage over a seven-year period in the United States (SafeMotorist).”*

So, what is causing the road rage statistics to climb exponentially? Actually, there are a number of factors contributing to the significant increase in reported incidences. A few of them are:

A. People are in a hurry to get to their destination and are taking risks to get from point ‘A’ to point “B”.

B. A person may be driving under the influence of a substance (both legal or illegal).

C. The driver is distracted by a mobile phone, texting, a gadget in the vehicle, or simply inattentive to other vehicles on the road.

D. A person is experiencing stress and is having a bad day.

These factors (and others not mentioned) are certainly not excuses anyone can claim as a defense for reckless driving.

When we think about road rage, it can be seen as an “invitation” for a person to transition from “defensive driving” to “offensive driving” although defensive driving is always preferred for the safety of yourself and others. In a recent interview with Channel 8 News, I presented 3 things drivers can do to stay safe if they encounter someone driving recklessly. I’ve created an acronym (S.O.S.) so that these three tips can be easily remembered.

The first “S” is “Self-awareness.” Self-awareness = self-control. Monitor your reactions to what the other driver is doing and avoid responding, if possible! The reckless driver may not be aware that your safety was compromised when they cut you off to make a quick exit off the highway.

The “O” stands for “Other-awareness.” Consider that the other driver may be in a hurry, under the influence of a substance, preoccupied, or simply inattentive to those around them.

The second “S” is “Situational-awareness.” Situational awareness addresses how you should respond to the other driver – if at all. Maybe it’s best ‘not’ to honk the horn or you may want to slow down and allow the other driver to go on their way without engaging them. Another words, think your way out of a potential detrimental engagement with the other driver, rather than react with aggression.

I hope you find these tips useful. And, I pray your travels are safe!

Dr. Bartley

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About docsmb

Dr. Bartley is a Licensed Professional Counselor Supervisor in the state of Texas. He holds doctorates in Counselor Education and Supervision and in Theology. Dr. Bartley is a Certified Anger Management Specialist V (CAMS-V), a member, consultant, and diplomat of the National Anger Management Association. Dr. Bartley's newest workbook,"Peace Be Still! Calming the Anger Storms Within" is available. This workbook offers a biblical perspective on anger management and includes Scripture meditation, prayers, and daily action steps. This resource is available for $20 (includes S & H).
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