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The Gateway Habits That Could Lead to Violent Road Rage

November 30, 2012

Road Rage Gateway Habits

An 81-year-old man in Windsor was thrown to the ground and viciously beaten by the driver of another car. The incident occurred when the elderly man honked at the other driver for cutting him off, nearly hitting a pedestrian in a wheelchair in the process.

It's a horrible story of road rage. How did the aggressive driver ever think that this was acceptable behaviour? How do you go from being a normal driver on the road to being an aggressive ape?

Would it surprise you to learn that the answer might be as simple as speeding?

Road rage isn't a sudden, inexplicable violent act. Becoming the kind of driver who would physically assault others is the culmination of years of minor bad habits and behaviours that make it seem acceptable to be angry and even aggressive every time you are behind the wheel. Over time, a minor act like speeding becomes angry words, which can become angry gestures - which, sadly, could lead the way to throwing blows.

A recent survey conducted by Leger Marketing clearly indicates that there are three main actions people take while driving that are gateway behaviours leading to full-blown violence on the road.

Speeding

This one is a no brainer. Everyone knows that speed limits are there for a reason and when you exceed them you are putting yourself and everyone else on the road in danger.

If you are clearly the fastest car on the road and are forced to constantly switch lanes to maintain your speed, you aren't going with the flow of traffic - you're speeding aggressively. This relatively common sight forces other drivers to accommodate your bad habit.

Swearing

Cursing at other drivers might seem harmless enough; they can't hear you, you blow off steam, and no one gets hurt. What most people don't take into account is the state of mind swearing at others creates. When you insult them, you subconsciously tell yourself that they are wrong and you are right. Swearing at other people makes them the enemy, and it gives you a false sense of righteousness. You can cut that guy off because he cut you off - he deserves it, the jerk.

Of course, He doesn't deserve that kind of treatment. No one does. Never forget the surrounding traffic is just trying to get to their destination, like you. They have bosses who yelled at them, kids waiting to be picked up from school, and difficulties of their own. It's like that old saying, "if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all."

Making Gestures

You're probably thinking of one in particular, but we're not just talking about flipping someone off - though that's pretty bad. Throwing your hands up in the air in exasperation or waving your arms around also endangers you, and can be a gateway to road rage behaviours. As with swearing, gestures alienate you from others, but they also put you into a combative state of mind.

See? The leap wasn't as far as you thought. Keep your temper, and you'll stay safe. And that's what's really important, isn't it? Remember your empathy when getting behind the wheel, folks!





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