The Psychology Behind Road Rage

car crash

Whether we like to admit it or not, road rage is something that most motorists will have experienced at some point. For some of us, we become the recipients of people’s anger and frustration on the road. While for others, we are the ones that dish out the road rage to our fellow motorists.

A sad fact of life about driving is that we’ll encounter things that annoy us. For example, heavy traffic during our journeys to work, or people doing stupid manoeuvres that could potentially endanger our lives. When it all gets a bit too much for us, we start to get defensive, hostile, and seemingly have a “red mist” form in front of us!

You might not think it, at least not at the time of an incident on the road, but there is some psychology behind road rage that you should know about.

Intermittent Explosive Disorder

Believe it or not, there can be a medical reason why some people suddenly have a fit of rage on the road. IED or Intermittent Explosive Disorder is where an individual may develop repeated violent outbursts. You can typically see this behaviour on the road when someone has an over-the-top response to an annoying action from another motorist. Some people even exhibit IED symptoms at pedestrians too!

As with depression, part of the cause of IED is down to a chemical imbalance in the body. When serotonin and dopamine levels aren’t where they should be, it can cause people to be angry. If a person is like that behind the wheel of a car, it can often spell trouble and misery for both them and other road users.

Intermittent Explosive Disorder usually spills out into other areas of a person’s life. Many IED sufferers exhibit violent behaviour towards their loved ones, friends, and even work colleagues. The sad truth is that those people can’t understand why they are so aggressive; they feel as though they are behaving in a rational manner at the time.

Dealing with a road rage incident

An unfortunate fact of being a car driver is that, sooner or later, you will be the recipient of road rage. If or rather when that happens, what should you do about it? Well, the first thing to do is try to take yourself out of the situation. For instance, if someone is tailgating you and flashing their lights at you, pull into another lane.

If you feel that your life may be in danger, such as when someone comes out of their car and starts raging at you, try to drive away from the area. Alternatively, call the police if it is safe to do so.

And should a collision occur because of someone exhibiting road rage towards you, make a note of their car and registration details. Of course, if they are threatening you or become violent, call the police straight away. As with any car accident, you should also seek legal representation. Visit for info at Phoenixinjury.daveabels.com/car-accidents.html to see why that makes sense.

If possible, be sure to fit a dashcam to your car before you go out driving in it. That way, you can capture video evidence of any road rage attacks in case you need it to support an insurance claim or court case.

Final thoughts

Road rage isn’t something that is likely to go away anytime soon. Violent outbursts from motorists are becoming more commonplace, especially in today’s busy world.

And if you think you might be suffering from IED, make an appointment with your GP for a diagnosis so that you can get treatment for it.

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