Causes of Road Rage and How to Handle It

Let’s be honest, it is really frustration while driving at some point or another. There are various things that could go wrong: someone runs a stop sign next to you, merges improperly, cuts you off, and many many more. And without a doubt, there will be shouting and road raging. If the situations get worse, there might be even some retaliatory action, which endangers the lives of everyone around. Knowing the issue, our car experts discuss, therefore gather all the causes of road rage, as well as how to deal with a raging driver.

What is Road Rage?

In order to know the way to handle road rage, you need to know the definition of this term. Road rage is the expression and explosive anger that occur mainly while driving. This is caused by inconveniences as well as incidents. And of course, road rage gets serious when it comes in a retaliatory fashion. To be more precise, both raging drivers believe that they have been wronged in some way, and they will take revenge by shouting and fighting.

Even though most instances of road rage result in just shouting expletives, this is not always the best situation. In some cases, they will mostly lead to violence. In fact, there are around 12,610 injuries, as well as 218 murders due to road rage in the last 7 years. According to many studies in the United States, this country estimated nearly 37% of aggressive driving issues. They also involve firearms. Even though these numbers are different with each country, the aim of these statistics is to illustrate the realities. The government must be able to do something about it. 

Forms of Road Rage

As we mentioned previously, every driver is different and unique. There is absolutely no way to know what they are thinking, so it is impossible to say exactly what and how they will react on the road. They might be a gentle human being, yet it might be a different story when they feel disrespected on the road. The road rage can slowly manifest as underlying anger problems. It makes drivers lose the ability to control themselves as well as their emotions, making them unpredictable. And in order to tell if someone is having road rage, we list out some of the most common forms of road rage. They are tailgating, yelling or honking. Sometimes they are all gathered together.

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There are many road rage forms (Photo Source: Pexels)

When it comes to road rage actions, they include perceived wrongdoer, preventing drivers from changing lanes, blocking traffic or purposely cutting off other automobiles. Along with that, they also intentionally speeding, weaving, ramming and Initiating confrontation outside of the vehicles. Some of them even drive on the sidewalk and median.

The Causes of Road Rage

Psychotherapist Ana Jovanovic stated in an article for NBC News that, “the initial turn [in our mood] usually has nothing to do with the traffic. We can be feeling upset over something that happened at work, or with a friend or a partner. The ‘turn’ we make is allowing angry thoughts to occupy our minds [such that it] infiltrates into the very thing we are doing at that moment, even if that thing — such as driving — has nothing to do with the reason for our anger.”

Oftentimes, road rage is no more than an initial reaction, triggered by the irresponsible behavior of others; it becomes more serious when you feel it necessary to enact revenge for said behavior.

While it’s difficult to say exactly what will set someone off, some of the most common factors in road rage incidents are:


The first and most common factor of road rage is anonymity. The reason why this is the reason for many road rage incidents is the road environment. To be more specific, drivers can easily interact with others and probably never see them again, just like the internet. And this attitude leads the driver to terrible actions, making them less apprehensive about honking, cutting off and gesturing.

Heavy Traffic

Totally understandable, since nobody enjoys sitting in traffic. However, serious impatient drivers can get frustrated really quick. And without a doubt, these smaller inconveniences may set this type of person off easily and quickly. 

Texting or Distracted Driving

Texting and distracted driving is another factor of road rage. It is totally normal to be scared of observing a distracted driver. They inadvertently cut you off, swerve or otherwise drive erratically. This is not only a scary sight but can also result in anger. All of these direct toward the irresponsible driver. It is safer and more effective to avoid them by slowing down, pulling over and calling the police. Yet it is really hard to keep calm like that. 


Last but not least, impatience. The impatient drivers are more likely to drive erratically. The reason for this is that they believe their appointments are more important than everyone else’s on the road. This leads to terrible driving behaviour, swearing and shouting.

How to Prevent Road Rage

We now understand what is road rage, as well as the cause of this behaviour. So how to handle the road rage to make your driving journey safe and enjoyable? Let’s find out!

Cool Down First

Always drive in the best possible mental health. If you are already angry or frustrated about something, do not use driving as a way to cool off. If you have just had an argument, it is not a good idea to go for a drive to blow off steam. The reason for this is that you’re more likely to be set off by insignificant occurrences.

Have Empathy 

Sounds hard, but having empathy is the best way to avoid the road rage. Understand that no one is perfect. The person just shouting at you might have their own reasons, so don’t take everything so personally. There’s always two sides to a story, so don’t be so quick to judge or shout back at them. For example, if somebody is driving slowly, they may get lost and try to find the way. Put yourself in their shoes.

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Put yourself in their shoes to avoid raging (Photo Source: Pexels)

Do Not Honk Unnecessarily

This is a big No. Honking is the action totally out of pure frustration. Not only is it unproductive, it is also irritating to everybody around you. So stay out of trouble by not pressing the honk. 

Do Not Tailgate

It is no point in tailgating, especially when you are trying to avoid unnecessary road rage. Even if the person in front of you is driving slowly in the fast lane, tailgating will give you nothing. With the best situation, the driver will ignore you. However, if they are having a bad day, the drivers become peeved as well as retaliate.

Leave on Time

Last but not least, the best way to avoid road rage is to not have any causes at all. As stated previously, habitual lateness is one of the most crucial driving factors of unsafe driving. For this reason, car owners should check traffic reports for traffic crashes, construction, as well as other delays before leaving. Also, make sure to give yourself plenty of travel time to reach your destination. Always be sure to not be pressured by time so you don’t drive aggressively.