Wellness Matters NewsletterAn Experience in Creative Journaling

Courtesy of Life Esteem, Published by Simmonds Publications

Don't Become A Victim of Road Rage

     Road rage is on the increase.  A study by the American Automobile Association reveals that incidents of violence while driving are increasing by 7 percent per year.  For every reported incident of road rage, of course, there are hundreds of more minor situations that go unreported to authorities. Driving is not nearly as safe as it once was when people approached it with more civility.  Although tough laws have begun to address the problem of drunk driving, the legal system has not yet made a similar effort to address the problem of drivers who use vehicles as a means of dealing with their anger.

     The frightening thing about road rage is that any of us can become its victim, either as the aggressor or as the one who suffers from someone else's aggression.  Road rage comes in many forms: blocking other drivers, aggressive tailgating, flashing headlights, verbal abuse and obscene gestures.  In its more extreme manifestations drivers have been assaulted with weapons and run over with vehicles.  Although young men are the most common perpetrators, violent driving has been found in every age group and in both men and women.

     People who resort to road rage are those who feel endangered by someone else's driving (for example, a car following too closely).  They feel vulnerable and threatened, and a natural reaction to these feelings is to get angry. People get angry when another driver is expressing his or her own road rage or when the other driver breaks traffic rules or shows a lack of courtesy.  The other driver is seen as being anonymous, or, if one is angry, an enemy....and research shows that we feel freer to show aggression when the enemy is "faceless".

     Our society does not generally encourage us to learn how to handle our anger adaptively. We often learn that anger is simply not to be expressed at all...and when it is, we view it negatively.  The problem with this approach toward anger is that we never learn to acquire healthy tools for expressing this emotion.  It is difficult to work with something that we do not know.  People who engage in road rage are expressing their anger in a very destructive, and sometimes even deadly, manner.  They show little understanding of the healthy expression of anger.

     The events that precipitate violence between drivers are usually very trivial, and most of those involved in road rage incidents are just ordinary people.  Violent driving is linked to personal frustration, the stresses of everyday life, and our inability to deal adaptively with anger.  With this in mind, here are some hints for protecting yourself from road rage...either as the victim or the perpetrator:

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Nathaniel Gadsden

123 Forster Street
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania 17104
(717) 233-7611
(717) 238-8276
Dr. Nathaniel Gadsden-a trained Counselor and a Family Therapist who is licensed through the National Christian Counselors Association (NCCA).

He is a respected trainer and human relations consultant.  He has conducted many workshops in 5the area of human and personal development, civil rights, and equal opportunity issues.

Counseling areas: premarital, addiction, personal conflict, depression, grief, self-esteem, stress/anxiety and marriage/family.

Patricia Wimms-Gadsden -an associate trained by the Performax Learning Network, she combines over two decades of practical on-the-job human resource experiences with a range of professional activities and personal experiences.

She is an entrepreneur and respected workshop leader she works with businesses, State agencies colleges, school districts, educational agencies and organizations, civic and church groups by conducting workshops and seminars.

Seminars/Workshop topics: cultural diversity, self-esteem, stress management, conflict resolution, leadership development, behavior styles and parenting skills.

 You Can Overcome Road Rage


This newsletter is intended to offer general information only and recognizes that individual issues may differ from these broad guidelines. Personal issues should be addressed within a therapeutic context with a professional familiar with the details of the problems.

La Jolla, CA 92037

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