The stoplight is red. The person in front of you is making a right-hand turn. There is no opposing traffic, and there is not a sign reading “NO TURN ON RED.” You patiently wait, thinking that eventually the person will realize that he can go. After this, one of two things usually happen. One, the person never goes. Two, they go a little before the light changes. Frustrated you make your turn, bitter that you wasted time sitting there when you could already have been on your way.About five minutes of driving go by when another person in front of you tries your patience. On an empty highway, the person in front of you is going 40mph in a 55mph zone. You wish to pass, so you politely wait, thinking the person will change lanes. They don’t. You pull a European, and flash the lights. Nothing. You flash your lights once more. No movement and the person looks at you in their rearview as though insanity has coerced you to suggest they move out of “their lane.” This forces you to either slow down or pass on the right, neither of which you want to do or feel you should have to do. By now your blood pressure has risen dramatically, but you tell yourself it’s nothing to get worked up about. So you pass, with the small sense of indignation growing.
Before you can completely chill out, a car from a perpendicular side street, pulls out in front of you. You almost hit the person, have had to dropped from 65 to 35mph in the span of five seconds, shift from fifth to third and have left the rest of your brakes in the asphalt. Throughout the other two incidents you maintained your cool. But no longer do you have any self-control. Obscenities fly out of your mouth with force, your eyes are bulging out like that lady on TV (You know the one. She can make her eyes pop almost completely out.) and now all the veins in your body are visible. You ask you friends if it’s “National Idiot-Driver Day” as you change lanes and stare the person down.
These situations occur day after day, which lead you to believe that the day devoted to horrible drivers is actually non-existent and people just don’t know how to drive. Your normally easy-going demeanor quickly becomes harsh and callous when behind the driver’s seat. As the incidents grow in number you find that your patience lessens with each situation. Yelling, cursing and frustration occur more quickly and become part of your driving experience as much as putting on your blinker or changing the radio station. If you can put yourself in these situations, you have road rage. Even though I maintain a pretty mellow temperance, I sometimes get road rage. Ok, it’s more than “some-times.”
But, honestly, road rage has gotten a bad reputation. My friends and teammates look at this characteristic as some sort of problem. Ever the optimists, Katie “Gunner” Hazzard and I have decided to make lemonade and offer these positive aspects to being a road warrior.
Road rage is a great way to relieve stress. For those of you too busy for yoga or meditative practices, screaming and yelling at a stranger whom you will never meet ever again is very soothing and convenient. There are no gym fees or membership cards to worry about and no specified times of the activity so you are free to rage at your own will.
This practice allows you to become proficient with non-verbal communication skills. This is important because, as Communications professor Dr. Remland can tell you, non-verbal makes up about 80 to 90 percent of all communicative exchanges.
For people who are shy, road rage allows one to come out of their shell and express himself while taking a stand for what he believes in. Over a certain amount of time, the person becomes more confident and tries this assertion in other aspects of his life.
The following idea is brought into question: If the government doesn’t want drivers to exceed a certain limit of speed, why does it not set a maximum speed for cars in-stead of having machines that can easily go 150 mph?
Cops are given something to do, thus keeping our roads safer which will hopefully lead to idiot-free highways.
Road rage forces one to be aware of all the situations possible on the road and other drivers. Being alert is a necessary characteristic when driving. Because driving is a repetitious act, we as drivers can often become lax when it comes to paying 100 percent attention.
Ensuring that one’s car is in working condition is definitely a benefit of road rage. During the interactions with other drivers, the person is able to check his horn, brakes, blinkers, and headlights all at one time. This is especially important because should one of these fail, an accident could occur.
For those of you who are lucky enough to have Road Rage, find honor in that you are making a difference on setting the standards higher. You shouldn’t feel bad about this valuable trait. Whenever someone puts you down, give them this list of positive aspects and tell that person you are proud to be a Road Warrior.
Jaylyn Bergner is a senior majoring in Communication with a minor in Creative Writing. Please send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.