A continuing rise in road rage may reflect a waning of religious faith and discipline
Sep 13, 2013
|What would Jesus do?|
Road rage is on the rise says the Washington Post, which polled people around the District of Columbia. It found the proportion of drivers admitting to often feeling “uncontrollable anger” at a fellow driver had doubled since a 2005 poll, to 12 percent.
The American Automobile Association got a similar result when it tracked police reports through the 1990s: traffic disputes that got violent rose 50 percent across America over one five-year period. According to a new Canadian study of eight years of complaints posted on Roadragers.com, the acts which most often trigger road rage are: cutting in and weaving (comprising 54 percent of posts), speeding (29 percent) and hostile displays (25 percent).
What’s causing it?
Underlying explanations differ widely depending on the source: sociologists suggest our sense of community is breaking down. Psychologists suspect that driving imparts a dangerous mix of entitlement and invincibility. Leon James, a University of Hawaii professor and author of Road Rage and Aggressive Driving, told the Post their 12 percent who admitted to road rage were just the honest ones. James’ own tests found 30 percent admitting to raging, while 85 percent had experienced it from other drivers, making James believe almost everyone rages.
But surely both numbers could be true: a smaller percentage of aggressive drivers impact many non-ragers as they weave through crowded traffic lanes. When they cut off another of their ilk, there is mutual rage: i.e. the New Jersey detective who recently shot and killed another driver, or the man and woman who waved a knife and gun at each other from separate vehicles on a D.C. expressway in March.
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