Vancouver Sun


Road ragers: If other drivers light your fuse, take a deep breath and don’t lose your cool

- BLAIR QUALEY Blair Qualey is president and CEO of the New Car Dealers Associatio­n of BC. You can email him at bqualey@newcardeal­

There’s a standup routine from comic Louis CK on how some peoples’ personalit­ies seem to change when they’re driving.

“I am the worst person I can be when I’m behind the wheel,” quips the comedian, describing his surprising­ly negative reactions and profanity-laced outbursts when a driver cuts him off: “When you’re driving, that’s when you need to be the most compassion­ate and responsibl­e … because you’re driving a weapon.”

It’s a hilarious rant that many drivers can relate to, either based on their own driving or others’. But real road rage is not funny and can sometimes have serious consequenc­es.

We all get impatient occasional­ly, but taking it out on other drivers can land you in trouble. Police can charge road ragers with offences such as reckless driving, which can lead to fines and maybe even higher auto insurance rates. There’s also the potential of damaging vehicles, or worse, causing injury or death.

A California woman was recently charged with murder in what police said was a road rage killing of a motorcycli­st on a freeway. News reports allege she rammed her car into the back of the victim’s motorcycle and then drove over him.

There are also examples of serious road rage cases right here in Vancouver. Earlier this year, a man was reportedly arrested for allegedly punching another driver in a suspected case of road rage. The incident was captured on a dashboard camera and posted on YouTube, where it has since received about a half a million views.

A video of another suspected road rage incident was posted recently, where a driver appears to have been choked, according to news reports.

It’s hard to understand why some people get so angry behind the wheel. In his driving skit, Louis CK notes that people wouldn’t scream or throw a punch at someone who cut them off in an elevator.

What makes driving so supercharg­ed? Psychology Today says some even-tempered people admit they can lose control of their emotions when they get behind the wheel.

“Their fuses get lit when they put their keys into their ignitions,” says the journal in an article on the psychology of road rage. “For some road ragers, it’s a need for control, to counter to other drivers who they feel violate their proxemic space, or their need for possession of their lane or their part of the road. For others, it’s unchecked anger and aggression.”

Regardless of the reason, it’s clear road rage can be dangerous. The stress it causes is bad for your health. The next time you are in your car and your temperatur­e starts to rise, take a deep breath and don’t lose your cool over the acts of another driver. Chances are, it isn’t something worth getting worked up about.

 ??  ?? Police can charge road ragers with offences such as reckless driving.
Police can charge road ragers with offences such as reckless driving.
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