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Road rage

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Road rage -

Can You Define Road Rage?

It seems like you can't drive more than two miles today without

encountering road rage. Some say that road rage is a national epidemic more

dangerous than drunk driving. Others find it to be a perpetual but

insignificant problem. Needless to say, almost everyone agrees that road rage

is an actual attitude that can be observed on most American roadways. But what

is road rage? Is it some kind of medical condition? A certain habit or

behavior? Or maybe it's an actual traffic accident?

Road rage has a short but interesting history. The term ?road rage?

first appeared in England in 1988 and gained popularity rapidly. Mentioned

only about two dozen times in 1994, there was an extensive increase when the

term was mentioned 400 times the following year. In 1996 the term appeared

1,600 times and has been steadily growing since then. The public has grasped

the term and considers it to be one of the foremost national driving concerns.

In a recent AAA poll 44% of motorists ranked road rage as the biggest threat

on the road while drunk driving ranked second with 31%. Road rage is now an

everyday household term heard on the evening news and read in newspapers daily

(Bowles, Scott, and Paul Overberg).

So what is this new-sprung expression that has received so much

attention in recent years? Numerous people have tried to define the term and

add some clarity to it's meaning. Some have tried to determine it's

psychological significance and apply it to certain people. Others have defined

the term according to traffic violations--speeding, running stoplights and

recklessness. In addition, others have tried to classify it according to poor

driving conduct such as obscene gestures and unkind words. Each of these

definitions are valid interpretations of road rage's meaning (Overberg).

Many psychologists believe road rage to be an aggressive behavior

disorder. Arnold Nerenberg, a psychologist in Whittier, California, is one of

the most prevalent experts on road rage in America. Nerenberg believes that

road rage is a ?mental disorder and social disease,? which involves evolution.

He states that throughout history mankind has had a competitive spirit and

tries to dominate others. Nerenberg defines road rage as ? basically a

maladaptive reaction to an identifiable psycho-social stressor that interferes

with social functioning,? or, more simply put, ?one driver expressing anger at<...

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