Photo by Rolando Garrido

Angry Drivers

Do you find yourself getting angry with other drivers? Have you been known to yell, curse at them or use hand gestures to make your point?

Public Submission

- By Gwen Randall-Young

October 14, 2023

"Anger is a killing thing: it kills the man who angers, for each rage leaves him less than he had been before - it takes something from him." ~ Louis L'Amour

Granted, driving can, at times, be frustrating. It seems to me it is a little like rows of people marching. If everyone stays in their place and all go at the same rate, then there is perfect precision. Alas, drivers do not do that.

Some are in a hurry, others are daydreaming. Some are cautious drivers, others tend to be reckless. Some are very good drivers with the ability to think and act quickly; others are, well, just slow. Even the best drivers can occasionally miss someone in their blind spot or be momentarily distracted, even without a cellphone.

We all deal with the same drivers out there. So why do some get so bothered and upset by the driving experience? How we react on the road is probably a function of some aspect of our personality, and it likely shows up elsewhere in our lives.

The angry, impatient driver no doubt shows anger and impatience in other areas of life. This person tends to feel a little superior, and those who do not act quickly enough or in the desired way are "idiots."

This person also may be judgmental toward others and has hard time seeing things from another's perspective. It is likely that this person demonstrates tension and stress and has a low frustration or tolerance level. He or she may have conflicted relationships with others and may find it hard to truly relax.

Frequent irritability while driving may well be a clue that it is time to re- think perspectives and reactions to life. Some anger management strategies may also be in order.

This is important insofar as it affects others, but also in terms of its effects on the health of the reactive individual. Chronic anger and frustration have a negative effect on physical and emotional wellbeing. We may see high blood pressure, ulcers, headaches, digestive problems, and immune system suppression, as well as anxiety and depression.

If you are always in a hurry, then leave earlier so you do not stress about being late and take it out on other drivers. Why have a livelong battle with others who do not drive the way you think they should? Why get yourself all stressed before work, or on the way home with your family? Truly, driving is not a race, and you are not the "road police."

If you are "sick" of bad drivers and they make you "crazy" it is time to do something. You are saying you are sick and crazy because of them. We cannot change other people; we can only work on ourselves, so that is the place to start.

Gwen Randall-Young is an author and award-winning psychologist. For permission to reprint this article, or to obtain books, CDs or MP3s, visit Follow Gwen on Facebook for inspiration.
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