But what makes normally sane people change so drastically as soon as they step in their car.
Road rage is nothing new, in a 1950 Disney short animated film called Motor Mania a gentle Goofy turns into a monster behind the wheel, a Jekyll and Hyde story. https://youtu.be/hk-c5jlk48s
Psychology studies show that people are most likely to more antisocial when they are anonymous and a part of a group, sitting cocooned in your car you are anonymous behind your windscreen but a member of a group in the traffic. Your normal means of communication have been removed meaning a polite, ‘I’m sorry’ is difficult to express when you know you have made a mistake. Finally, we are also more reliant on our gut reactions e.g. all cyclists are road hogs, women are bad drivers or hat wearers on a Sunday being slow.
When you combine all these elements it is a perfect storm for people to lose all humanity and reason and act in a way they would never normally consider.
Is there anything you can do?
The risk of us turning into savage beasts is alleviated when we have a passenger, you are no longer anonymous and they may not take the same view as you even though they have the same viewpoint.
Accepting that we all make mistakes is also a useful tool when considering the actions of others, if anyone ever tells you they are a perfect driver, then they are lying.
But finally, it may be worth installing a dashcam, these tools could calm your own aggressiveness, watch near misses back on the footage and gauge your reaction in the cold light of day.
But if you are a victim of brake checking, your dashboard camera will protect you and maybe even get the perpetrator off the road for a good long time and a chance to reflect.
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