As more vehicles hit the road, more traffic ensues, which means more people will experience the effects of road rage. Drivers can become easily upset by other’s unsafe behavior—whether that means quick lane changes, brake slams, or slow driving. As a result, this anger can lead to some pretty serious long-term health implications. In fact, Paul Turner from the Australian motoring organization RACQ said that “Being an aggressive driver could actually kill you in the long term.”
There are a few different ways that road rage affects your health. As such, the sooner people can learn to stay calm in any traffic situation, the better it will be for everyone.
What exactly is road rage?
Road rage stems from anger—the normal emotion that’s a part of the human experience. Almost everyone has experienced some form of anger when they’re behind the wheel. In fact, many U.S. drivers report they express some sort of anger, aggression, or road rage at least once a year. However, for a lot of people, they experience some form of road rage at least once a day.
Oftentimes these strong emotions come from a triggered fight or flight response—this may stem from someone cutting them off or having to brake suddenly. Since this occurs while a person is in the car, they can’t necessarily flee, so many people turn to fight.
Drivers tend to blame others in the heat of the moment, even if they may be in the wrong. When in the comfort and privacy of your vehicle, emotions run high, profanities spill out, and that’s when the rage starts to take its toll on your health.
How does road rage affect my health?
Road rage affects people in a few different ways. Aggressive driving heavily increases a person’s stress, which can lead to a few different consequences.
First, road rage can cause drivers to make simple errors at first; however, those can lead to missed turns and near misses with other drivers on the road. For example, an individual may cut off another vehicle, causing the car that was cut off to swerve into the other lane. This could potentially lead to casualties.
Stress on the road can have numerous adverse effects off the road as well. For example, it may cause long-term high blood pressure, which can then lead to heart disease. For years, research has shown that consistent high stress can lead to a lot of adverse health conditions. Road rage is one of those aspects that contribute to daily stress.
In short, road rage can lead to the following health issues:
- Elevated stress levels
- Consistent high blood pressure
- Increased heart rate, which combined with high blood pressure can cause buildups in blood vessels to loosen, therein leading to clots in the heart or brain
- Chance of triggered heart attack or stroke
Remember to take care of yourself and the people around you. After a few deep breaths, you’ll be able to avoid road rage and drive safely.