Getting a Grip on Roadway Anger
"My bias is that they are not addressing the deeper underlying issues
like they should," Messer says. "It's typical of anger management
thinking in this country. ? It seems to be based on the premise that people get
angry after they get in the car. Our finding is that they've been angry for
[many] years. And that driving in the car reactivates and ignites angers of
long standing that have not been identified or relieved."
Getting people to question their belief systems is critical to treating road
rage, says William H. Mueller, PhD, professor of behavioral sciences at the
School of Public Health at the University of Texas in Houston. He says
relaxation training may not have this effect.
"You need to raise people's awareness about their thinking," he
says. "What are the real consequences of a person grabbing my parking
place? You need to get people thinking about the greater scheme of
- Drivers who are hostile are more likely to engage in risky behaviors, get
into accidents, and have speeding violations.
- People who experience road rage can express it in many forms, from
attacking other drivers to allowing anger to ruin their personal lives.
- Two types of anger management programs shown to be effective in reducing
the intensity and frequency of anger while driving are relaxation therapy and
cognitive relaxation therapy.