Why tempers flare on the road and how to keep calm and drive on.
A shaking fist, blaring horns, dangerous lane changes designed to frighten: Road rage takes many forms. But it never advances the goal of arriving safely.
Driving is perhaps the most interdependent activity possible; we encounter dozens or sometimes hundreds of other people during any given commute. In big crowds, like the concourse at a Jets game or walking through a busy mall, people tend to get along. But surround a driver with the anonymity of being inside a vehicle, and that same person who would quickly forget being jostled in a crowd flies into a rage at the smallest of driving inconveniences.
"Road rage typically has more to do with the current emotional state of the driver than the specifics of the driving infraction," says Constable Rob Carver of the Winnipeg Police Service. Being late, worry over a frustrating situation at work or anger at some other life distraction can easily turn a minor incident into a life-changing altercation.
Manitoba Public Insurance (MPI) is trying to change that. The provincial public auto insurer has launched a campaign called Friendly Manitoba, which urges Manitobans to better manage their emotions behind the wheel.
MPI's anonymous survey of 1,500 drivers suggests three in 10 drivers admit to engaging in road rage. But their frustration behind the wheel doesn't actually help them on the road: The survey shows that drivers who maintain their anger-free composure are 35 percent less likely to be involved in collisions.