From a man pulling a gun in a road rage fight in North Carolina to a bruising brawl in the middle of a California highway recently, aggressive drivers are a growing threat on the roads.
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AAA counted 10,000 road rage incidents in a seven-year period with at least 218 ending in a killing. In fact, the Department of Transportation said road rage is up 170 percent since 2007.
Busy intersections can be extremely stressful for drivers, Dr. Ryan Fuller, a psychologist with New York Behavioral Health said.
“They perceive someone cutting them off as just one step too far,” Fuller said about the mindset of an angry driver. “And the majority of drivers, over 50 percent, describe themselves as angry while driving.”
Fuller said all rational thinking goes out the window.
“We’ve had clients, they won’t hear their spouses yelling at them, they won’t hear the police sirens,” he said. “They’re so focused on getting the person in front of them. Everything else is blocked out.”
Fuller said if you’re getting hot under the hood, chill out.
“Monitor your own internal temperature,” he said. “Take a few deep breaths, slow things down and make sure you’re giving yourself plenty of room between you and the other cars.”
And the best way to avoid those dangerous freak-outs is to stay in your car, he said.