Road rage is defined as “violent anger caused by the stress and frustration involved in driving a motor vehicle in difficult conditions”. The term has some nice alliteration but a more fitting term would be “car rage”. Perhaps we use road rage because we don’t want to acknowledge the damage and deaths that our passionate and loving embrace of the automobile causes. Tens of thousands of deaths every year, yet rarely a headline in the paper. The deaths are in the paper, just in the small print area inside with some short explanations that will impugn the non-auto parties at every turn. Lots of mentions of crosswalks, lighting conditions, and visibility of clothing but few notes about Big Gulps, radio fiddling, use of phones, makeup application, driving history, or attention paid to road.
If you walk, or ride the bus, or ride a bicycle you don’t experience the same elevation of pulse, stress level, and anger as experienced when driving – especially at high speeds. It seems mostly confined to the experience of driving in an automobile. So perhaps we should retire “road rage” and start using “car rage”. It won’t do much for the victims but it will at least change the conversation a bit and recognize that the most aggressive parties on our roads (which includes in front of our homes, schools, and businesses) are those using motor vehicles.
There is also a definition for “bike rage” and helpfully included in the examples section are all the different attack methods of cyclists. For some reason, in the road rage entry (below) there not similarly prominent categories regarding attacks by car drivers.
Here’s the road rage entry with some bland categories. The mentions of violence included regard shootings: guns = dangerous, cars = Hello Kitty. It’s almost like we don’t take the responsibility and risk of driving a massive vehicle at high speeds seriously.
Drive safe, drive slow, drive less. Avoid car rage.