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Coping with road rage

Twenty minutes is a long time to stay mad. According to Virginia State Police, that's how long it took two drivers to work out their issues on Interstate 95, with a most unsatisfactory result. Both men are charged with attempted murder after a Tuesday afternoon duel between a dump truck and a Jaguar along four miles of southbound interstate in Prince William County.

A court will have to sort out exactly what happened, but the incident offers us a chance to discuss a topic that was all the rage a few years ago, but only occasionally arises now, in an age when we're more likely to be distracted by cellphone users and texters.

Our local jurisdictions did pass laws that enhanced the charges against road rage. And police do conduct their periodic Smooth Operator campaigns against aggressive drivers.

Still, the phenomenon seems to have a lower profile now. Driver anger seems to come up most often when we discuss the rules for merging on crowded roadways. I periodically urge people not to self-deputize and attempt to enforce traffic laws without benefit of a badge. Nor is it necessary for a driver to prove his righteousness to a total stranger in these situations. Just let it go.

This is very common advice for avoiding road rage:
* Leave yourself enough time for the drive. Anxiety contributes to road rage.
* Don't take it personally. You don't have to prove anything to a complete stranger.
* Don't let issues that have nothing to do with driving cloud your judgment in reacting to a traffic incident.
* Get some sleep. Tired drivers -- and we have lots of them in the Washington region -- are prone to be irritable.

Some sources of that advice:
Top 10 Tips to Prevent Road Rage at
Road Rage at AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety
The Symptoms of Road Rage by Dr. Leon James, University of Hawaii

By Robert Thomson  |  March 25, 2010; 1:00 PM ET
Categories:  Safety  | Tags: Dr. Gridlock, road rage  
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Another suggestion would be to vote for Ron Paul which would eliminate the attractiveness of getting such privileged jobs with the leviathan-sized US Empire. Regards,

Posted by: jhope432 | March 25, 2010 1:50 PM | Report abuse

"I periodically urge people not to self-deputize and attempt to enforce traffic laws without benefit of a badge."

It would probably have some benefit if those with badges would actually bother to enforce traffic laws.

Posted by: corrections | March 25, 2010 2:05 PM | Report abuse

There's a lesson here: When seconds count, police are 20 minutes away.

Posted by: corrections | March 25, 2010 2:18 PM | Report abuse

Bush's fault.

Posted by: wpjunk | March 25, 2010 2:50 PM | Report abuse

Anger management classes should be mandatory for anyone wishing to obtain a drivers liscense. Driving is not a right, but a priviledge. Of course, when Obama is done, gas will cost over $6.00 a gallon anyway - few will afford to drive.

Posted by: CubsFan | March 25, 2010 4:19 PM | Report abuse

Enforce the law and stop people from using the left lane as a cruising lane and road rage will disappear overnight. This one problem causes most of the trouble and turns every highway into a mess of people jockeying for position.

Posted by: bosson | March 27, 2010 11:11 AM | Report abuse

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