Anger and Driving

Anger and Driving

Powerless, Contagious, Dangerous
is a cry of powerlessness. People get the most angry, resentful, or impatient when they feel the most powerless. Blaming powerless feelings on others makes you even more powerless, unleashing the survival-based fight or flight response of anger, the most contagious of all emotions. People make you angry, you make them angrier; the problem passes car by car down the road. Without skill in emotional regulation, we are all at the mercy of anger-junkies, who use anger for energy and pain-relief. Anger dilates the eyes, distorts depth perception, makes the foot heavier on the gas, and destroys sound judgment. Chronic anger and resentment predict higher levels of drinking. If people get tense and irritable while driving they are more likely to drink, with further deterioration of motor skills and judgment.

Degraded Judgment

Impaired Motor Skills

Thought constriction Muscles/organs prepared to fight
Poor reality testing Escalating overreaction
Narrow and rigid focus Exaggerated visual periphery
Impaired problem-solving “Heavy foot” on the gas
Misreading environmental cues Diminished depth perception
Blame Exhaustion: delayed response

Empowered Drivers: Self-respecting and Respectful
Empowered drivers regulate their emotions to ensure behavior that is always in their best interest. They control themselves, not the road. They increase their self-respect through respect for everyone else on the road. Powerless drivers make themselves and everybody around them angry, resentful, impatient, and irritated.

Anger and Aggressive Driving Linked to Family Violence

The Maryland Motor Vehicles Administration analyzed the driving records of 300 persons court-ordered to attend classes at CompassionPower for family violence violations and found that:

  • 2/3 had multiple aggressive driving violations (M=3.4 for the whole group) the year before domestic violence intervention.
  • Family violence intervention reduced violations by 98% the year following treatment, which was three times better than standard driver improvement intervention.
  • 86% of the same group was free of family violence after one year, based on report of the victim.

AngerMaking the Home and the Road Safer at the Same Time
These data suggest that: ” People who use aggression at home are likely to use it on the road as well. ” Making other drivers angry on the road can lead to family violence ” Aggressive driving, unlike careless driving, may require conditioning in impulse-control to regulate ” Stricter enforcement of traffic laws with impulse-control intervention as a consequence of violations may prevent family violence.

Free Anger Quiz!!