Thursday, December 07, 2006

Road Rage… Special Considerations for Motorcycle Riders

An enlightening 1997 CNN, U.S. News article stated, “Road Rage runs rampant in high-stress U.S. society,” and furthermore said, “For the fourth year in a row, the death toll on America's highways climbed in 1997, thanks mainly to a new malady known as "road rage… (and) more than 41,000 died in traffic accidents, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The government agency says that two-thirds of those deaths were the result of road rage. ( And remember, that was almost 10 years ago!

Firstly, let’s recall what road rage is. According to Roadragers (, “Road rage (also road violence) is the informal name for deliberately dangerous and/or violent behavior under the influence of heightened, violent emotion such as anger and frustration, involving an automobile in use.” They also say, “People easily grow tired of the ‘idiots’ they see on roads every day. Many develop road rage by giving in to their own frustration.” (

During a recent motorcycle ride with friends, a road rage driver confronted me. In spite of my fear and nervousness, I fortunately was able to remain calm. (I saw his hand gestures, but doubted that it was because he was hearing-impaired, and even though I concluded that one of his rants included something about my mother I doubt that it was affectionate.) I tried to remember all of the excellent suggestions for safe motorcycle riding. And if you’re not familiar with them, those listed and discussed by About:Motorcycles in its article, “10 Ways to Be Safe on a Motorcycle,” are excellent ( Likewise, so is the article, “Road Rage and You; A MO Look at Staying Alive in the Jungle” by Bikebandit (

I strongly suggest you look at the insightful piece by Roadragers entitled, “Advice: How to Avoid Road Rage.” (roadragers) In it, for example, it states, “Have you ever experienced a bad day and you just didn't feel like yourself? Then, some ‘jerk’ makes you angry on your drive home. These are conditions that are perfect for road rage, and almost everybody has experienced them. The only difference between you and a road rager is how you deal with these feelings.”

Based on my experiences with road rage, I offer the following six reminders:
1. Stay calm and avoid eye contact (eye contact can be perceived as an act of aggression, and don’t respond, verbally or non-verbally, either);
2. Get away from him or her as soon as possible (it’s not being a coward – it’s being smart);
3. Stay around other vehicles (there’s comfort in numbers);
4. Get on your cell phone (he or she may think you’re calling 911 and leave the situation);
5. Do not pull over into an isolated area (such as an empty parking lot); and,
6. If you’re on a motorcycle, remember these above five suggestions in Bold Letters – being on two wheels, you’re at least twice as vulnerable.

Be safe and enjoy the ride, Bill

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