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    What fuels Road Rage?

    A Trenton man and a Philadelphia man have died from injuries sustained in Road Rage attacks. The incidents have put a renewed spotlight on the connection between rage and driving.

    A Trenton man and a Philadelphia man have died from injuries sustained in Road Rage attacks. The incidents have put a renewed spotlight on the connection between rage and driving.

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    Rage and violence are often fueled by anger, which in turn is triggered by other underlying emotions. Experts say that people who have trouble managing anger are typically feeling shame, anxiety, fear, or have low self-esteem. Kirsten Miller teaches anger management classes at the Council for Relationships in Paoli. She says getting angry in a car is especially dangerous, as there is no social feedback to defuse the situation.

    Miller: the other driver in front of you doesn’t have a face, there may be nobody in the car with you to give you a little reality check. So people get lost in that spinning cycle from being angry, having angry thoughts that then feed the anger.

    Paul Bukovec is the Director of Menergy in Philadelphia, a counseling center for men that addresses anger management and violence. He says many of his clients report getting angry or out of control while driving. Bukovec says their children often are right there, which can create a vicious cycle:

    Bucovec: not only do they learn from the behavior, they learn the excuses and defenses for the behavior. ‘that stupid person blahblahblah”, so they are hearing that it’s the other person’s fault. Many clients talk about that they are using the same excuses that they heard when they were little.

    Kirsten Miller and other anger management experts say people who have trouble controlling anger can benefit from relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, and recognizing underlying emotions that fuel their anger.

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