Road rage: What triggers it in normal people?

Posted at 5:02 PM, Oct 09, 2018
and last updated 2018-10-09 22:11:38-04

It's video like this one that makes your heart skip a beat.  A semi-truck driver clearly endangered lives on Interstate 10 just weeks ago, weaving in and out of traffic, according to an anonymous viewer who sent us the footage. It was all to cut off and chew out another driver.

"There's an anger issue in our society," said Dr. Steve Albrecht, a threat assessment expert. "People have no patience for each other."

You could say Albrecht wrote the book on road rage. Actually, he said he's writing that book now. 

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"I always say it's the little brain versus the big brain. The little brain is the forebrain. It's sort of primitive, it's intuitive. The big brain is the one that keeps us out of trouble and often times people don't realize that until they're in jail or the hospital or standing in front of a judge trying to explain why they did what they did on the 10," Dr. Albrecht said.

And the effects can be tragic. According to research by the American Safety Council, a whopping 66-percent of traffic fatalities are caused by aggressive driving and 37-percent of aggressive driving incidents involve a firearm.

"People have sort of a desire for revenge," said Dr. Albrecht. "You cut me off, you drove too slowly in my lane, or you didn't put on your signal, so they'll engage in a whole battle with somebody that goes on for miles. They don't look at the consequences of what they do so they could end up in jail, they could end up in a hospital, they could end up dead and often times they don't know the consequences of what they are exposing their kids to."

So if you find yourself getting a little hot under the collar; Albrecht said just breathe slowly, don't make eye contact, and think about getting home safely, especially when there are people there waiting for you.