Road rage is good for you
Greta Kooy // Campus Life Editor
Some people do yoga, some people write songs, and some of us casually say “fuck” under our breath 15 times in the confinement of our personal vehicles. Road rage is something we’ve all experienced at least once in our lives, either on the giving or receiving end.
In larger cities like Vancouver, road rage tends to be normalized due to heavy traffic patterns and the number of flustered and irritated drivers. It’s no secret that Vancouver has some of the worst drivers, and for people who drive cautiously and mindfully these drivers can sometimes bring out the worst in them.
A video of an intense road rage incident was filmed in North Vancouver and went viral on Sept. 19. The video shows the drivers of two cars, both stopped at a red light at the intersection of Main St. and Mountain Highway, become physically violent with one another. It’s unclear from the video what caused the altercation, but it resulted in a lot of yelling and a shattered rear window.
Thanks to dash cam footage, as well as video evidence caught on cellphones, recordings of several other road rage incidents can be found all over the Internet. Simply typing in “road rage” into YouTube’s search bar will show hours upon hours of road rage activity, many of which result in the physical assault of one or both parties.
Most people who experience road rage confine their anger to the inside of their cars, but as we can see in the aforementioned video, this isn’t always the case. While we obviously condemn the violence we see in this particular viral video (especially since there was a child in one of the cars), road rage isn’t all about physical retribution. For many of us, it’s simply a way to blow off some much-needed steam, especially after being cut off three times by oblivious drivers.
In fact, casual and non-violent road rage can be a good thing. Cursing has been shown to relieve stress and actually calm you down. Seriously. In a study done at Britain’s Keele University, participants who swore to ease their pain and comfort themselves were able to do so much quicker and increase their pain tolerance. So the next time someone decides to turn left at the last possible second during rush hour, just remember a bunch of psychologists in the UK say it’s essentially therapeutic to release a nice big “fuck you.”
Something as small as not using turning signals, or driving slowly in the fast lane can be particularly painful, especially when we’re in a hurry to be somewhere (as many of us are). At times, frustration towards other drivers can surmount our feelings of understanding when the circumstances are dangerous.
For instance, motorcyclists or bicyclists weaving hazardously in-between lanes can cause a lot of anxiety. So can wannabe drag-racers on the Lions Gate Bridge (who needs a McLaren F1 in Vancouver anyways?). Even the calmest of drivers have experienced these apprehensions, and when our lives are at risk we tend to be defensive.
It’s easy to say “just forget about it,” or “calm down,” but it’s really hard to actually do. If you’ve driven in a busy city for a long time, it can be difficult to “just forget about it” when bad drivers happen to you every single day. Cars are expensive, and our lives are important, so when either is at risk of damage at the behest of terrible drivers, it’s okay to take it personally. It’s okay to get mad. It’s okay to ignore “calm down” in favor of “swear it up.” Just don’t exit your vehicle, otherwise you might end up in an embarrassing viral video.