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Territoriality and anonymity contribute to road rage

Anyone stuck in heavy New Jersey traffic might know how easy it is to become angered by other drivers. Road rage is the name for this hostile behavior behind the wheel. Examples include using obscene gestures, cutting off drivers and honking the vehicle's horn.

A CBS news report about road rage cited surveys in which half of all drivers admitted to feeling road rage. An anger management counselor and licensed psychologist explained some of the factors that contribute to this aggression. People often have a need to defend their territory; when someone feels that his or her car is threatened, an angry response is possible. The security one might feel while enclosed within their vehicle can also make a person feel powerful, even invincible.

Psychology also points to the anonymity created for people within their cars. The sense of human connection experienced is face-to-face situations is missing. This lack of connection opens the door to offensive behavior. Anger can become harder to control. Outside of vehicles, people are often able to contain their emotions and behave more appropriately.

These psychological forces can lead to dangerous thinking. The actions of other drivers can become unpredictable when they are enraged.

Aggressive and reckless actions behind the wheel could cause car accidents. When someone is injured in a car crash, he or she might be able to recover compensation for injuries if the other driver failed to show a duty of care while driving. An attorney might be able to identify evidence in an accident report that points to motorist negligence. The assembly of a civil claim and representation in court are other ways an attorney might support an injured person seeking damages.

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