Road Rage has become a very widespread and disturbing phenomenon. Our constant admonition to students to avoid driving when angry. Anger leads to poor driving decisions.

There is a saying attributed to Benjamin Franklin, “When passion (i.e. anger) rules, it rules badly.”  That is very true about driving while angry.

As one example, here is a dash cam video of a road rage incident on a U.S. Interstate highway. The caption on the video says “Motorcyclist kicks car in road rage incident, triggers chain reaction car crash on California highway….”

We disagree with the caption. Although the motorcyclist definitely kicked the first car, that kick would not have been enough to “trigger” the subsequent events. We suggest the car driver responded to the motorcyclist’s kick, in anger, by jerking the steering wheel hard to the left, possibly trying, in anger, to run the motorcyclist off the road and into the concrete barrier. By making that sudden movement of the steering wheel at highway speed, the driver lost control of the car and thus triggered the events that followed.

That does mean in any way that we don’t consider the motorcyclist responsible for the initial road rage incident. But the car driver’s angry reaction to the motorcyclist’s kick, not the initial kick itself, is what caused the car to go out of control.

We always tell our students to avoid sudden movements of the steering wheel at highway speed. This video illustrates the reason for that very well.

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