The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

Reducing road rage

OP/ED
 Reducing road rage
Reducing road rage

Reducing road rage

My relationship with the roads of Dallas and of the surroundingsuburbs has always been a bittersweet affair. Any given dayI’ll spend two to three hours of my life behind the wheel andput a minimum of 60 miles on my car.

And that’s just commuting between home and school.

As much as I enjoy driving, being master of the wheel andcommander of the stereo, my patience for the idiocy of Dallastraffic has worn dangerously thin throughout the years. Especiallyduring the 7-9 a.m. and 5-7 p.m. windows of difficulty known as”rush hour.”

I’m sure any commuter ever caught and held hostage insituations like rush hour, entries to or exits from concerts, Mavsgames or anything of the sort can understand the infamy of which Ispeak. The honking, the tailgating, the flipping-of-the-bird, theexchanging of less-than eloquent speech, the growing tension andthe rising blood pressure … two words: road rage.

The Texas Department of Public Safety recently reported a 143percent increase in road rage related accidents between 2000 and2001. The DPS associates one fatality for each year with theseaccidents.

The same report cites cell phone use while driving has causedrelated accidents to jump by 80 percent between 2000 and 2001.

The end of the report advises “drivers to minimize cellphone usage in their vehicle and refuse to be drawn into the roadrage cycle.”

It’s easy to put the cell phone away while driving. Someparts of the surrounding cities won’t allow the use of a cellphone while operating a vehicle unless with the use of a hands-freeset.

But road rage is a vicious cycle of the soul and not so easilyremedied. The courteous drivers that we learned about indriver’s ed are all but non-existent.

Some drivers, whether in the cockpit of a luxury sports car orin the driver’s seat of a glorified go-cart, don’trealize (or care) that the three-lane crossing on the highway stuntthey just pulled nearly took out your left flank.

Others have not yet grasped the concept that in purchasing avehicle, they also have purchased a set of signal lights. Not usingsignals to let a fellow commuter know that he or she is about tocut the other off is not utilizing the full dollar amount of thepurchase.

And for others, the yellow light does not mean “slowdown.” To these select few, yellow means “gofaster.”

So what are we to do in these situations? Tension, accidents,and even injuries result from such reckless behavior.

The American Heritage Dictionary defines road rage asviolent behavior exhibited by drivers in traffic, often as amanifestation of stress.

Like anger, stress is one’s reaction to any givencircumstance. We usually feel stressed because we worry.

But what’s the point of stress or worry? Worryingwon’t add a day to our lives. In fact, stress and worry canimpede progress. We stress because we worry. We worry because westress. That’s another vicious cycle.

My friends have repeatedly told me that I have horrible roadrage, whether I’m behind the wheel or in the passengerseat.

The minute we’re on the road, it’s good to leave thestress and the worry back at the office, at home, in the classroom,wherever its origin.

Get back into the good habits that would make your mothersmile.

If another commuter commits a minor injustice, don’t seekrevenge. A simple honk will hopefully get his or her attention.

And follow the advice that accompanied the keys to that hot newride (or the family sedan in my case): better to arrive late and inone piece than not to arrive at all.

 

Christine Dao is a columnist for The Daily Campus. She may bereached at [email protected].

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