What’s getting drivers worked up? Psychologist breaks down road rage

A recent report by online insurance company, Insurance Quotes, found that Hawaii has the angriest drivers in the nation.

It’s based on the amount of Instagram posts from angry drivers.

So what’s getting drivers so worked up?

KHON2 spoke with a psychologist who specializes in dealing with those who have anger issues, which can lead to incidents such as road rage.

He says there has definitely been an increase in recent years.

Drivers we talked to have seen plenty of cases involving frustrated drivers who wind up losing their temper from the slightest of incidents.

“It happens pretty often on H-1 and then in town here, especially with all the construction going on right now. I think everyone’s just kind of, it gets to them at the end of the day,” said Kahaluu resident Larz Stewart.

“There’s a lot of construction on the road. There’s a lot of traffic and overall, the drivers, they’re really aggressive,” said Wahiawa resident Vernon Ramos.

“All the research shows that there is an increasing escalation in aggressive driving and road rage incidents over the last decade. There’s no doubt about it,” said psychologist Dr. Marvin Acklin.

Acklin has been tracking what causes drivers to get so angry. He says there are certain triggers that contribute to road rage. Traffic delays add stress, especially when drivers are already running late.

There’s also general frustration over other issues that might have nothing to do with driving, but can come out when one is cut off.

“Many of them have many other frustrations in their lives where they kind of feel like they’re not in control, or they’re feeling like they’re small or somebody is taking advantage of them,” said Acklin.

He adds that the study shows that nationally, 97 percent of the drivers in road rage incidents are men. His main advice to those who are dealing with an aggressive driver is not to provoke him or her any more.

“In fact a number of injuries and deaths are associated by counter-aggression, which means that the person who’s being aggressed upon fights back,” said Acklin. “Counter-aggression always escalates.”

There is a movement in the works to cut down road rage. DTRIC Insurance started its Drive Aloha campaign a year and half ago.

“Whenever you’re trying to change some behaviors it may take some time but I think the more we promote this campaign about driving aloha hopefully it will sink in and you’ll see less type of incidents on the road,” said DTRIC Insurance vice president Mike Mishima.

Mishima adds that it would be a good time to practice driving with aloha when the president is in town, as well as during the holiday season, when tempers can flare on the roads and in the parking lots.

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