Help! I get mad when people don’t follow rules on the roads!

Question: I get ‘mad’ when I see others violating traffic rules. It makes me so angry!!!

Answer: You are likely to be a person who values rules on the roads and who strongly believes in the utility of following rules for your own safety and for the benefit of all road users. This is excellent and may your tribe increase! You are also likely to be someone who expects (perhaps demands) that everybody else also believes and behaves as you do when it comes to following rules! Now, it is this part which becomes a source of your frustration and anger.

There is nothing wrong in wishing people behave as you do- on the roads. But when you carry this around in your head as a rigid expectation from each and every person you encounter on the road – while driving/riding- you are often likely end up feeling angry as well as helpless…

High levels of anger on the road when combined with low /impaired ability to regulate or control anger-expression can also lead to road-rage/aggressive behaviours (acts of verbal /physical aggression).

Even if you are a person who does not express anger towards others on the roads; if you experience anger repeatedly while on the road, it affect your state of mind, stresses you and can affect your driving as well as your health.

Question: So is it wrong to wish that other road users show safe and respectful road behaviours?

Of course not! In fact, we wish the same as you do!

We also suggest that we can make a difference by contributing to the cause of road safety in our own little ways….

Here are some things you can do- this would perhaps channelize your anguish in constructive directions: 1 Can you form a small group of like-minded persons and engage in road safety campaigns in your neighbourhood or on your social networking site? 2. Can you motivate your peers to take an oath about safe and respectful driving behaviours? 3. Can you create a powerful presentation/a street play/a video clip to teach school going children (budding independent road users) about the value of traffic rules? 4. Can you gently persuade a reckless friend /colleague of yours to take care of himself/herself on the road because you are fond of him/her?

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” Margaret Mead

Expert: Dr Seema Mehrotra. Professor of Clinical Psychology,

NIMHANS, Bangalore