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  1. #1
    Senior Member Nate1952's Avatar
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    Promises ... and Expectations

    How to explain "road rage"? How is it possible that (otherwise normal) people who are "just driving" can be overcome by such overpowering, unaccountable impulses?

    A consumer culture (such as ours) promises so much that it is not surprising when those promises are not honored.

    When Detergent X promises to make our whites "whiter", and our colors "brighter", we may not notice any changes in our clothes. But, subconsciously, we remember The Promise.

    Now consider the Promises which automobile advertising has consistently offered throughout our lifetimes: empty roads, unlimited speeds, perfect comfort, absolute safety for our children, and a satisfied integration between Man and Machine.

    Every day, you can hear the moist, profound "thunk" when these long advertised expectations hit the experience of Real World Driving.

    This would be one explanation for the emotional volatility of Motorists.

    As an occasional Motorist myself, I can think of another reason - more related to the basics of Human Nature.

    As they seal themselves into their cars Motorists have a certain Expectation of how long their prospective trip should take. In CLUELESS, when Dan Hedaya says "Everywhere in Los Angeles is 20 minutes away from everywhere else...." he is expressing a typical Motorist mindset.

    When the car's engine starts ... so does the Internal Clock.

    And, as has been chronicled in this forum repeatedly, delay ... or the prospect of delay ... or the prospect of the prospect of delay, opens the floodgates of adrenaline and Motorists find themselves behaving in unbelievable ways (with a lethal weapon at their service).

    Here is an axiom which has served me well on the not-so-mean streets of Salt Lake City: "Everyone on the street is in a terrible, terrible hurry ... all the time. Even people on the way to a triple root canal deeply resent any kind of delay".
    Even the old horse in the barn still dreams of galloping a thousand miles....

  2. #2
    Senior Member
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    I believe that road rage comes from the fact that the motorist is physically isolated from those around him, making it easier to ignore them as other human beings.

    Think of the act of walking, if walking early in the morning, when there are hardly any other souls on the street, you tend to greet others who you see, and take them into account. As the streets get more crowded and it becomes harder to relate to individuals, you tend to discount them more and more, until eventually you are elbowing your way through a crowd.

    When you seal yourself inside a car, and are interacting with others sealed within their cars, it is much easier to think of the 'Mammouth Escalade blocking my way' than the 'Mom with three kids going to the park'.

    As a cyclist I do not encounter other cyclists very often - when I do I wave, and in the part of the country where I live, most of the time, they wave back. If I saw 1,000 cyclists on my way in to work each morning, I doubt that I would continue to greet each one, they would cease to be other individuals on bikes, and would become 'traffic'.

    Having a transportation infrastructure which encourages the use of single occupancy vehicles which seal their occupants away from the other users of the road engenders the type of rage that is so typical.

  3. #3
    tired donnamb's Avatar
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    I think you're both right. I see it as a combination of our pressure-cooker modern society and being stuck in a vehicle that gives you little contact with the environment around you.
    "Real wars of words are harder to win. They require thought, insight, precision, articulation, knowledge, and experience. They require the humility to admit when you are wrong. They recognize that the dialectic is not about making us look at you, but about us all looking together for the truth."

  4. #4
    genec genec's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by donnamb View Post
    I think you're both right. I see it as a combination of our pressure-cooker modern society and being stuck in a vehicle that gives you little contact with the environment around you.
    I tend to fully agree... plus the motor vehicle owner is asking themselves why they spent $35K+ just to sit bumper to bumper every day.

    Didn't the ad show their "ultimate driving machine" cruising down empty streets with beautiful mountain views...

  5. #5
    Telemark! TeleJohn's Avatar
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    "I can't get no...satisfaction!"

    -Mick Jagger

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