One of the things New York City is known for its road rage. The sounds of New York City are always portrayed by loud horns and expletives yelled out of car windows.
This representation of New York causes people to view city residents as being not only angry but also outright aggressive.
Recently, Dallas-Fort Worth was named as having the second-worst road rage in the United States, according to a survey by AutoVantage. What does this mean for the DFW area?
The high ranking may change how people outside DFW see us. Texans are usually seen as being somewhat relaxed, the perception of Texans may now be more strained. This obviously means there is a problem with aggression, showing perhaps a higher level of stress than there had been previously thought in DFW.
Road rage is defined by the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary as “a motorist’s uncontrolled anger that is usually provoked by another motorist’s irritating act and is expressed in aggressive or violent behavior.” Road rage is such a problem because such behavior can be seen by the receptive driver as predatory, and can then lead to aggressive behavior on both sides. In some instances, this aggression is more than just gestures, but leads to actual violence.
Instances of violence caused by aggression led to the term “road rage”. In the late 1980s, a series of shootings on the major highways of Los Angeles caused by aggressive behavior also led to this phrase. The high DFW ranking may cause a problem because of possible events such as those in Los Angeles. Though we are not guaranteed to see such examples, we are at risk.
When we look at New York City citizens compared to Texans, who are usually portrayed as friendly, open and independent, you see a large difference. The typical portrayal of Texans makes the high ranking surprising.
Because the average driver is so affected by road rage, the ranking may change the general outsider’s view of Texans. Our portrayal may go from friendly and kind to aggressive, like a New Yorker. Road rage is not only bad for how we are seen by others, but also how it affects us in DFW. Since road rage can lead to violence, people need to know that road rage is a problem, where it seems to be considered more of a joke right now. There is a need for people to learn more about road rage and how to properly deal with it, perhaps in drivers education or in defensive driving.
If drivers not only know how to properly deal with road rage but also know the signs and how to avoid it, perhaps in the next round DFW will not be so high on the list.
KC Aransen is a sophomore psychology major from Arlington.