Your health
Tips for reducing road rage

By Buck Black, LCSW, LCAC

Spending up to 11 hours a day on the road, truckers have a unique view into human behavior. There is a lot of opportunity while driving to have a misstep: Getting cut off by another driver, missing an exit or turn, or being stuck in traffic can all lead to irritation. In extreme cases, this irritation can turn to aggressive driving - also known as road rage.

A minority of truckers are the ones with road rage. More often, it is the general public who turns aggressive and truckers are the recipients. Remember that people often like to blame others, and truckers are easy targets. I often see commercials from attorneys who specialize in wrecks involving cars and semis. Of course, they are assuming the truck is at fault.

Although the general public is usually responsible for the unsafe and discourteous driving, professional drivers are not immune to road rage. They are people, too. Really, isn't this equivalent to anger in the office or in the factories where many work? Emotions can get to us all. Drivers are often stuck in the middle with their company, shippers, receivers, their families and even the police.

Remember, road rage really isn't about the anger you see on the road. Rather, it is more about the variety of feelings and emotions the driver is experiencing. Disappointment, feeling disrespected, depression, stress, need for control, and a whole slew of other emotions are the true feelings that cause road rage. Ask yourself what your main emotion is the next time you discover you are becoming angry. By identifying your root anger, you will be able to address the problem, instead of focusing on your anger.

The next time you are feeling rage behind the wheel, think about this: How many people yell, scream, and get in a physical fight when someone steps in front of them on the sidewalk? How about if they bump into you? In fact, this hardly ever happens. Why does this happen if you are in a vehicle? It is the separation of people that causes this. Each person is in their rolling bubble, where they feel more anonymous and interactions are significantly less personal. Therefore, they are more likely to behave in harsh and rude ways.

Remember that professional drivers are constantly in the public eye, and they have a job to do. Unfortunately, the public is not going to look more favorably toward trucks anytime soon. Stay professional and follow your training. Be sure to set the example on the road in order to keep everyone safe. The calmer you are when behind the wheel, the better career you will have. LL

Buck Black is a licensed clinical social worker therapist who specializes in helping truckers and their families with anger and stress management, as well as depression and relationship problems. He does this over the phone, and Skype at TruckerTherapy.com. This column is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the opinions of Land Line Magazine or its publisher. Please remember everyone's health situation is different. If you have questions regarding medical issues, consult your personal physician.