An ode to Angry Drivers

“Wes” is a professional man who, if you saw walking on the street, you’d easily imagine being jumped by a few teen punks and getting beaten up for his wallet. Wes is nearing retirement age, has a potbelly, doesn’t work out, has grey hair—hardly an imposing figure.

1SBut look out when he gets behind the wheel of his car. Cut him off and he’ll give you the finger and holler out obscenities.

“Dan” has two cars: an old beater and a corvette. He’s mellow in the beater, but something comes over him in the corvette.

Experiments show that the anonymity of being enclosed by two tons of steel, and the group participation aspect of driving (others are also on the road), cultivate a new level of anger and fury in drivers who are otherwise rather complacent people.

An article on mentions an experiment by Ed Diener in which kids were given an opportunity to steal candy on Halloween under various controlled circumstances. The kids stole more when the givers didn’t require their identification, and when the kids were part of large groups, vs. when they were alone and not revealing their names.

This is a no-brainer, but this principle applies to the driver. This is de-individualization: anonymity and group activity. Add to that some sensory overload and emotional arousal, and you have the recipe for road rage.

An added element to the driver is that he can’t intelligently communicate to the other motorist who cut him off or otherwise p’d him off. So drivers resort to rudimentary communication: the finger, a fist, holding down the horn, flashing the brights.

How often shall we give a rude or “stupid” driver the benefit of the doubt? Maybe the driver tail-gaiting you at 80 mph has a passenger who’s in labor. But come on, there are so many irresponsible drivers, you know as well as I that very few have a legitimate excuse for doing something dumb.

Like all those people who drive at night without their headlights on.

And if you’ve ever been pissed off that someone took the parking space you were waiting for, ask yourself if you had your blinker on to let that person know you were there first and waiting. If you were just sitting there without a blinker on for that parking space, maybe the other “jerk” thought you were waiting to drive straight through the lot. But you went ahead and keyed their car anyways.

The article points out that angry drivers operate on emotion, not logic.


  • The article suggests to add a passenger. Sounds great—if you can find someone who’s willing to be your passenger every time you drive.
  • View images of gruesome car accident aftermaths. This might shake you up into being more patient, and thus, safer, on the road.

Robert Siciliano personal and home security specialist to discussing burglar proofing your home on Fox Boston. Disclosures.

10 more Horrible Accidents to avoid

“When it’s your time, it’s your time.” NOT. Most accidents, including freak, are avoidable. Here are more preventable deaths, courtesy of

EMERCommotio cordis. An object (baseball, hockey or lacrosse puck) slams into the athlete’s heart between beats and causes the heart to quiver from ventricular fibrillation. Solution: Dodge the ball. Fatality rates have dropped with the presence of defibrillator devices.

EAH. About 30 percent of endurance athletes (runners etc) who keel over during events die from exercise-associated hyponatremia: too much water intake during the activity, which swells up the brain. During intense activity, limit water to 1.5 quarts per hour. Take plenty of salt with it.

Hypothermia. Only 30-50 degrees can be fatal. Avoid wearing cotton, which traps moisture and exacerbates hypothermic conditions. Wear wool or synthetic clothes. Stuff dry leaves into your clothes to conserve heat.

Killer heat. Heat stroke kills about 675 U.S. people every year. Be prepared with plenty of fluids, and conduct your activity in the morning. Never trek in the dessert without someone knowing your whereabouts.

Cutting trees. The victim saws into a leaning tree, which causes it to topple over, crushing him.

Hunting accidents. No, not from getting shot; from careless climbing of tree stands (wooden boards nailed to the trunk, which can also give way). Climb only when tethered via harness to the tree.

Cliffing out. You’re climbing up a cliff and at some point realize the only way out is to climb to the top, not back down. Never scramble up a cliff you don’t know the length of. Always have with you a device that can send a distress call from anywhere.

Carbon monoxide. After natural disasters, people may use a portable generator to replace the lost power. When these machines run overnight, they may leak carbon monoxide gas. The generator should be kept at least 20 feet from the house.

Glissading. Glissading is sliding down an icy hill, usually on your butt. The slide can get out of control and take you over the edge of a cliff. Avoid this activity, or, if you can’t resist, know exactly where the descent leads to, and have with you an ice axe to self-arrest (which you should be skilled in).

Don’t panic. Ocean rip currents may be invisible. If you’re caught in one, let it carry you beyond its flow so you can then swim alongside it. You’ll eventually reach a point where you can turn back and safely head towards shore.

Robert Siciliano personal and home security specialist to discussing burglar proofing your home on Fox Boston. Disclosures.

Top 10 Horrible Accidents to Avoid

“When it’s your time, it’s your time.” NOT. Most accidents, including freak, are avoidable. Here’s a compilation from

EMERMauled by a mower. Every year in the U.S., about 95 people die by mower when it flips over on a hill and crushes the driver. Don’t mow sideways on a slope; mow up and down.

Wild animals. Never run from wildlife, as this will trigger its chase instinct—chase and kill, that is. Every year in the U.S., three to five people die from wild animal attacks, mostly bears and sharks. Avoid shark infested waters. Carry “bear spray” when hiking/camping. Wear bells and make noise when hiking.

Vicious vending machines. Between 1978 and 1995, vending machines killed 37 people who weren’t quick enough to get out of the way when the machine—after it was aggressively handled by the customers—toppled over and crushed them. Solution: You’re not Fonzie; don’t hit vending machines.

Dam it. The dam appears to be a plane of water as the boater approaches going downstream. However a spinning vortex is created by water rushing over the dam, and can trap the boater. If you get trapped after being capsized, curl up, then drop to the bottom, them move downstream.

Electric shock drowning. Even if you swim like Flipper, you can be electrocuted to death if the water contains cords, that are plugged into a dock outlet. If a dock is wired, don’t swim within 100 yards. If you’re not sure, stay on the dock.

ATV accidents. One-third of ATV fatalities occur on paved roads because the tires, which are designed for traction on unstable ground, produce too much traction, making the vehicle flip. If you must take an ATV on pavement, go in a straight line in first gear.

One wrong move. Ladder falls kill over 700 people a year. Half of ladder accidents involve people carrying something while climbing. To carry things use work-belt hooks.

Shallow-water blackout. How many times have you taken a few big breaths, gulped in a lot of air, then went underwater? This can result in a fatal shallow-water blackout, drowning you.

Straight landing. Have your landing spot decided from 100 to 1,000 feet up to avoid swerving to connect with it. The swerve can interfere with the parachute.

Ford ev’ry stream…with much caution. Shallow streams can pack a force that knocks you and all your heavy gear down, potentially incapacitating you, leading to fatal hypothermia. Test the current by tossing a stick into it. If it moves faster than walking pace, don’t go in. Otherwise, cross at a wide, straight portion of water.

Robert Siciliano personal and home security specialist to discussing burglar proofing your home on Fox Boston. Disclosures.