Road rage: What you're doing to trigger it

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Wednesday, February 7, 2018
Road rage: What you're doing to trigger it
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Road rage: What you're doing to trigger it

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Do you drive excessively over the speed limit? What about tailgating? Do you yell at others with the mindset that you own the road? If you answered yes to any of these, you may be causing road rage, putting others in danger.

That's what happened last December to Hilda Nkepah. She was driving on Westheimer when she noticed two drivers shooting at each other. One of the bullets struck her in the face.

"When I looked in my lap I saw blood on my body" Nkepah told us.

READ MORE: Innocent bystander grazed in Westheimer road rage shooting

Alfredo Garcia lived to share his experience as well, after an enraged driver fired a gun at his truck. Two of the bullets hit him in the back.

"I didn't know if I was going to be alive or not" Garcia said.

READ MORE: Road rage victim tells ABC13 what led to shooting

While these two drivers didn't cause road rage, they were unfortunately on the receiving end of someone's anger.

Forensic psychologist John Vincent said, "What happens when people are angry and stressed, their brains quit working."

It's often triggered by mismanaging ourselves. Many stop making rational decisions after becoming highly agitated or stressed on the highway.

"The people who do road rage almost throw their own emotional gasoline on the fire and get themselves even more ramped up, feeling the need to get that guy" Vincent said.

Other examples that could lead to road rage include:

  • Driving with your high beams on, regardless of oncoming traffic.
  • Using your phone or driving while distracted.
  • Switching lanes without using your turn signal.
  • And driving with the attitude of "all drivers should get out of the way because I'm coming."

Are you the type of driver that lashes out at others because you don't know them?

"In a grocery store, somebody comes up and accidentally bumps you with their shopping cart. You wouldn't think about decking them. But in a car we get this distance between them as a real person, this anonymity if you will," Vincent explained.

That too often sets up the stage for road rage. At the end of the day, self-awareness is the key.

RELATED: Are you causing road rage? Take the quiz