The number of road rage cases, especially in Southwest Ohio, are accelerating out of control.
From last year, when a man on a motorcycle on U.S. 50 near Lawrenceburg dismounted and began pummeling another man; to Wednesday night, when a local couple were arrested for an alleged road rage incident in Hamilton County, after investigators said one of them fired a handgun at another driver, the road rage incidents keep piling up.
Statistics released last week by the Ohio State Highway Patrol show out of 88 counties, two of the top five for road rage are in the greater Cincinnati area, Warren and Clermont Counties. Statewide, there were 1,765 road rage incidents reported to OSHP in 2018.
By 2022, that number had grown 15% to 2,043. Locally, the numbers are even more dramatic. In Warren County, there were 81 road rage incidents in 2018. By 2022, that had increased 31% percent to 117 incidents. In Clermont County there were 58 road rage incidents in 2018. In 2022 there were 89, that’s an increase of 35%.
“A lot of the population from Hamilton County is increasing to Butler, Warren and Clermont Counties,” said Lt. Dexter Howard, of the Ohio State Highway Patrol’s Clermont County post. “So as the population is coming in, and the roads are still trying to account for the traffic, it’s clogging things up and people are getting more angry.”
Lt. Howard said if someone is raging on you, here’s what you should do. “Utilize 911, utilize #667, try to separate yourself from the incident, I’m not saying pull over on the side of the interstate, but change lanes, decrease your speed, exit. If there’s a police station close, and it’s continuing to escalate, respond to that police station.”
But what if you are the rager? A therapist from Cincinnati Center for DBT helps clients with anger management issues. She said the reaction is chemical.
“You’re trying to re-regulate your central nervous system,” said Alyssa Eicchorn, LPCC-S. “All those chemicals are worked-up, you have to get them worked down.”
Eicchorn said to inhale through your nose deeply and hold it for several seconds, then exhale deeply through your mouth about twice as long as your inhale.
“When you hold your breath, it activates your dive response, which will slow down your heartrate, send blood to your vital organs, and it will give you a moment to slow down,” said Eicchorn.
Eicchorn also said any emotion we feel, like rage, will only last 90 seconds if it’s not fueled by thoughts about the incident. So, she said, find something to distract your thoughts, maybe a song on the radio, or a conversation with someone in the car with you. The feelings of rage will fade quickly.
Dialectal Behavioral Therapy’s TIPP method of controlling rage:
Temperature: Change the temperature. This can be done many ways, such as splashing cold water on your face, or holding a cold drink to your face or wrists.
Intense exercise: Preferably, you would do aerobic exercise for at least 20 minutes. This may not be a good one for the car. But if you can, pull over, get out of your car, and run or jump for several minutes.
Paced Breathing: Breathe in for 4 seconds through your nose, hold your breath for a few more seconds, and breath out through your mouth for eight seconds.
Paired Muscle Relaxation: Work from toe to head or head to toe. Tense your muscle as hard as you can while you breathe in, and as you breathe out release the tension.