On April 14, 2014, Matthew Daniell Conste, an 18-year-old college student, was reportedly punched several times in the face by an unidentified driver of a Toyota Innova (ZOY828).
Conste was with his girlfriend and some friends when happened along Santolan Road in San Juan City, Metro Manila. The driver blocked the car of the student, who had tried to get ahead of other vehicles by jumping lanes in a move called counterflow, which is illegal. Conste said the suspect got mad and attacked him.
Not all motorists are as “lucky” as Conste, who lived to tell his story.
On January 4, 2014, a Solid North bus driver was shot dead in Rosales, Pangasinan, when he sideswiped the side mirror of the green pickup truck of Frederick Joaquin dela Cruz, 35, a Caloocan City (Metro Manila) businessman.
Joseph Villacorta was driving the bus to Cubao, Quezon City (also Metro Manila), when the incident happened. A quarrel between him and dela Cruz ensued. The bus conductor, Melvin Intal, 23, was run over by de la Cruz’s truck. As Villacorta alighted from the bus to confront dela Cruz, he was shot dead by the businessman.
On October 2, 2007, Edgardo Canizares and his passenger Katherine Palmero were traveling along General Roxas Street and Shaw Boulevard in Pasig City (also Metro Manila), when they encountered Manuel Hernandez Jr., a Pasig City Hall legal officer and nephew of a Sandiganbayan justice.
Canizares’ Nissan Cefiro almost hit Hernandez’s Toyota Corolla.
Like the first incident, Hernandez was driving against the flow of traffic. This angered Canizares who stepped out of his car and confronted Hernandez. When Canizares kicked Hernandez’s car, he was shot dead by the legal officer. Palmero was also killed.
On January 10, 2003, lawyer Jose Ramon Ruiz Llamas was cruising along Taft Avenue when his silver gray Toyota Corolla was bumped from behind by a motorcycle (VM 2047). Llamas and the unidentified driver of the motorcycle—believed to be a policeman—argued until the latter pulled out a gun and shot Llamas dead.
These incidents show that traffic congestion not only threatens a person’s physical health but also affects the mind as well. Nowhere is this more evident than in the growing problem of road rage.
Recently, the Land Transportation Office (LTO) expressed concern over the alarming rise of road rage cases in the country. LTO Region I Director Teofilo Guadiz, 3rd said his office is studying the possibility of requiring drivers to undergo psychological examinations before they are issued a license.
“First, we will start with drivers of public utility vehicles. Thereafter, all applicants for driver’s license will be required to undergo a psychological examination or anger management test,” he added.
Guadiz is no stranger to road rage, having handled several cases in the past. Perhaps his most famous case is that of tobacco executive Robert Blair Carabuena who assaulted Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) traffic aide Saturnino Fabros on August 11, 2012.
Carabuena was about to make a left turn on Katipunan Avenue at the intersection of Capitol Hills Drive and Tandang Sora Avenue in Quezon City when Fabros signaled him to go straight, which instruction Carabuena resented. Carabuena’s explosive outburst was caught on video by a TV5 crew. The video has since gone viral on You Tube.
Road rage refers to the aggressive, impulsive or violent behavior of a motorist. This may take the form of rude gestures, verbal insults or deliberately driving in an unsafe or threatening manner.
The term was first used in the United States by KTLA TV newscasters after a rash of freeway shootings that happened in Los Angeles, California, from 1987 to 1988. This is a form of intermittent explosive disorder that includes domestic abuse, throwing or breaking objects, or temper tantrums.
“People with intermittent explosive disorder may attack others and their possessions, causing bodily injury and property damage. They may also injure themselves during an outburst. Later, these people may feel remorse, regret or embarrassment” according to doctors at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota.
“Explosive eruptions, usually lasting less than 30 minutes, often result in verbal assaults, injuries and the deliberate destruction of property. These episodes may occur in clusters or be separated by weeks or months of non-aggression. In between explosive outbursts, the person may be irritable, impulsive, aggressive or angry,” the Mayo Clinic doctors said..
In some, road rage may be preceded or accompanied by other symptoms like irritability, racing thoughts, tingling or tremors. Others may experience palpitations, chest tightness, and head pressure. After the explosive outburst, the person may feel depressed, tired or relieved.
No one knows what causes road rage but researchers said this is common in people who are exposed to violence at an early age. The problem may be inherited or due to the way in which the neurotransmitter serotonin works in the brain.
The risk of road rage increases in people with a history of drug or alcohol abuse and in those who were abused as children. This problem normally surfaces in teenagers and is more likely to happen in men.
To treat road rage, doctors may recommend psychotherapy and the use of drugs to control aggressive behavior. Psychotherapy helps identify the situations that cause road rage and teaches patients how to manage anger.
The Mayo Clinic doctors said drugs that are often prescribed for this problem include antidepressants like fluoxetine and anticonvulsants like carbamazepine, oxcarbazepine, phenytoin, topiramate and lamotrigine. Anti-anxiety agents such as lorazepam and clonazepam, and mood stabilizers like lithium may also help.