Road rage can overcome even the best drivers. Here's how to keep your cool while driving

Photo: traffic on the highway at night

Drivers swerve erratically while on their phones or dart dangerously around other cars. The blare of horns keeps you on edge as traffic backs up. It's enough to test anyone's patience.

In some cases, these feelings may lead to road rage, aggressive driving that's caused from stress or anger behind the wheel.

It often happens when drivers feel slighted, such as another car abruptly cutting them off, said Ryan Martin, psychology professor and associate dean for the College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay.

Some people express their anger on the road such as speeding around a car or pulling over to get into a fight, said Martin, author of "Why We Get Mad: How to Use Your Anger for Positive Change."

"Because they're angry, frustrated and irritated, they make worse decisions than they would otherwise make," he said, "and all of those bad decisions can lead to accidental injury, harm or death."

Others bring the stress that they're feeling at home or work while driving, and something small can trigger them to drive aggressively, said Emanuel Robinson, a psychologist and practice lead and senior research scientist for the Center of Human Performance and Safety at Battelle. The organization is a nonprofit that focuses on applied science and technology research.

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