Road rage, anger, frustration speed up when Arlington commuters face traffic, delays

English junior Zach Carter said he can’t help feeling frustrated during his daily 35-minute commute to UTA.

With so many other drivers commuting every day, there are plenty of opportunities to experience irritation or road rage, he said.

“It’s actually, like, an almost irrational anger in a way,” Carter said. “It’s not that big of a deal, but it’ll make me go from zero to 100 real quick.”

During heavy traffic or construction, low speeds exacerbate his frustration, he said.

Stu Bauman, Arlington Public Works and Transportation senior engineer, said construction in Arlington is constant.

Throughout Arlington, the city and the Texas Department of Transportation work to renovate, repair and rebuild streets and freeways.

For example, the Abram Street Rebuild project to narrow the street, which began in spring 2018, will continue until spring 2020, Bauman said. Until then, traversing Abram Street will remain a chore.

On campus, students face another type of traffic: parking. Farouk Salem, Parking and Transportation Services assistant director, said the department continually sells more general student parking permits each year. From 2017 to 2018, it sold about 15,000, and from 2018 to 2019, that number went up to 24,000.

As enrollment increases each year, more students commute to and from Arlington and require on-campus parking, sometimes leading to frustration in the parking garages. Parking and Transportation Services continually renovates its parking options to meet student needs, Salem said.

Construction in Arlington isn’t likely to end any time soon, Bauman said. When people see construction signs, they should know to expect delays.

Sometimes, dealing with construction and the resulting frustration comes down to little things, like leaving the house a bit earlier in the morning.

“It’s all about preparation and expectations,” he said.

Adjunct assistant professor Geoffrey Campbell said people generally think of themselves as “masters of their own fate.”

“If you take a step back and start to look at all the times you act without thinking, it’s pretty eye-opening,” he said.

Getting mad behind the wheel is one of those times, he said. Sometimes, people forget what they can’t control — things like traffic, construction and other drivers.

Cynthia Manzano, Counseling and Psychological Services outreach director, said in an email that anger is a natural human response. However, excessive anger or rage and difficulty managing it can lead to emotional issues, such as depression or anxiety, and can negatively affect relationships and overall well-being.

Everyone has their own methods of coping with negative emotions like anger, Manzano said, but the ultimate goal is to find something easily implementable. Some helpful practices are to fall on social support, exercise, laugh, sleep, look at the situation from another perspective and remain mindful of how mind-set can impact emotional response.

The key is to remain mindful and realize when you’re experiencing anger rather than letting it become a regular occurrence, Manzano said. Verbal or physical aggression are unhealthy and unhelpful in dealing with anger.

Carter said when he’s driving, he listens to science fiction audio books and alternative rock music to help him relax and focus on something more pleasant than traffic or the other drivers on the road.

Bauman recommends using Waze, a Google navigation app, to find the fastest routes.

Any time a major road blockage occurs, the city communicates that information to Waze, and the app updates with the latest information to generate the most efficient travel time.

@CecilLenzen

features-editor.shorthorn@uta.edu

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