Road rage: A small group infographic project

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Road rage has been in our local news this spring. Last month, a man was found guilty of aggravated battery with a deadly weapon with a firearm enhancement for shooting a bicycle rider in October 2022. The man was driving a vehicle that almost hit the bike rider. The bike rider yelled at the driver. The driver got out of his vehicle and pushed the bike rider to the ground. The bike rider got up and pushed the driver back. When the bike rider turned to walk away, the driver pulled out a handgun and shot the bike rider in the face. The driver got back in his vehicle and drove away. The bike rider survived the shooting. There were a number of witnesses to the incident who photographed the license plate of the driver’s vehicle so identifying the driver was not difficult (Groves, 2024). Sentencing will be at a later date.

On May 24, 2024, an older driver and a teenage driver pulled into the parking lot of a high school. Witnesses saw the two drivers exit their vehicles. The teenager pulled out a gun and shot the older driver. The teenager drove away. The older driver died at the scene. The police are still sorting out the cause of the shooting, but they believe road rage is likely. The teenager is in custody (Ibave, 2024).

To anyone who tends to get angry with other drivers, please leave your guns at home—ideally, locked up where children and thieves cannot get to them.

Angry drivers—even without a firearm—are still in control of a deadly weapon. Our vehicles are effectively missiles—2,000 pounds of projectile, loaded with several gallons of flammable liquids, and with the ability to travel at over 100 miles per hour. Within seconds, an angry driver can kill another person. Because the angry driver was unable—or unwilling—to regulate their emotions, a person is dead and the angry driver is headed to prison for murder.

In this open access article (Bjureberg & Gross, 2021), researchers offer a model for how the emotions in a road rage experience come into being (emotion generation) and how a driver can use emotion regulation to short circuit those emotions.

One of the American Psychological Association’s integrative themes is “applying psychological principles can change our lives, organizations, and communities in positive ways” (APA, 2022). Here is an opportunity to give your students a chance to do just that. Divide your class into eight small groups. If your class is larger, divide the class into 16 or 24 small groups. One group is assigned the task of illustrating the problem with road rage. Each of the remaining groups is assigned one of seven emotion regulation strategies from the article.

  • The problem with road rage
  • 4.1.2 Identification-stage strategies
  • 4.2.2 Selection-state strategies
  • 4.3.2 Implementation‐stage situational strategies
  • 4.3.3 Implementation‐stage attentional strategies
  • 4.3.4 Implementation‐stage cognitive strategies
  • 4.3.5 Implementation‐stage response modulation strategies
  • 4.4.2 Monitoring‐stage strategies.

Each group’s task is to create an infographic that illustrates the problem (group one) or the strategies (groups two through eight). Work with the powers-that-be at your institution to get the infographics printed and posted. If budget limitations mean only being able to post them in your classroom, then at least everyone who comes through your classroom will see them. Even if your students are online, their infographics can still be posted in a psychology classroom.

Because the posters will be publicly displayed, do at least one round of peer review where the members of two other groups review another group’s infographic. Because students can be reluctant to critique the work of their fellow students, explain that it’s better that the critiques come from classmates than from everyone else at your institution once the infographics go public. To drive the point home, consider requiring each peer reviewer to note at least one area where the infographic can be improved. Points will be docked for not noting one area of improvement. Here is a sample rubric your students can use to evaluate their own work and the work of their peers.

If you are not an expert at designing infographics—I know I am not—this website has some tips.

If you are feeling especially sporty, partner with a graphic design instructor at your institution. Once your groups know what information they want to convey, each of your groups would be partnered with one or more graphic design students who would actually design the infographic. Make clear, however, that the final approval of the design would come from your groups.

 

 

References

APA. (2022). Psychology’s Integrative Themes. American Psychological Association. https://www.apa.org/ed/precollege/undergrad/introductory-psychology-initiative/student-learning-outc...

Bjureberg, J., & Gross, J. J. (2021). Regulating road rage. Social and Personality Psychology Compass, 15(3), e12586. https://doi.org/10.1111/spc3.12586

Groves, J. (2024, April 11). The man who shot NMSU student Daniel Garcia in a road rage found guilty by Las Cruces jury. Las Cruces Sun-News. https://www.lcsun-news.com/story/news/crime/2024/04/11/road-rage-shooter-found-guilty-by-las-cruces-...

Ibave, D. (2024, May 24). Juvenile in custody after deadly road rage shooting at Anthony, NM high school. KFOX. https://kfoxtv.com/news/local/shooting-outside-empty-anthony-nm-high-school-prompts-lockdown-no-inju...

About the Author
Sue Frantz has taught psychology since 1992. She has served on several APA boards and committees, and was proud to serve the members of the Society for the Teaching of Psychology as their 2018 president. In 2013, she was the inaugural recipient of the APA award for Excellence in the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning at a Two-Year College or Campus. She received in 2016 the highest award for the teaching of psychology--the Charles L. Brewer Distinguished Teaching of Psychology Award. She presents nationally and internationally on the topics of educational technology and the pedagogy of psychology. She is co-author with Doug Bernstein and Steve Chew of Teaching Psychology: A Step-by-Step Guide, 3rd ed. and is co-author with Charles Stangor on Introduction to Psychology, 4.0.