Mental health expert offers tips for fighting road rage - KPTV - FOX 12

Mental health expert offers tips for fighting road rage

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Photos show a road rage incident in September that led to one driver pulling a gun on another driver after the two pulled onto a shoulder of I-205 near Oregon City. (Photo courtesy of Russ Ceperich) Photos show a road rage incident in September that led to one driver pulling a gun on another driver after the two pulled onto a shoulder of I-205 near Oregon City. (Photo courtesy of Russ Ceperich)
PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) -

All too often, a new case of road rage in the Portland metro area emerges into the spotlight, showing how the problem seems to be getting worse as traffic in town intensifies.

Just weeks ago, a man was caught on camera waving a gun at another driver. Days later an incident in Washington state led to a Marine veteran losing a foot. This summer a road rage incident between two cars and two motorcycles sent two people to the hospital.

Portland police say road rage incidents are reported to them in so many different ways it's impossible to keep track.

Carl Casanova is a Life Coach at New Vibe Training in southwest Portland, and he says he is helping people work through their road rage issues constantly.

"They say that we live in the age of rage," he explained. "Everyone is different and they manage their anger differently."

Casanova says a person's anger typically stems from a much bigger problem. Often times, he notes, it's easier for people to take out their frustrations on complete strangers because of the notion they'll never see them again.

"It escalates in a lot of different ways, verbally, shouting, gestures, tailgating and of course sometimes people pull out weapons to point at other people," he said.

John Goetz used to be one of those drivers.

 "There were a few confrontations sure, you know someone ahead of me who intentionally slams on the breaks, and I tried to get around them and they wouldn't let me speed up," he explained. "That was dangerous, being a part of something like that tends to wake you up."

Goetz, a retired Army veteran, admits back then he was angry. He didn't realize how much so, however, until he got help from New Vibe Training.

"There's a quote in his book that says, 'whether we're aware of it or not, we talk ourselves in, or out of anger,'" Goetz said. "I think that's the biggest value of the program for me, was learning that anger in and of itself is not wrong. It's the embracing of the anger that allowed this level of freedom."

Casanova says some options people can use to battle anger are to hit the gym or go for walk.  For drivers stuck in the car, he suggests putting on soothing music and focusing on something else.

"Present good thoughts, when you're driving do some deep breathing, talk to yourself in a way that calms you down," he advised.

As for Goetz, he understands why people blow a fuse in bumper to bumper traffic. He's just not one to get angry about it anymore.

"Sometimes people are running late, right, and sometimes it's a long drive to get to where you want to go,” he said. “I'm just not engaging anymore, and that's a choice that I can make."

To learn more about Casanova’s tips or get more information on his training programs, head to NewVibeTraiing.com.

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