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What does the Bible say about road rage?

road rage

Road rage—a term coined in the late 1980s—denotes a relatively modern phenomenon. Aggressive driving of automobiles did not exist in ancient times. So, to appreciate what the Bible says about road rage, one must understand the term and consider the underlying inclinations that fuel the behavior.

Road rage and aggressive driving are often used interchangeably, but according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), they are not the same. Aggressive driving involves operating a motor vehicle in a manner that endangers or is likely to endanger people or property. Road rage is aggressive driving that crosses the line into violent criminal offenses (, accessed 5/30/23). Both are potentially dangerous and deadly behaviors. Neither aggressive driving nor road rage bring honor and glory to God and, therefore, are unsuitable for His children (see 2 Corinthians 12:20; Proverbs 8:13).

Examples of dangerous driving behaviors that can lead to more serious road rage incidents are speeding, failure to yield, following too closely, reckless lane-changing without signaling, blocking or chasing another driver, running a red light or stop sign, cutting in front and then slowing down, also known as “brake checking” (using the brakes to punish another driver), horn honking, headlight flashing, yelling, cursing, and rude gesticulating. Cases of road rage include forcing another driver off the road, bumping or bashing another vehicle, and firing a handgun from a car. While the Bible does not address these specific behaviors, it does speak to the inherent sin that motivates them and urges believers to allow the Holy Spirit to produce fruits of humility, gentleness, patience, kindness, self-control, and other character qualities of Christ in their lives (Galatians 5:22–26).

No matter how it is demonstrated, rage originates from a proud heart (Mark 7:21–22; Psalm 10:2–11; Job 36:8–9). Scripture reveals that those who let pride rule their heart ultimately want to be God (see Ezekiel 28:2; 2 Thessalonians 2:4), and therefore the proud seek to control. Road rage is an expression of self-will, demanding its own way regardless of the outcome. The Bible plainly states that “pride goes before destruction” (Proverbs 16:18; see also Proverbs 11:2; 29:23). But humility brings God’s favor and life (Proverbs 3:34; 22:4; Psalm 25:9; 138:6; James 4:6).

In road rage, a driver loses control of his temper and reacts according to his sinful nature in angry, hostile, and self-centered retaliation. This is the sign of a fool, because only fools “give full vent to their rage, but the wise bring calm in the end” (Proverbs 29:11). The apostle Paul urges believers to throw off their old sinful nature and let the Holy Spirit renew their thoughts and attitudes. “Don’t sin by letting anger control you,” writes Paul, “. . . for anger gives a foothold to the devil” (Ephesians 4:26–27, NLT). If we continue to indulge the sinful flesh, we “bring sorrow to God’s Holy Spirit” (verse 30, NLT). Instead, we must “get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and . . . all types of evil behavior” (verse 31, NLT). Likewise, in Galatians 5:19–20, Paul lists these road rage-related works of the flesh produced by the sinful nature: “hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger,” and “selfish ambition” (NLT).

As Christians, our new nature reflects the character of Christ, who instructs us to “turn the other cheek” when someone wrongs us (Matthew 5:39; see also Lamentations 3:30), to not “withhold [our] shirt” (or our place in the lane) if someone asks for it (see Luke 6:27–36), and to be patient, loving, and kind toward others (Matthew 6:14–15; see also Galatians 5:22; Colossians 1:10–11). When a driver gets in our way and slows us down, we must remember to “do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above [ourselves]” (Philippians 2:3). Godly attitudes of humility and love will lead us to be gracious toward other drivers and forgive them when they commit a perceived wrong against us. Rather than endanger ourselves and others, we will consider the welfare and safety of everyone on the road, including the passengers in our own cars.

Believers are commanded to submit to governing authorities and obey the laws of the land (Romans 13:1–2). In the context of driving, submission means following the legal rules of the road and obeying posted signs and the police.

The Bible’s message is unmistakable—road rage and any dangerous or aggressive handling of an automobile are inappropriate for believers. Nevertheless, driving can often be exceedingly stressful and frustrating, bringing out the worst in people. Psychologists suggest certain risk factors like high life stress, displaced anger, drug and alcohol abuse, and unresolved emotional traumas can make some drivers more prone to reacting aggressively on the road (, accessed 5/30/23).

Crowded highways, reckless drivers, and potential road rage scenarios are inevitable as long as people continue to drive. Thus, believers must arm themselves with the humility of Christ whenever they get behind the wheel. The Bible calls us to let go of offenses, back away from retaliating in sinful anger, and move on (Psalm 37:8; Proverbs 15:1,18; James 1:20; Ecclesiastes 7:9). If we cannot control our anger, we should seek help from another believer or a qualified counselor. There is too much at stake to ignore a bad temper.

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What does the Bible say about road rage?
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This page last updated: July 24, 2023