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Expert Weighs in on Psychology Behind Road Rage

A simple fender bender on the Massachusetts Turnpike Friday escalated quickly into road rage, with an SUV driving at speeds of 70 mph with a man on the hood.

What were they thinking? We may never know their mental states since the men did not say anything in court. But Dr. Darshan Mehta believes it was primarily triggered by stress.

"It just was the tip of the iceberg for them," said Mehta.

NBC10 Boston's exclusive video shows one man, identified as 65-year-old Richard Kamrowski, on the hood of a vehicle driven by another man, identified as 37-year-old Mark Fitzgerald. The two men were allegedly involved in a minor crash that led to the road rage.

Mehta is the medical director at the Benson-Henry Institute for Mind Body Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital, a place that helps people relax and chill out.

After watching NBC10 Boston's exclusive video, he said both men displayed the telltale signs of reacting strictly with instincts.

"They were engaged in basically primal combat," said Mehta.

Instead of rationally processing the situation and stepping back, he said the instinct to fight took over.

"Even if they had a moment to just stop, like 15 seconds, would have made a difference," said Mehta.

The doctor says with all the internal and external factors, road rage happens. But it can be de-escalated.

"If you can just remember that adage, 'Stop, breathe, reflect, choose,'" said Mehta.

He also said regular mental health exercises and tune-ups could make a difference on the road.

"It’s not unique to one part of the world or another, and they have all elicited this idea that you can cultivate counter-stress physiology," said Mehta.

Monday in court, a judge did not order a mental health evaluation for either man.

Fitzgerald pleaded not guilty to charges of assault with a dangerous weapon on a person over 60, negligent operation of a vehicle and leaving the scene of a crash causing property damage. A not guilty plea was entered on Kamrowski's behalf for charges of disorderly conduct and malicious damage to a motor vehicle.

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