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Seen At 11: Smartphone Apps Aim To Put Brakes On Road Rage

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Time and time again, New York ranks as the worst city for road rage.

Perhaps it's all the congestion. Maybe it's the construction. Whatever the reason, road rage is only getting worse.

Now, as CBS2's Maurice DuBois reported, there's an app for that.

"Road rage is not just about the road; it's about what's going on in our lives," said clinical psychologist Dr. Fred Meunch. "And unfortunately the road is the place where people can take it out."

Meunch noted that rarely do people get angry while walking on the street, but there's something about being in a car -- we tend to depersonalize our fellow drivers.

"They become our enemies," Meunch said. "That creates this reactivity and this impulsive reaction that we often regret."

Several smartphone apps claim they can help irate drivers calm down.

"Any time there is a problem, leave it to technology to try and fix it," Meunch said.

"Blow Up Traffic," for example, is a voice-activated app that detects the level of your voice. If you yell, the app uses animation to virtually blow up the traffic on the road in front of you.

Other apps go even further by letting motorists report the bad behavior of their fellow drivers.

"Drive Me Crazy" and "Fail Driver" collect and catalog road rage complaints, along with photos and license plates numbers, which they say can be accessed by law enforcement, the Department of Motor Vehicles and even insurance companies.

"Unfortunately, what it's focusing on, these types of apps, is justice," Meunch said. "We want this person to be punished."

Car manufacturers are also hoping to curb regrettable road rage with the use facial recognition technology. Sensors will read and influence drivers' emotions. If anger is detected, for example, the car will automatically play a favorite soothing song.

But experts say drivers would be better served getting at the root cause of their anger.

"In spite of all the electronic measures that may be out there, the best thing we can do is internal management," said AAA spokesman Robert Sinclair.

In other words, experts say, learn to control yourself. They also suggest having something to look forward to when you get in the car, such as an audio book.

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