How to Deal with Road Rage
This post was originally published on the Colonial Driving School Blog. Hopefully it will help some of your students become safer drivers!
Everyone has witnessed or experienced road rage at least once in their life. Swerving across lanes, tailgating, and suddenly brake checking other, and excessive speeding. What triggers road rage? There are many things that can induce road rage; everything bad driving habits to bad days. In this article we will delve into the depths of road rage and take a closer look at it.
According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, 8 out of 10 drivers are labeled as a serious risk on the road. You read that right. More than half of all drivers on the road are prone to aggressive and dangerous driving habits. One of the major causes of traffic fatalities is road rage. It is a serious issue that most people are willing to excuse , and most don’t even realize they are committing acts of aggressive driving!
It really doesn’t take much to get worked into an enraged state. Many people like to believe they are incapable of becoming a dangerous driver, but it is so much easier to slip into dangerous driving than they think. Imagine yourself in this scenario: You wake up late and realize you are going to be late for work or school. One of the first things you think about is getting to work fast, and often times that can mean putting yourself and others in danger. You start by going maybe a mile or two over the speed limit. Once you realize you’ve gotten away with that, you go faster and merge in and out of lanes to dodge slower traffic. You’re slowly starting to lose your temper as traffic crawls, and you start laying on the horn and hoping people will start moving. That’s how easy it is to get sucked into a dangerous mentality on the road.
How do you spot and deal with an aggressive/angry driver? Below are some of the more common behaviors associated with road rage:
- Excessive or unnecessary use of the horn
- Cutting off other vehicles on the road
- Sudden acceleration
- Sudden braking
- Verbal abuse of other drivers
In the case of dealing with someone else’s aggressive driving, there is not much you can do to control them. The best thing to do in these situations is to avoid a driver if you see them partaking in any of the obvious signs of rage. Keep a good distance between your vehicle and theirs whenever possible, and never return a rude look or gesture. Apologizing can sometimes de-escalate the problem as well.
How to Prevent Yourself From Falling Victim to Road Rage
If your temper begins to rise while you are driving, try distracting your mind with music or the radio. Say comforting and reassuring things to yourself to keep your emotions in check. Try to take deep, calm breaths and remind yourself that everyone makes mistakes on the road, and that there is no need for revenge or punishment of the other driver. If another driver is acting aggressive, do not let their actions make you angry. Their actions may feel like a personal attack, but it isn’t. They’re just lashing out at the nearest driver on the road.
Most of all, when you feel like you are in a hurry, think about all the things that could go wrong if you decide to cut corners and get there faster. If all else fails, remember that engaging in aggressive driving while angry is putting your life, other drivers lives, and your passengers lives at risk. Letting your anger get the best of you isn’t worth causing a fatal accident or landing in jail.
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