Whether it is you or another driver, road rage is a danger to everyone on the road. According to the AAA Foundation, nearly 9 out of 10 people agree that drivers with road rage present a moderate or serious threat to personal safety.
Surveys have also shown that large numbers of drivers admit to driving aggressively. Keep yourself and others safe on the road by learning how to manage road rage.
Having the Right Attitude
Driving is not a competition. You don’t need to be the first person at the stop light, and it shouldn’t be a race against the clock on the way to work. Allow yourself plenty of time to make your destination, and don’t fall victim to roadway rivalries.
To help achieve a non-competitive mindset, try listening to quiet, calming music. You can also try certain relaxation techniques like deep breathing.
If another driver is doing something that makes you angry, try to think about things from their perspective. Maybe they aren’t just a jerk. Perhaps they are speeding because they are rushing to the hospital. If you get cut off, maybe it’s because their vehicle has a large blind spot.
Thinking about possible urgent causes of another driver’s actions can help you avoid anger.
Don’t Cause Road Rage
The easiest way to get mad while driving is to make other drivers angry. Speeding, tailgating, cutting other drivers off – any of these behaviors can start a vicious cycle. Your unsafe driving practices can cause other drivers to make rude gestures or act offensively, which will only anger you further.
Practice safe driving by staying within speed limits, maintaining a safe distance from other vehicles, and using your turn signals properly.
Don’t Get Pulled into Highway Drama
Sometimes road rage is contagious. If you spot an angry driver, rather than pitting your road rage against his, do everything possible to get away. Slow down to put distance between you and the other driver, or turn down a side street. Never pull over as this can result in a verbal or physical confrontation.
If you are stuck on the road with an enraged driver, don’t make eye contact. This can exacerbate the situation by making you a target. If you were already the object of the other driver’s road rage, eye contact is likely to fuel their anger even more.
If a furious driver is harassing you or following you despite your best efforts, don’t give in to your own anger. Call the police, or drive to a busy place such as a convenience store to get help. The more people around, the better – drivers with road rage are usually aware that they could face harsh penalties for their actions.
They normally won’t risk confrontation with a large crowd of onlookers nearby.
If you suffer from road rage, don’t be afraid to seek help. Try reading a self-help book, visit a counselor, or enroll in an anger management course. Whatever treatment method you choose, you will feel good about the fact that you are helping to make the roads safer for everyone.