If you find that you have agitated another driver, whether the fault is truly yours or not, don’t react to or retaliate against the other driver on the road, according to SafeMotorist.com. Engaging with the other driver will only cause the situation to escalate. Remind yourself that the other driver is just bad at handling stress, avoid eye contact and continue to practice safe driving habits.
All you can do is be a considerate, aware driver who follows the rules of the road. While it may be difficult in the heat of the moment, don’t give in to feelings of anger or rage on the road. Think twice before you honk the horn or flip that finger, because you never know what may set off the person in the cars around you. Getting home or to work safely is more important than teaching someone a dangerous lesson.
Police say if you are involved in a road rage incident, stay in your car and call for help. If you can, drive to a well-lit area with people or to a local police or fire station.
Ways to avoid road rage encounters
Here are some additional pointers to help avoid road rage encounters:
- Don’t assume other drivers are evil. Sometimes, people make mistakes, or they might be driving more slowly for a reason. Do not assume that they are driving slowly just to annoy you. Put yourself in the other driver’s shoes.
- Don’t honk your horn insistently. It might make you feel better, but it’s really kind of silly. And when everyone does it in a traffic jam, it’s really annoying and increases everyone’s stress level.
- If someone is tailgating you, don’t aggravate yourself and the other driver by playing cat and mouse with your speed. Move out of the way and let the other driver pass you.
- Cranks some tunes, not the engine. Instead of listening to your own muttering, try listening to music as it can help keep you calm.
- Leave space to pull around the car in front of you. This seems simple, but in heavy traffic, people tend to drive bumper-to-bumper. Leaving some wiggle room can reduce vulnerability if the driver in front of you gets aggressive. Allow at least a two-second space between your vehicle and the one ahead of you.
- Try not to run late. When you’re in a hurry, your patience is short, and you’re much more likely to become aggravated. Try to give yourself a few extra minutes to get where you need to go.
- Avoid cutting other drivers off in traffic.
- Signal several hundred feet before you change lanes or make a turn.
- Avoid making any gestures or eye contact with another driver.
- Be courteous in the use of high-beam headlights.
- Obey speed limits.
- Drive in the right or middle lane; pass on the left.
- Stop at stop signs and red lights; don’t run yellow lights.
- Don’t block intersections.
- Report any aggressive driving incidents to the police immediately.
Important note: Police and safety officials say drivers snapping pictures or videos of others is unsafe and could lead to dangerous road-rage incidents.
If you are prone to road rage
- Get sufficient rest. Lack of sleep leads to loss of control.
- Limit alcohol Alcohol can make you rageful, not to mention impair your driving in other ways.
- Play soothing music. This can really help.
- Be aware of your driving. Leon James, PhD, professor of psychology at the University of Hawaii and author of Road Rage and Aggressive Driving: Steering Clear of Highway Warfare, recommends watching yourself—what makes you angry, how long do you stay angry. Tell yourself, “It was not their fault—it was the guy in front of them.”
- Put pictures of your loved ones on the dashboard. You want to come home to them.
- Remember, this behavior can cost you in more ways than one. Road rage can have a high price tag even if no one is hurt or killed: tickets, lawyers, court costs, damage to vehicles, and higher insurance rates.
Don’t engage other drivers
- Avoid engaging other drivers, even if they have done something to make you angry or vice versa.
- Put as much distance between you and the other driver as possible and avoid making eye contact.
- Never pull off a roadway to confront another driver.
- Keep your doors locked and give yourself room at intersections to drive away.
- If possible, take down the license plate number of the vehicle and report the driver’s behavior to police so they won’t hurt themselves or someone else.
Taken from By Jayleen R. Heft, PropertyCasualty360.com