Road rage - It gets even the best of us. You're calmly driving to your destination when another driver decides to cut you off, nearly hitting your car in the process. In this or any other similar scenario, it can be very easy to fall back on anger. However, driving while angry is not the best time to make objective or safe driving choices. One quick lapse of judgment, on either side, could potentially send someone to the hospital, or worse.
According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety's Aggressive Driving Study, over 78% of US drivers engage in at least one aggressive behavior per year. Some of those aggressive behaviors being:
- Giving someone the finger
- Purposefully driving slow
- Cutting people off
- Not allowing others to pass or Blocking
- Aggressive honking
It seems that aggressive driving is a common occurrence that many US drivers will likely face at some point. But what can you do when you find yourself in a hostile driving environment?
1) If you're being tailgated - Move over. It's better to step aside and let the aggressive driver go on than risk having them follow you for miles. Make sure you're not going to start tailgating them yourself out of anger.
2) Avoid eye contact. Sure, you may want to peek over and see who it is that's being kind of a jerk, but making eye contact with an already angry driver can escalate the situation.
3) Apologize (wave hand gesture) if you made a wrong move. We all make mistakes. Unfortunately, sometimes being the bigger person can be difficult. But, in a situation that could easily get ugly, it's better to just apologize than have angry drivers on your tail. Give the "wave" hand gesture and mouth "I'm Sorry" to them if you feel like you may have made a wrong maneuver or cut someone off yourself.
4) Allow plenty of room for others to pass you. If you notice that a car, or cars, are attempting to pass you, give them room. Blocking other drivers can make the situation a lot more frustrating for both of you.
5) Use your horn moderately. Honking excessively can make the situation worse. Try not to overdo it.
Of course, emotions are often difficult to control. So, if you still feel like taking matters into your own hands, you should try:
- Getting out of traffic and pulling over to a safe location to unwind
- Remain calm by taking deep breaths, listening to music, or calling a friend to help cool you down
- Think of the consequences that could come with exacting any type of revenge on another driver
You must also remember the added repercussions of acting on road rage such as going to court, paying legal fees, jail time, physical injury to yourself and passengers, damages to your vehicle or even death.
So, before you decide that following the driver who cut you off is a good idea, remember to take deep breaths and realize that any vengeful action comes with heavy consequences.