Posted on: May. 21, 2017 in Driving, Safety

Driving can be pretty frustrating. Most of us have something that sets us off – whether it’s someone who cuts us off, drives too fast, or drives to slow – and we can get annoyed at the other drivers around us. But when mere annoyance escalates, it turns into something much more dangerous and extreme: road rage.

road-rage-a-dangerous-practice defines road rage as “aggressive or violent behavior stemming from a driver’s uncontrolled anger at the actions of another motorist.” Behaviors that can be categorized as road range include stopping the car so the driver and/or passengers can engage in physical conflict, running another driver off the road, intentionally hitting another car, or pulling out a weapon.

Aggressive driving is often the precursor to road rage. Driving aggressively is generally illegal and definitely dangerous. It can easily change to road rage if left unchecked. It also tempts another driver to react aggressively or with their own road rage. Aggressive driving includes cutting someone off, speeding, stopping short in front of another driver (known as brake checking), yelling or cursing, beeping, tailgating, and flashing headlights. Drivers who are driving aggressively can often cause accidents that will injure themselves and others.

If you find yourself the victim of another’s road rage, here are some things you can do to try to calm the situation:

  • If you accidentally cut someone off or upset them, wave, mouth an apology, and give them space to move on.
  • Avoid reacting to their anger in a manner that will escalate the other driver’s emotions.
  • Practice calming techniques like taking deep breaths or counting.
  • Pull over to calm down, if necessary.
  • If the other driver is threatening and you believe you’re in danger, call the police for assistance.

Every driver has the capacity to become enraged while driving. Most often, this occurs because we are upset about something else and another driver does something to anger us further. Avoid driving when you are angry or upset. If you must drive, here are some techniques you can use to maintain composure:

  • Drive mindfully – slow down, keep your distance from others, refrain from driving aggressively.
  • Play calming music that you enjoy.
  • Remember that you’re not alone and you have the responsibility to share the road, even with other drivers who may make mistakes.
  • Do not make gestures or yell at other drivers in a way that could cause them to escalate with more aggressiveness. This will create a dangerous cycle.

Road rage is very dangerous and can result in injury to you, others, and damage to property. Because it is illegal (as are many of the aggressive acts falling short of true road rage), you can be ticketed or even arrested for road rage. You never know how another driver is feeling, so your own behaviors can set someone off. Be careful to drive as best you can while being respectful of others.

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