Don’t Get Caught Up in a Road Rage Incident
There are many angry people on the roads all the time, especially in cities where traffic is a daily problem. After encountering traffic day after day, even the most levelheaded people can fall victim to road rage. At Anderson Behel in Santa Clara, CA we have seen road rage firsthand and we know that it is caused by a lot of things, including stress, fatigue and even confusion.
It’s a National Problem
Even the smallest provocation can send some drivers into a rage. Perhaps you cut off a driver or made some other small driving error, like driving below the speed limit. Simple oversights such as these have caused enraged drivers to pursue other cars, in order to intimidate and scare them. Accidents and deaths related to road rage take place frequently, which is why you need to make smart driving decisions at all times in order to minimize the chances of provoking such an occurrence.
Road rage is a growing problem on our highways. According to Forbes, 66% of traffic fatalities are caused by aggressive driving; 37% of aggressive driving incidents involve a firearm and males under the age of 19 are the most likely to exhibit road rage.
Learning how to deal with road rage can help you sidestep the dangerous nightmare that often follows an aggressive road rage incident, so here are some simple directives to review:
Back Off from Aggressive Drivers
Give them their space, please! You must realize that you can't control another driver's behavior, but you can control your own. When another driver cuts you off, how you react will determine what happens next. If you are able to back off, take a deep breath, and remain calm, then you can defuse a potentially violent situation.
True, you might need to vent about the driver tailgating you all the way from town or the overly cautious motorist who consistently drove under the speed limit. Venting your frustration is normal and healthy, so long as you vent without threatening others or exiting your vehicle for any reason.
Talk it Out
Talk to a friend or family member about the driving experience―telling the story can relieve your stress. Some driving clubs or online discussions offer members a chance to vent their frustration. Maybe they can give you a different perspective on the incident so that you can better understand how it happened and maybe learn how to avoid it in the future.
Ask Yourself—Are You an Aggressive Driver?
Many people who are aggressive drivers are in denial. But, if you’re always in a rush and you get mad easily behind the wheel, you’re likely an aggressive driver and prone to a road rage incident. Analyze your driving style and whether you are susceptible to road rage; then consider changing your own driving habits.
Aggressive drivers routinely:
- Use their horn inappropriately
- Flash their headlights (and high beams when not needed)
- Change lanes quickly and often
- Gesture to other drivers
- Talk on their cell phone and text while driving
- Tailgate (often at high speeds)
Changing your driving habits is not easy. You'll need to practice and study safer driving habits. Consider signing up for a driver's education course or better yet, personalized training.
Are You Causing Road Rage in Others?
There is no excuse for any type of road rage ever, but there are people out there whose driving habits can and often cause road rage occurrences. They are called instigators―drivers who infuriate other driver by driving under the speed limit, failing to use turn signals, slowing down rapidly for whatever reason, accelerating erratically, and being a lane hog. If this sounds like you, maybe you've already been the victim of road rage.
If you are the instigator and have avoided a road rage confrontation, then congratulations. Regardless, now is the time to improve your own driving habits before you provoke a bad situation.
Remember, you are sharing the road with other motorists, pedestrians and cyclists. We all have equal rights to use the roads safely and responsibly, so be considerate and try to think from the other driver’s point of view. At Anderson Behel in Santa Clara, CA we believe that by keeping these suggestions in mind and using common sense, we’ll all be able to avoid ugly and potentially dangerous road rage episodes.