We have all experienced it at one point or another; the driver that swerves in and out of traffic, tailgates, makes rude gestures, passes you just to slam on the breaks. There may even be a few of us unlucky enough to fall victim to a physical assault on the road. Unfortunately, this type of behavior often leads to serious accidents and fatalities.
As our roads become more congested, aggressive driving (or road rage as we call it today) has become a mainstay of American culture. The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety reports that up to 1,200 road rage related deaths a year have been reported.
Whether you’ve been a victim of road rage or you find yourself behaving aggressively behind the wheel, there are things you can do to make it home safely.
The Foundation for Traffic Safety offers some tips on how to avoid succumbing to road rage:
- Try to disassociate yourself from problems that have no bearing on the journey.
- Never assume an apparently aggressive act was intended as such. We all make mistakes. Don’t bite back.
- Avoid stress and fatigue while on the road as best you can.
- If you are being hassled by another driver, try not to react. Avoid eye contact and try not to accelerate, brake, or swerve suddenly. This can be seen as confrontational.
- If a driver continues to hassle you, drive to the nearest police station or busy place to get help.
- If someone tries to get into your car, attract attention by sounding your horn or personal alarm.
I live in a geriatric-laden state and you should see the "geriatric-road-rage" that goes on here. I'm not even kidding you! I've been chased, cut-off and had the finger given to me plenty of times here. One time I even got followed! Now..imagine THAT!!
I've been living in central KY for over 8 years now, and it amazes me that the people here do not have to take driver's ed in school! (They really need it!!) The interstate near where I live is closed down at least once a week for hours due to senseless accidents, usually due to a high rate of speed-and they recently raised the speed limit to 70 mph! People regularly tailgate if you dare go the actual speed limit, honking their horns & flashing their lights at you. Hardly anyone uses their turn signals, so you don't really know where anyone is going or when they're going to change lanes (aka cut you off!) And the majority of them are on their cell phones. It wouldn't do much good to try to get the police involved-I see the local & state police doing all of the same things. How can we expect the "regular" people to drive more safely & sanely, if the police won't even do it. I think it really irritates me because since I'm "a Yankee from Chicago, where all those rude people are." I expect a little more courtesy from these "gentle southern folk", yet I don't fear for my life when I'm driving in IL, because at least most of those people use their signals (and fingers!) before cutting you off!
I think if some people would give themselves more time to get to their next destination, maybe leave 10 minutes earlier, they could find themselves less stressed & rushed and everybody can get to where their going in one piece
I think if more people were polite behind the wheel, than their would be less stresses, not to mention injuries and needless deaths. Everybody gets frusturated sometimes, but their's no need to blow that out of proportion.
I suggest: take a deep breath and say, "this person is having a worst day than me. I hope theirs gets better." stay out of confrontation and if all else fairs, wish them a bad stomach ache.
just say no to road rage.
My husband is terrible !! from the time he gets into the car, I am totally stressed out !! Sometimes I'm not sure where all his rage comes from but one positive things has come from his actions, my actions and reactions and improved greatly. I am finding myself with more patience than I had ever shown before. Everytime I am about to lose it behind the wheel, my husbands face comes into my mind and that does it for me !! lol
>>kbx4 says: "I remind myself there's nothing I can do, so.. may as well enjoy the "me" time."
That's exactly what I do. Sometimes I stop and pick up bagels and cream cheese for the office. :-) If I'm going to be late, I might as well bring breakfast.
I stay out of their way ;)
When stuck in traffic, I consciously try to stop getting upset, and change my train of thought to "Great! An opportunity for some quiet alone time." I turn on my favorite radio station and sing along. Even if I'm going to be late for a meeting at work, or some other inconvenience, I remind myself there's nothing I can do, so.. may as well enjoy the "me" time.
I really wish they'd make it mandatory for all drivers to do driver education before they get their license and also every few years. I find it ridiculous when the speed limit is 60 and people are going 45 for no reason (no traffic, not in right lane, lots of cars doing this - not just an isolated case). When you mix slow with fast, it's an even more dangerous situation. Either the speed limit needs to be decreased or these slow people need to go to car driving class again. Talking on cell phones is the worst too. I agree that some people can talk and drive at the same time but most of us slow down and we don't even notice it. It's the dialing and text messaging that is even worse.
The above advice on avoiding road rage are great. I wish it would be mandatory in the drivers education classes to teach or teenagers how to react to the road ragers correctly.
These are all good remedies. But, as a one-time angry and aggressive driver myself, the one thing that helped me was moving out of an over crowded, traffic jam proned area!