By Madeline Klein on June 11, 2020.
We won’t deny it, the feeling of being cut off on the road is no fun. While your instinct might be to get angry and slam on your horn, let’s walk through some ways to prevent road rage!
What is road rage?
According to Merriam-Webster, road rage is “a motorist’s uncontrolled anger that is usually provoked by another motorist’s irritating act and is expressed in aggressive or violent behavior.” This means cursing at another car, aggressively driving on purpose, and making rude gestures or verbal comments are all considered road rage.
How can I avoid road rage?
Even though you can’t control other drivers’ actions or reactions on the road, you can manage yours! Here are some ways to stay cool, calm, and collected on your commute.
- Leave early. Give yourself more than enough time to get to your destination. If you’re rushing, you’ll be more stressed and more likely to tailgate another driver.
- Take deep breathes. Whenever you find yourself getting frustrated, take a couple of deep breathes to re-center. What’s an extra 5 minutes added onto your ETA? No biggie!
- Stay neutral. It’s important not to take other’s actions personally. Despite your beliefs in the moment, they probably do not have a vendetta against you.
- No tailgating. We don’t mean sitting on the back of a truck with a cold beer before a football game, this is okay. Try to keep your distance from other vehicles to avoid you or them getting upset!
- Be kind. Could this solve all of our problems on the road? It’s quite possible. When you realize way too late you have to get into a turn lane or merge, give the driver behind you a friendly wave.
What should I do if someone is aggressive towards me?
Have you heard the expression, “you can’t fight fire with fire”? If not, now you have! While this saying might not have considered road rage before, it is relevant!
- Avoid engaging. If someone is tailgating you, move out of the way. If someone is yelling or gesturing at you, ignore them.
- Pretend you don’t have a horn. The car’s horn was invented in order to warn others of your presence or to indicate there’s a hazard on the road. So, try to use it only for that purpose and not to express anger at another vehicle.
- Do not go home. In the extreme case that the driver is following you, do not go home. Instead, find the nearest police station.
Let’s all escape road rage by planning ahead, staying calm, and avoiding clearly aggressive drivers. You can always take a defensive driving course, learn more, and get a discount for doing so!