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Road Rage Prevention

Traffic, accidents, crazy drivers, and sometimes just a bad day can incite fury when behind the wheel of a car. In this busy, fast-paced driven world, we all experience our share frustration while driving but when allowed to escalate, this frustration can lead to dangerous, sometimes deadly situations. What would you do if someone started edging toward you and attempted to run you off the road? What if they got out of their car to confront you? Below are some tips to help you sidestep a dangerous road rage confrontation and stay safe behind the wheel.

How to Prevent a Situation

  • Don’t offend. You cannot control another driver’s behavior but you can control your own. Certain driving habits can be the instigator of a road rage situation. Avoid these driving habits to prevent provoking an unwanted situation:
    • Driving under the speed limit, especially during high traffic times
    • Skipping turn signals and changing lanes without prior warning
    • Slowing down too early for turns
    • Accelerating unevenly or slowing down unexpectedly
    • Monopolizing lanes
  • Don’t engage. Remain calm. Don’t respond with the same aggression and annoyance, even if it’s tempting – it will only escalate the situation.  
  • Analyze your actions. Did you do something that could’ve angered the driver, like forgetting to signal or tailgating? If it is a correctable mistake, be aware of your driving patterns for the rest of the trip and try not to make the same mistake(s).
  • Contextualize the situation. Drivers are human and have their own stress, pressure, and problems. While they took their frustrations out on you in an impolite way, remember there’s a cause for their anger.   
  • Remove yourself from the situation. To avoid further conflict, allow the person to pass you, pass them, take a different turn, or pull off to the side.

What if you are the aggressor?

  • The first step in preventing road rage is to recognize bad driving habits. Aggressive drivers often engage in the following actions:
    • Tailgating
    • Use their horn outside of emergency situations
    • Flash headlights
    • Change lanes quickly and often
    • Gesture to other drives
    • Swerve in out of the lane
    • Talk on their cell phone or text
  • Analyze your actions. Take note of what triggered you to respond with aggression and how the victim reacted. If you come to the conclusion that your actions weren’t appropriate, apologize to the driver (if possible) to de-escalate the situation.
  • Breathe. Take slow, deep breaths. Inhale, count to five and exhale, until your heartbeat returns to normal. This will stabilize your state of mind and physiological response.
  • Remove yourself from the situation. Allow the person to pass you, pass the person, take a different turn, or pull off to the side. This will give both you and the other driver a chance to calm down and drive safely.
  • Prevent road rage incidents from happening:
    • Drive when calm
    • Allow enough time for your trip so you don’t feel rushed or stressed
    • If you find your stress level or aggression escalating while driving, pull off to the side of the road, calm down and collect your thoughts. Remember, your life and the lives of others are more important than any momentary frustrations.

For More Information on Safe Driving, Visit:  

AAA Foundation for Safety: https://www.aaafoundation.org/

Department of Motor Vehicles: http://www.dmv.org/

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