Avoiding Road Rage

A Guide For The Fearful. . .

If you're a driver, you've almost certainly experienced it. Someone screams at you for driving "too slowly." You are cut off by a lane-changing speed demon. You are chased for miles by a motorist enraged at some real or imagined driving faux pas on your part. Whether you were the aggressor or the victim (in many cases of road rage, the line is blurry) you've almost certainly been involved in an aggressive driving incident.

We talked to several experts and gathered some tips on how to avoid raging, or being raged at, while driving.

  • Wear your seat belt. This is, of course, always essential for safe driving, but if you're involved in a potentially dangerous situation with an angry driver, it's even more important.
  • Don't let your pride overtake your rationality. Don't feel you have to "rise" to the challenge. Even if the other driver is at fault, let it go.
  • If someone is following or chasing you, try to avoid them. Make every attempt to simply get out of their way.
  • Do not challenge them by speeding up or attempting to hold your own in your travel lane.
  • Avoid eye contact. Locking eyes can often escalate the dispute.

    Five people were killed in an upstate New York accident, which was caused by aggressive driving.

  • Ignore other drivers' angry gestures toward you. Even more importantly, don't respond in kind. Be careful, even when trying to make a signal of apology. These can often be misinterpreted as an indication of anger.
  • Give yourself enough time to get to where you're going. A rushed driver is very often an angry, frustrated driver. And in rushing, you're also more likely to make the kind of mistakes that can ignite an incident.
  • Report aggressive drivers to the police.
  • If you are involved with an ongoing altercation with an enraged driver, and you have a cellular phone and can do it safely, call the police from your car.
  • If you find yourself getting angry, relax, take a deep breath, and try to wait a moment before you react. One key, experts say: try to empathize with other drivers. Think of them not as anonymous jerks who are trying to hamper your trip, but as fellow human beings who, like you, have shortcomings.
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Written by David Kohn