As drivers, we are constantly in a battle of the senses. We have to focus on what is going on around us on the road, as well as how we feel. Road rage is a common experience we have all encountered at some point, whether we are stuck in a traffic jam or seemingly the victim of another driver’s bad day. Learning how to avoid and/or deal with road rage will help your driving experience improve and be safer for your health and well-being.
There are two ways to encounter rage on the road: your rage and the rage of other drivers. There are ways to avoid each of these types and by doing so, your ability to be a safe driver is enhanced, as is the entire driving experience.
Other Drivers’ Rage
We never really know what is going on in the minds of the other drivers on the road. We may only guess as to other driver’s experience, competence or state of mind at the time we encounter them. The best way to avoid confrontation or dangerous situations on the road that are the result of others’ actions is to apply the following in our own driving:
- Be a polite driver. Know what you are doing. Be attentive and aware of what is going on around you. If someone needs to be let in to your lane, let them. Having a good attitude while driving can make the difference when encountering aggressive drivers or dangerous conditions.
- Ignore an angry driver. If someone is giving you a rude gesture, or yelling at you from their car, do not pay them any attention. Continue to watch where you are driving and do not make eye contact with them. This is a very effective way to diffuse a hostile driver and they will most likely go on about their business.
- It is not personal. It does not matter what another driver does. By taking offense at someone else’s actions or words, we can be caught up in a quickly escalating situation which has no actual importance in our lives. The other driver probably doesn’t know you.
- Be Safe. It really is important to always put safety first. Should you encounter a seriously dangerous situation with another driver, get away as quickly and safely as possible. Call, or have a passenger call, 311 for dispatch or 911 if you feel that the authorities need to be notified. Making emergency phone calls is allowed while driving. Do not put yourself or your passengers at risk by trying to deal with an angry person on the roads.
The other form of road rage comes from you. You might be a normally calm and sane individual, but funny things happen to us when we get behind the controls of a fast-moving piece of engineering that weighs several thousand pounds. It is somewhat like the Internet; we are a bit anonymous in our cars and we might feel free to act out at others while no one really knows who we are. Stop it, stop it now.
- Make your car a happy car. Listen to calming music. Keep the car clean and free from trash, especially old food containers, which can smell. Creating a space that feels positive can help you stay positive in stressful driving situations.
- Don’t be late. Allow yourself time to get where you need to go, without speeding or worry. This can be helpful in calm driving. Most angry driving starts with someone who is late for something important.
- Don’t drive distracted. There are pages and pages of articles on this subject alone. Save the call or text for when you are not driving. Make sure your music is in a place or format that will not take too much of your attention to change. Eating and putting on makeup while driving are also dangerous and can lead to making a mistake that might trigger road rage in someone else.
- Know your route before you leave. With today’s technology, there is no reason why anyone should get lost. Print a map of your route or have it ready on your device. Know where construction areas might cause you delay and frustration.
By remembering these key points we can all have a more pleasant drive and safe experience on the roadways. Most importantly, we will arrive safely without unnecessary risks to ourselves and our passengers.