You're driving to work, running a little bit late, and someone cuts you off. You honk your horn. They honk their horn. You react with an explicit hand gesture, and they do the same. Now, you're stuck on the road with a crazy driver tailgating you trying to make the rest of your commute miserable.
Many of us have been there or in a similar situation where road rage has taken over us or another driver. Aggressive driving is a major safety concern for all drivers. In a survey conducted by the AAA Foundation, nearly 9 out of 10 people believed that aggressive drivers were a "somewhat" or "very serious" threat to their personal safety. The same survey also showed that a substantial number of people admitted to engaging in potentially aggressive behavior.
Signs of aggressive driving
Aggressive driving, often called road rage, is a growing problem on our roadways. Here are some of the signs of aggressive driving:
- Aggressive driving, often called road rage, is a growing problem on our roadways.
- Sudden acceleration, braking, and tailgating
- Cutting off other drivers or preventing drivers from merging
- Frequently honking the horn
- Shouting obscenities or threatening other drivers
- Explicit hand gestures
- Intentionally causing an accident between vehicles
- Getting out of the car in an attempt to start a confrontation
Tips to Reduce Road Rage
If you know that you're prone to aggressive driving, here are seven tips to help you control and reduce road rage:
- Get enough sleep: We all know how cranky we can be without enough sleep. Not getting enough sleep can make you prone to irritability, resentment, and anger. Always make sure you get enough sleep before getting behind the wheel and avoid driving if you know you haven't gotten enough sleep.
- Don't take things personally: If the car in front of you stopped short or is driving 10 mph below the speed limit, don't take it personally. It's easy to get frustrated when people don't drive as well as you think they should. It's important to understand that people aren't necessarily doing it intentionally, and they're likely not targeting you in particular. Maybe they made a mistake or didn't know the speed limit. Maybe there's a screaming child in their backseat, a bug that's driving them crazy, or a phone that won't stop ringing. You never know what's going on in another car, and try not to take other peoples' actions too personally.
- Plan ahead: You're more likely to experience road rage if you're rushing to your destination, so always plan ahead and give yourself extra time to get to where you're going. The next time you drive somewhere, add an additional 10-15 minutes to your expected travel time in order to accommodate for traffic, an unexpected stop for gas, detours, and construction.
- Turn down the music: If you love turning up the music when you drive, you're not alone. However, when you turn up the music too loud, you're more prone to driving erratically. Try turning down the music or listening to more relaxing music when you're on the road in order to reduce your stress levels.
- Be a courteous driver: Even if other drivers on the road are being aggressive, you should still try to set an example and be courteous to other drivers on the road. This includes moving out of the left-hand lane if you can see someone is trying to go faster, allowing other people to merge into your lane, not tailgating other drivers, and more.
- Don't use your car as a therapist: If you love your car, you may see it as an extension of yourself, but you shouldn't take that phrase too seriously. If a customer at work left you furious, don't take that anger out on the road. Don't start winding in between cars and driving as fast as possible to let off some steam. Your vehicle, no matter how much you love it, is a mode of transportation and should never be used as a therapist or even a weapon.
- Relax: Above all, try to relax when you're on the road. It's easy to get caught up and stressed out when you're driving, especially if you're in a rush or tired. However, try to stay calm whenever possible, and don't let the actions of others get to you.
We're all bound to lose our cool at some point, but by following the tips above, you can prevent your emotions from getting the best of you while you're on the road. Managing your road rage will help keep you safe while driving, and it will make the roads safer for everyone around you.
If you, or someone you know, has been injured in a motor vehicle accident due to the negligence of someone else, don’t delay. Contact the Dellutri Law Group today for a free, no-obligation consultation!