Road rage and the scenes it causes are hot topics, and the reality is that people die as a result of road rage every year. Huffington Post reports that the percentage of drivers who say they feel road rage has doubled from 6% to 12% since 2005. It’s time that we acknowledge the dangers road rage poses and talk about how to deal with them.
Dealing with Angry Drivers
Keep Your Cool
It’s easy to get angry on the road, but doing so will only worsen whatever situation you’re in. Next time someone cuts you off, count to ten and think of a good joke. And if another driver loses their temper with you, remind yourself to be the bigger person and turn the other cheek.
Don’t Make Eye Contact
Distancing yourself from the situation is one of the most important things you can do to prevent road rage. Don’t make the conflict personal. If you make eye contact with the other driver, they may see it as a threat or sign of aggression. Diffuse the tension by keeping your eyes on the road.
Stay in Your Car and Ignore the Attacker
If a person angrily approaches your car, roll up the windows, lock the doors, and stare away from the attacker. Though this might make the person angrier, he or she is more likely to walk away if they can’t pull you into a fight. If you’re in a position to safely drive away without harming the other person, leaving the situation may be your best option.
Call the Police
If you feel threatened or are being followed by an enraged driver, you should call the police. Of course, you should attempt to pull off the road to make that call, but only do so if it is safe. If you are approached by the other driver after pulling over, do not get out of the car to confront them, as a fight could escalate quickly.
Avoiding Road Rage
Listen to Music
According to Kevin Labar, Assistant Professor of Brain Sciences at Duke University, classical music can create a pleasant and relaxed state of mind for the listener, making the task at hand (in this case, driving) easier. However, personal taste also comes into play. Listen to music you enjoy that relaxes you and puts you in a good mood while driving.
Concentrate on Driving
Texting, eating, doing makeup, or talking on the phone can distract you from driving. You may think that you can do two things at once, but studies show that at least one of the things you are attempting to do will suffer when multi-tasking. Driving is too important of an activity to do while distracted. If you are driving while distracted, your response to other drivers’ mistakes will be delayed, not to mention the fact that you will most likely be making driving mistakes yourself.
Let the Little Things Go
If a driver cuts you off, intentionally or not, it’s best to just let it go. Move out of the way if necessary and if possible, and avoid confrontation and eye contact. Since other motorists’ lives are at stake around you, this is not the time to make a scene. Again, if the behavior of the other driver is aggressive and threatening, call the police.
Don’t Misuse Your Horn
One or two honks—short and sweet—are sometimes necessary if someone is coming into your lane or about to hit you. But laying on your horn can create tension or panic among drivers around you, which could lead to a collision or road rage. Honk only when necessary. Honking at someone simply because they made you angry is only going to escalate the problem. Remember what we said before: let the little things go.
Road rage is not an uncommon problem, and can be encountered anywhere in the world. These tips can help you avoid conflict with an angry driver.
Here at Hansen Injury Law, we specialize in defending the rights and needs of the injured. If you have been injured as a result of road rage, you may be able to seek compensation to cover your damages. Feel free to fill out the consultation form on this page or call us at 208-577-5300 for help.
Photo courtesy of John Greenfield.