It's Monday morning. You grab your coffee, hop into your car and head to work. All of a sudden, someone cuts you off in traffic. Or, perhaps you get caught in a traffic jam. How do you react? Driving in of itself can be a stressful task. Having feelings of anger when behind the wheel can lead to distracted driving, accidents or aggressive driving.
What is road rage?
Aggressive driving comes in many forms, such as speeding, tailgating, weaving through traffic, no use of signaling and honking your horn excessively. A statistic from American Automobile Association (AAA) states that nearly 80% of drivers express significant anger, aggression or road rage at least once a year. Naturally, the consequences of aggressive driving can be severe. From 2003 to 2007, aggressive driving played a role in 56% of fatal crashes, according to AAA based on data tracked by National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA's) fatal accident reporting system. This article will cover what to know about road rage, including ways to stay calm and what to do when confronted with an aggressive driver.
Road rage factors
Below are key factors that often compel drivers to act in a more aggressive driving behavior.
- Habitual or learned behavior: Aggressive driving may be the norm for some drivers if they were initially taught those habits.
- Running late: Falling behind on meetings and other tasks often results in drivers speeding on the road.
- Anonymity: If a driver feels they won't see the other driver again, it may encourage them to engage in risky driving behaviors, such as making rude gestures.
- Disregard for others and the law: Unfortunately, some drivers feel as if the rules and regulations of traffic laws do not apply to them.
- Traffic jams: A simple traffic jam can anger a driver who is impatient or running late.
Forms of road rage
- Honking car horn excessively.
- Yelling at other drivers.
- Confronting other drivers by getting out of their cars.
- Attempting to block another vehicle from changing lanes.
- Purposely cutting other vehicles off.
- Ramming another vehicle on purpose.
Avoiding road rage
- Give enough time: Give yourself an ample amount of time when commuting. This will alleviate impatience if you get caught in traffic.
- Pull over: If you feel yourself getting upset, try pulling over to the side of the road to cool off and calm down.
- Stop tailgating: An accident is bound to happen when you let your frustrations get the best of you and follow too closely behind.
- Lay off the horn: Honking out of frustration won't solve your problems. In fact, it will just create more problems for you and everyone else on the road.
- Avoid confronting another driver: Confronting another person you don't know can lead to a dire and dangerous situation.
Dealing with aggressive drivers
- Don't retaliate: It can be extremely irritating when another driver cuts you off in traffic or drives in a manner that could possibly put you in danger. Ignore the urge to respond to the driver. You will only put yourself and others around you in danger.
- Move out of the way: If you are being tailgated or in the vicinity of an aggressive driver, the best course of action is to simply move out of their way for your safety.
- Avoid stopping: Stopping can lead to person-to-person confrontation. Doing this can lead to various dangerous scenarios.
Road rage and aggressive driving are unfortunate parts of everyday commutes for millions of people. Implementing these tips can help alleviate the stress of aggressive drivers and help you keep calm if you feel yourself getting riled up. For more resources and articles, CLICK HERE.
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