We all need to know how to deal with road rage because it happens on the road every day. You may be the victim if you aren’t the one causing it.
Road rage is simply driving in a hostile, angry, or aggressive manner. Even the kindest and nicest human beings can turn super nasty behind the wheel, and anything small can set it off. Worst of all, most people act on their rage, and the consequences can be far-reaching.
Even if you are the person who doesn’t let below-average drivers get on your nerves, it’s still possible to suffer under the fury of someone else. And being cool as a cucumber on the road doesn’t always mean you won’t irk another ill-tempered driver.
In other words, American road rage is common across the country, and it’s difficult to avoid it.
What Causes Road Rage?
The main causes of road rage include:
- Honking horn
- Rude gestures
- Flashing lights
- Heavy traffic
- Stress and depression
- Distracted driving (loud music, talking on phone, etc)
- Driving slowly
- Cutting someone off
- Yelling from a car
- Auto accidents
- Prejudice: gender, race, etc
- Bumping into another vehicle
- Throwing items from a vehicle
Here are some of the best ways to deal with road rage:
I. How to Keep Your Own Road Rage at Bay
Since my first time getting behind the wheel, I’ve been handling my road rage. I have tried to control it, but at times, it gets out of control. Here are some of the things I do when my blood is about to boil while on the road.
1. Leave on Time
Often, my rage intensifies when I’m in a rush. Thus, if I would like to drive somewhere, I usually try to leave early, so I don’t feel hurried. If you don’t feel rushed, it’s a reason not to get upset by fellow drivers.
2. Play Some Music
Listening to music can distract you from something annoying done by another driver. Just try to avoid listening to music that can put you in a fast-driving or aggressive mood. Instead, go for something soothing.
3. Think about What You Might Lose Due to Road Rage
You can find yourself doing tons of stupid things because of road rage, from giving an obscene gesture to assaulting someone. As a result, you may end up in jail, and lose your family, your job, or worse, your life.
4. Don’t Engage in Road Rage Using Your Vehicle
Flashing lights, honking horns and other practices are all indicators of road rage. A good driver should not always be flashing lights or honking their horn. If you do this often, you might be having a problem.
5. Always Assume There’s Another Person in the Car with You
You’ll always be a different driver when you have someone on board. Thus, always act as if there’s someone else there with you. It’ll help you control your feelings.
6. Pull Over
When another driver expresses road rage toward you, you may want to pull over, but don’t do it where your fellow driver went to. Instead, pull off somewhere else, move out of the vehicle, and take a breather. After shaking off the bad experience, you may get back in and continue driving.
7. Make Your Car Comfortable
Your surroundings can affect your mood, so you should keep your car’s inside as comfortable as possible. If it’s hot, use an AC; if it’s cool, it’s time to turn the heater on. Keep the car dust-free and have a good drink close to you as well.
8. Consider the Other Person May Be Angrier Than You
When two persons with road rage face each other, the outcome can be explosive. Given that there’s a relationship between road rage and depression, someone’s road rage might be worse than yours and physically unleash it on you, endangering your life.
9. Remember That, Ultimately, It Doesn’t Really Matter
Whether you miss the green light or get home later than you anticipated, in the grand scheme of things, that’s not a big deal, provided you are safe.
Thus, don’t focus on something you will likely forget by the following day. Life has other bigger and better things you should be thinking about.
II. How to Protect Yourself from Other People’s Road Rage
Road rage has become commonplace these days and people take action when angry. Your response can save or worsen the situation. Thus, here is how to handle road rage like a boss:
10. Don’t Act When under Rage
You’ll only make things worse by acting on your own rage. You might do something small and the other person does something else, then you respond by doing something, and it escalates in no time.
11. Drive Defensively
Chances are that some drivers are having a bad day, driving under influence, or is in haste. By driving defensively, you can’t be part of the bad day other people are experiencing.
12. Don’t Tailgate or Cut Other Drivers off
Nothing triggers road rage more than when a person drives aggressively against you. Thus don’t do something that can set it off.
13. Avoid Looking at Other Drivers
Don’t make eye contact with other people as it could provoke the situation. It might aggravate your own road rage if you hear them scream at you or make a gesture. The best thing to do is to ignore most drivers.
14. Let the Aggressive Drivers Have Their Way
You may be in the right but what’s the point of proving that if it’ll worsen the situation? So, the best approach is to let other person have his or her way, which will prevent a deadly confrontation thereafter.
15. Ignore the Aggressive Driver
A person with road rage wants to provoke you. So, be smart and do the exact opposite. Don’t react to their actions and they will most likely take their aggression somewhere else.
16. Focus on Where You’re Going
When you started the journey, you had a destination in mind; an event, place of work, restaurant, home and so on. When a road rage ensues, you might end up getting late or even not doing what you had in mind.
So, if someone starts harassing you on the road, a good way to avoid the drama is to stay focused on your destination and nothing else.
17. Don’t Allow Distractions to Get In
Talking on the phone, playing loud music, or engaging in other distractive behavior might get the attention of a person with road rage to start charging at you. To avoid that, just focus on driving and nothing else.
18. Don’t React to Other Drivers’ Actions
If someone cuts you off, don’t attempt to cut them off. If a driver honks at you, don’t start honking back. Reacting is the recipe for even worse road rage.
19. Get it on Camera
You can install a dash cam on your car to record what happens while you drive. Most of these cams swivel, which allows you to turn them in any direction in case of an incident involving road rage.
While most people don’t care if you record them on camera, a video recording can come in handy if they try to accuse you of doing something you didn’t do.
III. What to Do If You Are a Road Rage Victim
Eventually, you might become a road rage victim, and that’s when things can get scary. Here are useful tips that may save your life:
20. Stay Calm
If you become the victim of road rage to someone else, you may want to stay calm. It might look like a dumb move, but trust me, it will save you a lot of trouble.
21. Place Your Phone Close To the Ear
You may not be talking to anyone on the phone, but the aggressive driver might think you are calling the cops. Better yet, contact the cops to alert them on what’s happening, but remain focused on the road.
22. Retain Crucial Information
If a driver lets out all the rage on you, keep as many details about them as possible. Note down the make and model of the vehicle, the color, and the license plate number. Using your smartphone, make a voice recording of what’s going on. Besides, a video would be great.
23. Don’t Get out of the Car
When facing road rage, your car is the best possible protection. You should lock the windows and not allow anyone to get close. Don’t risk getting out of the car, as the other person might even hit you with their own vehicle.
24. Don’t Go Home (Yet)
Even if you are afraid of road rage and someone is furious at you, don’t be quick to drive home, as you’ll be giving them a target. The best approach would be to drive around and take different routes so the individual tailing you can get lost and possibly give up. You may want to drive to a place with many people or to nearby law enforcement.
25. Get off the Freeway
If you are on a freeway during a road rage, get off and if you are not on the freeway, you may want to get on. Just like you, the angry driver was moving to a destination. Getting on or off the freeway affects the person, and they may back off.
If you realize someone is harassing you, you may stop the car. Often, the individual will stop to try and escalate the road rage. That’s the time to take off and leave them there. Or, once they see you’ve stopped, they might reconsider and speed off themselves.
27. Draw Attention to Yourself
If you feel someone is threatening you, flash your lights, honk the horn, and do anything to attract the attention of other people. Onlookers may call the police. A cop might see someone going on and bring it to a stop.
It’s always good to avoid being the cause of road rage, protect yourself from other people’s fury, and know what to do if you are the victim of road rage. Taking a defensive driving course will help you learn how to deal with road rage.
Our 5 hour class includes lessons on this as well.