Calming down Road Rage
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), road rage "involves a criminal act of violence, whereas aggressive driving can range from tailgating to speeding to running red lights."
Road rage is an epidemic among drivers that can cause serious consequences, including death in the case of a car accident. Clearing your mind and driving calmly and safely can save your life.
Let’s talk about some ways to combat road rage and avoid dangerous actions.
What is Aggressive Driving?
Aggressive driving is like the gateway to road rage. Perhaps you were just cruising along, when someone began tailgating you. You quickly become angry and begin to brake check them and swerve to not let them pass you. This kind of aggression can be dangerous and lead to worse actions.
Aggressive driving could include things like: tailgating, cutting people off, cursing other drivers, not using your blinker, speeding, flashing your lights and honking. This can happen when you are angry or upset. It is important to stop yourself at this stage before it escalates into road rage.
What is Road Rage?
When your anger gets totally out of control, your actions may turn from just aggressive to violent. This could include running another car off of the road, hitting them on purpose, or pulling over and starting a physical confrontation.
These actions are not only illegal, they are extremely dangerous, even lethal.
Causes of Road Rage
Different situations outside of driving may make you more prone to road rage at certain times. Perhaps you were let go at work, or you and your spouse are separating. These life changes are extremely stressful. It is understandable that you would be upset, but as a driver you must be aware that you could be more easily provoked at these times.
Some people are always more susceptible to road rage. This could include people with certain psychological disorders, and certain age groups. Young males statistically have the highest rates of aggressive driving and road rage. If you are one of these types of people, or if you know you have a short temper, you should be aware of that while driving.
Alleviating Road Rage
If you feel yourself starting to get angry, turn on some soothing music, whatever that means to you. For some, that may mean turning to a lite mix station or for some it could be country music.
Before your anger gets too out of control, try to change your mentality. Realize that traffic is part of driving, and the other drivers are only trying to get places just like you are.
Keep a good distance between yourself and other vehicles. This can keep you from causing any strife between you and the person in front of you. You can also read about the dangers of tailgating here.
If another driver is showing signs of road rage toward you, try to diffuse the situation. Wave to them, or mouth that you are sorry. If they are trying to pass you, let them do so easily. This means being the bigger person. If you do feel that someone is becoming violent toward you, call the police right away.
When your anger starts to get out of hand, pull over. Take some deep breaths. Imagine the negative consequences of a violent reaction, and wait to drive again until you have full control over your emotions and actions. This tactic can keep you from doing something you regret because of road rage.
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