We have all been there. We have all experienced the frustration when someone cuts you off or tailgates you and almost causes a car accident. It is easy to act on that anger, but if you do you risk creating an extremely dangerous situation.
Road rage is a serious cause for concern and poses a real threat to everybody on and near the roadway. According to an AAA Foundation survey, a whopping 90 percent of the drivers believed aggressive drivers were either a “somewhat” or “very serious” threat to their personal safety.
Road rage is not just unnerving—it can be deadly. In a separate study of 10,000 events of road rage over a seven-year period, the AAA Foundation reported that road rage resulted in 218 murders and 12,610 injuries.
In this article, we share tips from industry experts for both avoiding the feelings of road rage and for avoiding becoming a victim of road rage (and by extension, car accidents). If another driver is making you fear for your safety, call 911 and drive to the nearest police station.
What are some different types of road rage and what causes it?
Road rage essentially means doing anything out of “ill will” or disregard for someone else’s safety. Road rage can include cutting people off, intentionally bumping into another vehicle, tailgating another driver, throwing items at other drivers, running somebody off the road, and of course, physically assaulting other drivers.
Oftentimes, it occurs when a driver takes offense to another driver’s actions. For example, if a driver cuts you off, you may get angry but then just let it go. However, in some cases, people are unable to let things go and they let the situation escalate and let their anger affect their driving.
Once your mind is flooded with intense anger, it is very difficult to drive safely, defensively, and with a clear head. Leon James, PhD, co-author of Road Rage and Aggressive Driving, explains, "With road rage, you're basically driving under the influence of impaired emotions."
How do I avoid acting out of anger on the road?
Dr. James notes that the key to avoiding road rage is to recognize and control aggressive thoughts and feelings. If you feel that anger is an issue in your life, therapy or anger management classes may help you deal with situations in a safe, responsible way.
Avoiding road rage is not an easy, one-time fix. It takes dedication to living, driving, and reacting in a controlled, considerate manner. It requires a "lifelong program of self-improvement, plus a driver personality makeover," says Dr. James.
How do I avoid becoming a victim of road rage?
Driving thoughtfully, willfully, and defensively are essential to avoiding episodes of road rage. Below are a few tips to keep in mind to avoid falling victim to an aggressive driver.
- Do not cut people off. Leave ample room when you move into another lane.
- If you accidentally make a mistake like cutting someone off, gesture/mouth an apology.
- If someone is impatient to pass you, slow down and let them—even if you are traveling at the speed limit and are in the right.
- Do not tailgate people. It is not only dangerous, but it also tends to anger other drivers. As a general rule of thumb, leave one car length between your car and that of the other driver for every 10 miles per hour you are travelling, e.g., five car lengths if you are going 50 mph.
- Do not engage in hateful interactions. If another driver starts yelling profanities, honking, or waving hatefully at you, do not engage. Give him/her room, avoid eye contact, do not let it upset you, and continue on your way. If a driver follows you, call the police and drive to a police station or a crowded shopping center.
For more informative articles about safe driving in Houston, visit our blog. If you ever suffer injuries in an accident, be sure to speak with a car accident lawyer at The Law Offices of Hilda L. Sibrian, PC. Contact us at 713-863-1515.