Most of the time Road Rage is really just Life Rage. It goes something like this…It’s one of those mornings when nothing is going right. The kids won’t listen. Your spouse doesn’t care how you feel. You’re behind at work. Something else in life isn’t going the way you want. And now you’re running late. You get on the road and some jerk pulls out in front of you like your car is invisible, then they start driving 15 mph and you lose it! You lay on the horn and throw your hands up.
Hopefully, the person in the other car is having one of those wonderful peaceful mornings where no one can upset them and they just wave at you with a dorky smile, feeling sorry for you and your anger issues. But, you might not be so lucky. The other driver might have a little rage of their own and the result is escalation. Next thing you know, you are playing Days of Thunder on the interstate and get in a bad crash.
- Chill out when you are on the road.
- We have all been on both sides of this conflict. In other words, you have pulled out in front of people before.
- You won’t die because your trip was delayed a few seconds.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found that the number of fatal road rage-related traffic accidents increased from 80 deaths in 2006 to 467 in 2015! That’s nearly a 500% increase in a short timeframe.
Here is some information about Road Rage
When many people picture road rage, they think of drivers angrily muttering to themselves or squeezing their steering wheels. And while most road rage incidents rarely go beyond an angry honk, some can escalate into dangerous and even fatal situations.
Rising stress levels and greater numbers of vehicles on roadways have contributed to the road rage epidemic, as more and more drivers find themselves pressed for time and stuck in endless traffic jams.
You can avoid the risks associated with road rage by knowing how to spot it in others and how to avoid developing it yourself.
Watch Out for These Signs of Road Rage
If you’ve ever noticed another vehicle moving erratically or another driver acting aggressively, there’s a good chance you’re witnessing road rage. Drivers who experience road rage are often overcome with anger and impatience, and they take their frustrations out on their vehicles, the road, and anyone unfortunate enough to be in their vicinity.
Protect yourself and your loved ones by recognizing the following signs of road rage:
- Speeding—Driving over the speed limit is one of the most commonly violated traffic laws, but it’s also symptomatic of road rage. People frequently experience road rage when they’re running late or dealing with heavy traffic, and speed plus anger can be a deadly combination.
- Tailgating—Angry drivers may follow other vehicles too closely in response to slowdowns or perceived slights, such as thinking they were cut off in traffic. If you check your rear-view mirror and notice a driver tailgating you, activate your turn signal and change lanes as soon as it’s safe to do so.
- Honking—In many cases, road rage-afflicted drivers just want to be seen and heard by others so they can vent their frustrations. Car horns are all too effective at getting the attention of everyone nearby, and hearing a frequent or blaring horn may be a sign of road rage in someone nearby.
- Staring or gesturing—When drivers with road rage are driving or stopped next to motorists who incite their anger, they may stare or gesture at them in an attempt to start a confrontation. Never engage with drivers who do this. Avoid eye contact and keep your attention on the road ahead.
- Ramming—Although intentional crashes only occur in around three percent of road rage cases, they’re among the most dangerous symptoms of road rage. If another driver crashes into your vehicle, lock your doors, call 911, and stay inside your car while you wait for police to arrive.
Stay Calm and Collected Behind the Wheel with These Tips
Getting angry, upset, or impatient behind the wheel is a common experience. There’s nothing more frustrating than being late for work, only to get stuck behind a slow driver or hit a major traffic jam. But letting your emotions get the best of you can take your focus off the task at hand—arriving to your destination safely.
Keep these tips in mind to stay in a positive and focused mindset the next time you drive:
- Leave earlier than usual—If you find yourself constantly racing against the clock to get to work, school, or appointments, consider leaving a few minutes earlier. When you give yourself more time to arrive, unexpected delays will be easier to handle and anticipate.
- Get plenty of sleep—Drowsy driving is its own separate epidemic. But it can have another unexpected side effect: reduced tolerance for frustrating situations, which can lead to road rage.
- Listen to soothing music—The music you listen to can have a major impact on your mood and your driving abilities. Consider replacing metal, dance, or club music with jazz or soft rock. Music with fewer beats per minute can produce a calming effect, reducing anger and frustration.