There are many motorists who tend to vent their frustrations and anger when they get behind the wheels. After they have been involved in a situation where another driver tailgated, cut off or gave an abusive remark or gesture to them, these furious drivers are likely to commit acts of violence that may include retaliatory actions that go beyond a simple threat. There have been many instances where angry drivers have assaulted other motorists and in worst cases have killed other drivers in the heat of the moment.
Aggressive driving or road rage usually happen when drivers are in a foul mood or are involved in wrong circumstances. If you are a driver, you are probably wondering how you can avoid being a victim of an enraged driver or how you can prevent yourself from becoming one. While there are no guaranteed techniques, there are some things you can do to avoid conflicts on the road.
Plan your route ahead. Research has shown that some of the most erratic driving occur in places where drivers find themselves at lost. Hence, if you do not have a GPS integrated on your vehicle and you are not exactly familiar with the place you are heading to, it pays to plan your route ahead of time so that you would not be frustrate while on the road finding your stop.
Drive with a clear head. The combination of stress, fatigue and problems can cloud any person’s logic, and if you drive carrying all these baggage with you, consider yourself a ticking time bomb. If you are aware that you are encountering these things, it would be wise to come at a conscious decision to avoid driving altogether. Or, if you are already on the road, get some fresh air and keep your attention diverted by listening to a soothing music.
Drive professionally and in a considerate manner. Recent surveys have shown that numerous drivers are enraged by certain behaviors of other drivers that they find offending. These include driving slowly in the left lane, cutting off, tailgating and sending off remarks or gestures. You can protect yourself against an angry driver by following these things:
- If you are driving on the left lane and the driver behind you wants to pass, learn to give way and let him or her through. Although you are technically “right” because you are running under speed limit, you may put yourself in danger by pissing drivers behind you.
- To avoid cutting off, make sure to use your turn signal to tell the other driver your intentions. If you mistakenly cut someone off, apologize immediately using appropriate gestures. If another driver cuts you off, slow down and give space for him or her to merge into the lane.
- Many motorists feel provoked when they are followed very closely. With this in mind, consider leaving a two-second space between your ride and the one behind you. If the car right in front of you is driving slowly and you cannot pass by, simply pull back and allow more space between you two so that if the driver of the car does something, you would be able to easily get out.
- As a driver, it is never wise to give out obscene gestures. As such, always keep your hands on your steering wheel. If you have to change or merge lanes, courteously give hand signals. As much as possible avoid using your horn if not necessary. Also, bear in mind that even a simple head shaking can send a wrong message, so make sure to be a cautious with your actions.
Avoid engaging in a conflict. Remember that an angry driver will not start a conflict unless another driver joins in. Hence, if you find yourself dealing with an angry driver, do yourself a favor by keeping your cool. This is easier said than done, but just think of the possible consequences if you go head to head against the other driver. If the other motorist tries to pick a fight, steer clear and put as much distance as you can between your vehicle and his or hers. If you feel that the enraged driver is trying to follow you to retaliate, get help from authorities and do not attempt to resolve the issue yourself.
Drop the attitude. One of the most essential things you can do to prevent road rage is to change the way how you approach driving. If you have the tendency to compete with others while on the road because you are racing the clock, take note that this is something that will do you more harm than good. Consider giving yourself more time for your trip, as this will make you feel more relaxed and more rational. Likewise, if you encounter an angry driver, rather than passing judgment on that person immediately, try to put yourself on his or her shoes. He or she might be frequently changing lanes because he or she is a doctor on call. Whatever the reason is, this does not concern you, so do not personally involve yourself with what the other driver might be going through.