Road rage is classified as assault with a deadly weapon, the weapon being the enraged driver’s car. Driving recklessly (or aggressive driving) without intent to cause harm is considered a traffic offense. A road rage incident is a criminal act. Learning how to control your own anger, and how to defuse or avoid the anger of other drivers will help avoid a potentially deadly traffic event.
Preventing road rage is done by polite driving and tact with aggressive drivers.
Road rage is usually a result of aggressive driving that makes someone very angry. Therefore refraining from aggressive driving will help in preventing road rage in another driver.
A study from AAA found about 56% of fatal crashes involved aggressive driving.
Fifteen tips to avoid aggressive driving habits and to avoid road rage
- Be well rested when you drive.
The more tired you are the more easily you will become irritated.
Also the more exhausted you are the more likely you are to be distracted and less observant which will tend to cause driving errors that appear aggressive and possibly provoking road rage.
- Listen to traffic reports on the radio to avoid congested areas.
You can do this on side streets before you reach the highway where congestion is more likely.
- Know alternative routes to your destination.
This would include back roads that have less traffic. Even if they are a few miles longer it is usually worth it to avoid long delays in traffic.
- Avoid a lot of noise and loud music.
It is well know that lots of noise puts more stress on a person. Preferably listen to soft music or talk radio. And remind passengers to keep the noise down.
- Try driving at cooler times of day.
Heat, especially when it can not be controlled makes people more irritable. It will also be easier on your engine to drive when it’s cooler.
- You can help in preventing road rage by giving yourself plenty of time to get to your destination.
Knowing you may be running late automatically puts you into “speed mode” where you are more tempted to get around other drivers to get where you are going.
- If you are running late call the person and tell them you will be late even if you must pull over to do so.
Knowing that the person/s you are going to, expect you will be late takes a load of stress off you and you don’t have to rush to meet their expectations.
- Avoid driving if you are already emotionally upset or excited.
I was upset thinking about a call I got from a lawyer about a financial matter. While I was driving and thinking about the issue I ran a red light that I normally wouldn’t have run.
- Exercise patience while driving.
Patience prevents a multitude of problems including car collisions. Mentally relax when unexpected delays happen. Just be glad you aren’t alone. Everyone around you is delayed too. You will be preventing road rage in yourself by practicing patience.
Courtesy and communication to other drivers:
- Signal early before braking.
- Give plenty of room for the driver behind when changing lanes.
- Keep at least 2 car lengths of space ahead and on the sides of your vehicle.
In the pictures above the driver is too close to the vehicle ahead and beside. If the car beside you skidded out of control into your lane his car would hit yours if you were right next to him. You might hit the back of a vehicle if the driver had to suddenly brake and you were less than 2 seconds behind him.
- Always signal when changing lanes.
- Count two seconds before proceeding at a stop sign.
- Don’t step on your gas pedal to get through a yellow light.
Using all these polite driving habits will keep you from seeming like an aggressive driver, and thus preventing road rage in drivers around you.
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