Everyday stress is high now with so many things affecting our emotions – inflation, current affairs, climate changes, and more. As a result, road rage is becoming more and more common. According to AAA, close to 80 percent of American drivers express their stress and anger on the roadways at one time or another.
What is road rage?
Road rage is defined as deliberately driving unsafely, without regard to anyone else on the road. The actual term originated years ago with a Los Angeles news station reporter at KTLA named it after a string of shootings occurred on several freeways in the city.
According to The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, road rage is when a driver “commits moving traffic offenses so as to endanger other persons or property; an assault with a motor vehicle or other dangerous weapon by the operator or passenger of one motor vehicle on the operator or passengers of another motor vehicle”.
A distinction is made between aggressive driving, which can be considered a traffic offense, and road rage, in which a driver can be charged with a crime.
What are instances of road rage?
As a driver or passenger, you’ve no doubt witnessed road rage, as it is, unfortunately, all too common. AAA cites examples of road rage as follows:
- Speeding in heavy traffic
- Cutting in front of another driver and then slowing down
- Running red lights
- Weaving in and out of traffic
- Changing lanes without signaling
- Blocking cars attempting to pass or change lanes
- Using headlights, horns or brakes to “punish” other drivers
- Cursing and rude or obscene gestures
- Throwing objects
- Forcing a driver off the road
How should you deal with road rage?
Starting with a “don’t.” Don’t react in kind in response to a driver exhibiting road rage. Doing so will only endanger your own well-being and that of any passengers in your vehicle.
The following are the best practices you should employ when faced with an overly aggressive and angry driver.
- Take a deep breath and drive safely to get away from an angry driver.
- Ignore rude gestures and don’t make eye contact with an aggressive driver. It usually makes him or her even angrier.
- Try to be tolerant and forgiving. You don’t know what may be going on in the life of the other driver.
- Follow the rules of the road and remain courteous. Even if others aren’t, it will still help you stay safe.
- Leave for your destination allowing plenty of time to get there without feeling rushed. Not feeling rushed diminishes your reaction to the actions of other drivers and makes you a safer driver. Listening to calming music is a good distraction.
- To help you not react aggressively, imagine that you have a loved one in the vehicle with you. You become a different, safer driver when responsible for someone else.
- Understand that people do stupid things and that there is not anything you can do about it.
- Don’t take the aggression personally.
- Never get out of your vehicle, as it offers protection.
- If you feel in danger, call 911.
There are many factors that contribute to road rage, traffic congestion, being late, careless drivers, but there is no excuse for road rage. Just understand that you can’t fix it and do everything you can to keep yourself and others safe.
If you’ve been hurt in an accident that wasn’t your fault, or have any questions about this article, or any other questions related to personal injury law, please call A Car Wreck Pro® Julian Rudolph Law at (305) 300-2702, or send us an email. Our personal injury consultations are always free.