It’s no secret that driving can be a frustrating experience. The roads are crowded, everyone is in a hurry, and there always seems to be someone who cuts you off. But it’s important not to let your anger get the best of you.
Road rage can lead to dangerous situations and even contribute to annual car accident deaths.
Annual car accident deaths amount to over 38,000 per year in the United States alone: According to the CDC, 1.35 million people around the world are killed in fatal crashes each year. That’s about 3,700 deaths per day.
Many of these accidents are caused by aggressive driving or by another name: road rage. We’ll provide expert advice for resisting road rage and safe driving tactics that can help keep you calm behind the wheel.
The Dangers of Road Rage and How to Avoid Them
So what is road rage? Road rage is simply anger or aggression expressed while driving. It can manifest itself in many ways, from honking the horn excessively to tailgating and physical violence. It is certainly one of the most critical issues in transportation and is extremely dangerous.
While there is no single cause of road rage, several factors can contribute to it. For instance, congested traffic conditions can be a major trigger as drivers become frustrated and impatient.
Similarly, driving in unfamiliar territory can also increase stress levels, as motorists feel unsure of themselves and their surroundings.
In general, anything that leads to feelings of stress or frustration while driving can contribute to road rage. By being aware of the potential triggers, motorists can help keep their emotions in check while behind the wheel.
Road rage is never justified, but that doesn’t mean it’s always easy to avoid. If you find yourself getting angry while behind the wheel, there are a few things you can do to try and keep your cool.
#1 – Understand Your Emotions and How They Can Affect Your Driving
Anyone who has ever been angry or upset while driving knows emotions can impact our ability to drive safely. When we feel positive emotions like happiness or excitement, we are more likely to take risks and be less cautious behind the wheel.
On the other hand, negative emotions like anger, sadness, or anxiety can make us more reactive and less able to think clearly. That’s why it’s so important to be aware of your emotions before you get behind the wheel.
If you’re feeling particularly angry or upset, it’s best to wait until you’ve calmed down before getting on the road. By understanding how your emotions can affect your driving, you can help to ensure that you always stay safe on the road.
#2 – Keep a Cool Head When Someone Cuts You Off or Tries to Race You
It can be easy to get angry when someone cuts you off in traffic or tries to race you on the highway. However, it’s important to keep a cool head in these situations.
Getting angry will only escalate the situation and could lead to dangerous consequences. Instead, some tips for staying calm and focused on the road include:
- Taking a few deep breaths before you get in the car.
- Putting on your favorite calming music to listen to while driving.
- Keeping your eyes on the road and avoiding looking at other drivers or pedestrians.
- Taking a few more deep breaths and count to 10 if you start to feel angry or frustrated.
- Avoiding rush hour traffic and choosing less busy routes if possible.
- Pulling over if you need to calm down. Don’t try to drive when you’re angry or upset.
Remember, safety should always be your top priority. By keeping a cool head, you can help to prevent accidents and keep yourself and others safe.
#3 – Don’t Respond to Road Rage With More Road Rage
While it’s natural to feel anger when someone cuts you off in traffic or tailgates you, it’s important to remember that responding with more aggression will only worsen.
If you find yourself the victim of road rage, the best thing to do is remain calm and try to diffuse the situation. Avoid making eye contact or gesturing at the other driver, and don’t engage if they start yelling.
If possible, pull over and let them pass. By staying calm and avoiding escalation, you can help to prevent a dangerous situation from getting out of control.
#4 – Take a Break If You Start Feeling Overwhelmed or Stressed
When you’re behind the wheel, it’s important to remain calm and focused. But if you start to feel overwhelmed or stressed, it’s important to take a break.
Pull over to a safe location and take a few deep breaths. Close your eyes for a moment and focus on your breath. Then, once you feel calmer, continue on your journey.
If you can’t pull over, try to find a rest area or exit so you can take a brief break. It’s also important to stay hydrated and well-rested when driving, so drink plenty of water and get plenty of sleep before hitting the road. By taking care of yourself, you can help ensure that you’ll be able to focus and stay safe while driving.
What to Do If You Start Feeling Road Rage
If you encounter another angry and aggressive driver, there are some steps you can take to defuse the situation.
- Stay calm. If you get angry, it will only escalate the situation.
- Try to avoid making eye contact or gestures that could be interpreted as hostile.
- Give the other driver a wide berth. If possible, change lanes or turn off at the next exit.
- If the other driver does become violent, don’t hesitate to call the police.
If someone is tailgating you, don’t brake suddenly or make other aggressive moves. Instead, slowly change lanes and let them pass. You can also try to de-escalate the situation by gesturing apologetically or waving.
Of course, it’s always best to avoid road rage altogether. One of the best ways to do this is to be a courteous driver yourself. Use your turn signals, don’t cut people off, and give other drivers plenty of space.
Staying Safe Is More Important Than Reaching Your Destination
Until we can leave roads behind and advanced technology for transportation is available, road rage is unfortunately here to stay. Road rage can have dangerous consequences, both for the driver exhibiting it and anyone else on the road.
It’s important to remember that our safety, and the safety of those around us, is always more important than getting to our destination a few minutes earlier.
If you feel road rage, take a deep breath, and try one of our suggested tactics. You may not solve every problem on the road, but you can at least avoid making them worse.
Luke Williams writes and researches for the auto insurance comparison site, 4AutoInsuranceQuote.com. His passions include best practices for insurance and safe driving.
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Source: Market Business News