Traffic jams, daily stresses of life, and inconsiderate drivers are a recipe for disaster as they increase the risk of triggering road rage. Some people may just shrug their shoulders and ignore other drivers who act aggressively or who are downright rude. However, the results of a recent survey conducted by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety suggests that almost eight million U.S. drivers have engaged in road rage incidents, involving purposely ramming or cutting off other drivers. Drivers who drive with an overly aggressive attitude make the roadways dangerous for yourself, the passengers in your car, and other drivers.
Here are five ways that you can avoid being involved in road rage, even when driving conditions are less than ideal.
1. Do Not Engage
In the case of road rage, it doesn’t matter who started it. If another driver cuts you off, pulls alongside your vehicle to yell at you or make obscene gestures, do not make eye contact, gesture, or yell back. Look away, continue driving in a calm manner, and give the other driver some space. Take the high road to avoid a potential accident that could put you and others in harm’s way.
2. Keep Calm
Driving in rush hour or getting stuck behind an accident in a traffic jam is very stressful, especially when you need to be somewhere. Before you even get behind the wheel, ensure that you have a clear head and that you are giving yourself ample time to get where you need to go. If you know that you will be traveling in traffic, make sure to give yourself extra time. If you do find yourself stuck in unexpected traffic, listen to music, try to relax, be cautious to allow other drivers to enter traffic, and allow more impatient drivers to proceed in front of you, so as to avoid confrontations.
3. Remember that Everyone is Human
When you’re inside the shelter of our own car, it’s all too easy to think that your driving is superior to everyone else on the road. Try to remember that every fellow driver is human, and you never know what they might be going through that could be contributing to their “bad” driving. If someone is driving slowly, they could be lost or having car troubles. If someone cuts you off, it might be because their mind is currently occupied by some crisis in their life. Remember, we are all human and sometimes stress makes us do things we normally would not do. Try to give them the benefit of the doubt instead of getting angry.
4. Lay Off the Horn
Even though you may encounter a particularly rude driver, avoid using your horn unless it is absolutely necessary to avoid a collision. For example, you should use your horn to try to get another driver’s attention if they are about to merge into your lane and they don’t see you because you are in their blind spot. You should not use your horn, however, when it is simply to express your anger at another driver’s driving. If you or another driver are not at risk for a collision, just lay off the horn.
5. Pull Over and Let Tailgaters Pass
If you are being tailgated, do not add fuel to the fire by hitting your brakes trying to get the other driver to back off. This will only make the other driver angrier and increase the chance that he will ram you the next time you hit the brakes. Instead, pull over or switch lanes if possible and just let him pass.
Steven A. Bagen & Associates Are on Your Side
If you find yourself a victim of an accident caused by road rage, we are here to help you. Steven A. Bagen & Associates will provide you with the dedicated legal counsel you need to assist you in recovering full financial compensation for your injuries and other losses, including lost wages, and more. Contact us today to schedule your free complimentary consultation.