Road rage is so common that we’re all likely to experience at least one incident during our driving lives. Sometimes the aggressive driver gets over his road rage quite quickly; a couple of rude hand gestures and cuss words, and the situation ends without injury to either party. Other times it’s much nastier; drivers abandon their cars and throw punches at each other, and there are countless videos on the internet of an enraged driver kicking their victim’s car or punching the window. Very aggressive enraged drivers sometimes intimidate their victims by chasing them for miles. A road rage incident can be very scary, but there are ways to avoid road rage while driving.
What Causes a Road Rage Incident?
By far the most common cause of these incidents is being cut off when another driver changes lanes without looking or changes lanes too suddenly. Other reasons are driving too slowly, tailgating, blocking the passing lane, headlight flashing, and horn honking. We all make mistakes, and sometimes we don’t even know what we’ve done to cause a road rage incident; other times we realize too late. Worst of all, we may just be in the wrong place at the wrong time and be confronted with someone looking to pick a fight. Some road rage incidents result in personal injury and auto body repairs. At the very least, a road rage incident leaves you feeling shaken and stressed, and ruins your day, so it’s worthwhile to know how to avoid road rage incidents where you can.
Don’t Respond in Kind
Someone shouts at us, so we scream back even louder; someone flashes a rude hand gesture, so we shoot a ruder one back. This is a sure way to escalate a relatively minor road rage incident into a big one that can result in hospitalization, court cases, and insurance claims. If you’re confronted with an aggressive driver, take the high ground and don’t respond in kind. This is the first step when trying to avoid a road rage incident.
Get Out of Their Way
As soon as you realize that another driver is angry with you, get out of their way. Try not to get rattled. Safely make a turn or get off the highway or pull off to the side. Do whatever you can safely do to avoid a road rage incident.
Don’t Challenge an Enraged Driver
We all have our pride, so when someone is rude to us, we’re tempted to stand up for ourselves, and not be bullied. An aggressive driver honks at us because we take a nanosecond to drive forward when the traffic light changes to green, so we refuse to move until the traffic light changes two more times. We may speed up or slow down or even weave from side to side on the road to further irritate an already enraged driver. Not only will this behavior escalate a road rage incident, but it’s also dangerous and reckless driving that can result in tragic consequences to ourselves and others. By waving your white flag and refusing to play his game, you’ll probably avoid road rage escalation.
Avoid Eye Contact
Making eye contact with an aggressor in a road rage incident will often worsen the situation. Psychologists have studied why this is and concluded that an aggressor understands eye contact as a signal that you’re ready for a fight. If you don’t make eye contact with an aggressor, he realizes that you’re prepared to move on and not engage.
If an enraged driver chases you and continues to threaten you, drive to the nearest police station and ask for help. If you can call 911 safely while you’re driving, do so. Explain to them that you are trying to avoid a road rage situation.
Set an example by not being the aggressor in a road rage incident. If someone cuts you off or honks their horn at you for no good reason, let it go. Control your anger and don’t take it personally. We’re courteous in other areas of our lives, we can be courteous drivers too.
If a road rage incident has resulted in damage to your car, call Orlando Auto Body at 480-418-4737 for a quote and advice on the repair.