Road rage, we’ve all experienced it at some point. Someone cuts you off, slams on their brakes, or just drives out of control. It’s a natural reaction to be upset by their behavior, but safety should remain a priority as you react. It is important to understand that displaying your angst will only escalate the situation.
The DMV defines road rage as “aggressive or violent behavior stemming from a driver’s uncontrolled anger at the actions of another motorist.” According to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, 60% of 1,500 highway deaths are due to aggressive driving. That is about 900 drivers every year.
The Pennsylvania DOT gives great advice for dealing with aggressive drivers:
- Get out of their way by choosing a different lane, or let them go first.
- Avoid eye contact with the aggressive driver.
- Keep the passing lane open at all times.
- Ignore gestures and don’t reciprocate.
- Don’t speed up if they are passing you.
- If the situation calls for action, park in a safe place and call the police.
- If they are following you, do not drive home. Go somewhere public like a police station or convenience store.
How to Avoid Road Rage
Road rage is a learned behavior. If you get angry behind the wheel, chances are your parents, grandparents, or anyone else that frequently drove you around as a child also had road rage. This also means that the opposite reaction can be learned as well.
To avoid getting road rage it is recommended to listen to calming music that you like, keep a safe distance between you and other vehicles at all times, and remember that nobody is perfect. If you get stressed about getting somewhere on time, leave early to plan for accidents or road construction.
Remember, getting angry is only going to make the situation worse. Take a deep breath, let the driver who is causing the issue to pass you, and do not engage with them. You will get to your destination without causing an accident or a scene.