De-Escalating and Avoiding Road Rage Incidents

Aggressive driving and road rage lead to thousands of police-reported accidents every year, and many more incidents that are not reported. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) warns against allowing your emotions to take control while you are driving because road rage can escalate quickly.

If you find yourself in a potentially dangerous situation, de-escalate the emotions involved and help avoid road rage incidents with these seven tips.

Apologize, Even If You Do Not Believe You Were in The Wrong

Often, the easiest way to steer clear of road rage is to apologize. Whether or not you were right or wrong in the situation, offering an apology is the best way to take the higher ground and prevent a more dangerous situation from developing.

A simple, friendly wave of the hand or another “I’m sorry” gesture can often calm an angry driver. Remember, however, that some people interpret eye contact as threatening, so you may want to avoid it.

Move Over and Give Them Space

If a driver is tailgating you on I-95, you do not need to speed up and endanger yourself. You also do not need to slow down, forcing them to do the same. Instead, your best option is to move to another lane as soon as safely possible and allow the driver to pass. Once you are in another lane, maintain your distance from the aggressive driver to keep away from road rage.

Avoid Your Own Triggers

We all have things that annoy us and may trigger our own sense of road rage on the highway.

Some common triggers include:

  • Tailgating
  • Traffic jams
  • Another driver not using turn signals
  • Incorrect merging habits

Recognizing your triggers and taking steps to avoid them can help reduce your stress behind the wheel, and make you less likely to drive aggressively. For example, if you know that traffic stresses you out, you may want to leave the house 15 minutes earlier to avoid the morning rush hour. 

Find Ways to Release Stress from Your Everyday Life

Often, the driving force behind road rage is not something that occurs on the road at all. Instead, it is stress and frustration from work, family life and other sources finding a way to escape. One stressed out driver is inconsiderate or aggressive with another stressed out driver, and both explode with pent-up frustration. To help reduce your risk of a road rage accident, try to reduce the stress in your own life. Listen to calming music while you drive or learn relaxing breathing techniques.

Understand the Dangers of Road Rage

There is no doubt about it: road rage is dangerous. It puts you and your passengers at risk. Getting excessively angry behind the wheel — whether that angry person is you or another driver — is risky because it can easily lead to acts of hostility or illegal driving maneuvers:

  • Tailgating
  • Speeding
  • Swerving
  • Improper lane changes

These actions can lead to a crash, and devastating injuries or even death. Not all road rage injuries and fatalities are crash-related, however. In some cases, one driver exits their vehicle and approaches the other driver. This can result in threats and even violence.

Stay in Control of Your Own Actions

It is easy to lose control of yourself when emotions are running high. Sometimes, your first instinct is to yell at another driver, give them a hand gesture to express your dismay, or blast your horn. This is often a bad idea, because it feeds anger in other drivers. By reacting in this way, you are putting yourself and your passengers in danger.

Anytime you honk your horn in anger, you have no idea how the other driver will react. In most cases, they probably will not lash out. Occasionally, though, they may react in an overly aggressive manner. By staying in control of your own actions, you can help other drivers remain calm and collected as well.

Seek Emotional Support If Necessary

Some people have trouble managing anger, or seem especially prone to road rage. If you struggle with this on a regular basis, you may want to consider talking to a trusted friend or professional counselor about your struggle. This may offer you some insight into your behavior, and help you find an effective remedy.

While taking these steps can help to de-escalate a road rage situation may help, accidents caused by aggressive driving can still occur. If you suffered serious injuries in a Pennsylvania road rage accident or another crash resulting from aggressive driving, Cordisco & Saile LLC can help you get the compensation you deserve to cover your medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering and more. Call us today at 215-791-8910 to schedule your free initial consultation.