Depending on the day, driving can be a pleasure or a pain. A convenient way to get from Point A to Point B, driving allows you to travel in comfort and privacy. Unfortunately, the irresponsible actions of others can sometimes lead to tension on the road. If you’ve ever found yourself screaming or making obscene gestures at another driver, or been on the receiving end of another’s road rage, you know how quickly the situation can escalate. In the future, you can take steps to quickly defuse a road rage situation and ensure that you and others arrive home safely.
Your Own Road Rage
Stop Road Rage Before It Starts
While anyone who drives understands how frustrating it is to be cut off or tailgated, it’s critical that you maintain your cool and refuse to respond to an aggressive driver. Make a decision before you leave the house that you are not going to let other drivers provoke you. Being aware of potential road rage situations and deciding beforehand not to engage in them is half the battle when it comes to avoiding altercations.
Defuse the Situation
If you do become angry while driving, immediately try to distance yourself from the situation by falling back from the other car or pulling off the road in a safe spot to allow the driver to pass you by. The best thing you can do to help yourself calm down and defuse the situation is to remove yourself from the vicinity of the other driver as soon as possible.
If you do become involved in an altercation with another driver after becoming angry, step back and realize that your reaction is probably out of proportion to the situation. If you are in close proximity to the driver, say in a parking lot or at a stop light, apologize to the driver or make a gesture to let them know that you regret your reaction. Even if you started out angry, you don’t have to maintain it. Stop yourself in your tracks and refuse to engage in negative behavior.
Another’s Road Rage
Oftentimes, being the recipient of a road rage attack can simply be avoided by respecting the rules of the road. Drive the speed limit, stop fully at stop signs and lights and never tailgate the driver in front of you. In parking lots, look before you back out and never swoop in and steal a spot that you know someone is waiting for. By being courteous and considerate to other drivers, you greatly decrease the chances that other drivers will be gunning for you.
While there’s really no good excuse for another to behave abusively toward you while driving, realize that the other driver may simply be having a bad day and that his rage at you is not personal. The other driver may have just received some devastating news, be going through a personal challenge that has him ready to snap or simply have anger issues that need to be addressed. At any rate, road rage says more about him than it does about you.
Ensure Your Own Safety
If you do become a target of a driver who is jeopardizing your safety, take immediate measures to protect yourself. Slow down or pull off of the side of the road to allow the driver to pass or give an apologetic wave if you’ve done something wrong that provoked the other driver. Simply acknowledging your mistake is often enough to take the wind out of the aggressive driver’s sails. If necessary, proceed to a safe location and phone the police about a driver who seems intent on harming you.
While road rage is never an acceptable reaction, we’re all human and we all become angry from time to time. By refusing to contribute to antagonistic situations on the road, and by avoiding causing them when you can, you’ll find driving is a more pleasurable experience overall and you’ll arrive home in one piece.
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