Road rage is a common phrase many believe only applies to other drivers, but what about their own driving ability and behavior? Even though 80 percent of drivers think that they’re above-average drivers, the odds of one of those drivers being proven overconfident is more than likely.
As humans, we tend to think highly of ourselves. Unfortunately, only 50 percent of drivers are considered above-average. Most of us are right in the middle when it comes to driving ability and we make many mistakes. When making those mistakes, we consider ourselves most often in the right, but when other people make mistakes behind the wheel, it seems more often than not, we get angry.
Dangers of road rage
Almost 80 percent of drivers have expressed some sort of behind the wheel road rage at least once in the past 30 days, according to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. It’s not just criminal, but prevalent and dangerous behavior. Aggressive drivers are more likely to lose control of their vehicles or drive at unsafe speeds. Even more startling, when crashes do occur, they’re usually worse.
Five tips you can avoid road rage
It’s human to know that everyone gets angry from time to time, but when you get angry behind the wheel, consequences can be dire. To keep from getting angry behind the wheel and letting road rage negatively impact your driving, keep these tips in mind.
- Give yourself plenty of time to get where you’re going. Being in a hurry isn’t always avoidable, but leaving a few extra minutes early will make you less stressed.
- Most road rage incidents happen to already emotional people – keep your stress down the best you can. If you find yourself emotionally charged before getting in the car, it could prove worthwhile to calm down before choosing to get behind the wheel.
- Remember that in the vast majority of road rage cases, other drivers aren’t trying to make you angry. In most cases, whatever they did that riled you up was unintentional.
- Keep in mind that that you’ve made poor driving mistakes yourself before. Work to silently forgive the drivers around you who may be engaging in risky behavior.
- Don’t escalate the situation through actions like aggressive hand gestures or tailgating the person who cut you off – you can only make things worse.
What to do if you encounter road rage
Remember that when another driver starts to act aggressively toward you, do not escalate the situation. Instead, do your best to ignore and avoid them. Slow down, change lanes, or even exit the highway for a few minutes to separate yourself from the aggressive driver in question. If you can’t get away from the driver, every state has a hotline you can call to report aggressive driving.
Remember not to stop if possible. If you do have to stop, pull into a crowded area like a strip mall, gas station or grocery store parking lot and stay in your car until the other person leaves.
How to avoid road rage
Avoiding the dangerous consequences of road rage is a two-way street — by reacting calmly to other drivers and staying calm yourself. Keep in mind that no perceived slight is worth endangering yourself or others on the road. With that mindset in tact, you’ll be able to keep driving, crash-free. Its always worthwhile to remember that your behavior also represents another entity, whether your family or employer, and can generate a negative reputation by association.
Learn more on additional strategies in controlling your driver risk management profile while creating a safety culture by downloading our white paper.