Road rage is a factor in more than half of all fatal crashes. Examples of road rage can include cursing, rude or obscene gestures, throwing objects, ramming, sideswiping or forcing a driver off the road. Such behavior is far too common and becoming increasingly dangerous. In just the past 10 years, there’s been a 500% increase in road rage incidents.
For fleet drivers, there are many factors that can contribute to road rage and aggressive driving behavior. Working long hours, sitting in traffic or confrontation with other aggressive drivers can trigger one to make unsafe choices out of anger. To make matters even more dangerous, many company drivers operate big, heavy-duty vehicles. It can be easy for these drivers to get frustrated by others who don’t understand how challenging it can be to navigate a tractor-trailer.
How can companies combat road rage amongst their fleet to protect their drivers, communities, brand and reputation? Below are tips to avoid road rage.
How to Prevent Road Rage
Keep Your Stress Levels Down
Most road rage incidents happen because of already emotionally charged drivers. If your drivers find themselves frustrated or upset, it could prove worthwhile to calm down before choosing to get behind the wheel. Even small factors, such as spilled coffee or a driver not using their blinker, can contribute to heightened stress and emotional levels when a driver is already on edge.
Take Your Time
Running late is one of the leading reasons given for road rage. Being in a hurry isn’t always avoidable, as life is unpredictable and things happen. But leaving a few extra minutes early can reduce stress levels and encourage safe driving behavior. Relay to your drivers that padding a schedule with 10 to 15 extra minutes can keep them safer on the road.
Don’t Engage in Erratic Behavior
It’s incredibly dangerous to tailgate, speed, weave in and out of traffic, drive slowly in the left lane out of spite, flash headlights or cut off other vehicles to make a point. This goes for making rude gestures as well or yelling at other drivers. Let your drivers know that it’s not their role to remind others of how they should be driving. Instead, the safest option is to engage in courteous driver behavior while behind the wheel.
Don’t Escalate the Situation
Sometimes drivers exhibiting behaviors associated with road rage can be unrelenting and unreasonable. When a driver starts to act aggressively toward someone else on the road, escalating the situation is not the answer. Instead, encourage your drivers to do their best to ignore and avoid them. Slowing down, changing lanes or even exiting the highway for a few minutes can separate your driver from the aggressive driver in question.
Stay Vigilant with Frequent Driver Training
Driver training is a proven method of reducing crashes and violations related to road rage. Fleets who train monthly have far fewer overall violations – 25% less than the industry average and 50% less than fleets who train twice a year. Training can teach drivers about what causes road rage and how to handle specific situations safely. It can also provide drivers with crucial defensive driving techniques. Drivers can learn how to communicate intentions to others and maintain a professional attitude while driving.
At SambaSafety, we are constantly adding and improving training resources to keep our communities safe. Click here to review our full list of driver training courses, and download the checklist below to discover which defensive driving principles you need to include in your existing safety program.