We’ve all heard about “road rage.” It’s when a driver gets angry behind the wheel. Sometimes, the person will be aggressive in their driving habits, yell obscenities, use rude gestures, or even try to force other drivers off the road. Road rage can involve honking the horn, or even getting out of the car to confront another driver face-to-face, which can be scary for that person, especially if they’re stuck in traffic and have no way to escape.
“Inconsiderate driving, bad traffic and the daily stresses of life can transform minor frustrations into dangerous road rage,” said Jurek Grabowski, Director of Research for the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. “Far too many drivers are losing themselves in the heat of the moment and lashing out in ways that could turn deadly.”
Now that we’re smack in the middle of the holiday season, we may find ourselves in more situations that increase the chances of road rage, such as bumper-to-bumper traffic, crowded mall parking lots, drunk drivers, long road trips to visit relatives, and other congested traffic situations that lead to higher levels of stress.
What You Can Do to Deal With Road Rage
Here, we provide some tips to help you avoid suffering from road rage yourself, and we offer advice to help you better deal with others’ road rage.
- If you’re going somewhere that you know will be congested, leave early so you’ll have plenty of time to accomplish your goals, whether they’re to hit the gym, dine at your favorite restaurant, or do some Christmas shopping.
- Plan ahead by checking the traffic reports. If there is a lot of traffic along your route, consider taking a different route.
- Make a conscious effort to acknowledge that there will probably be some rude drivers on the road and decide ahead of time how you’re going to deal with them. This way, you’re mentally prepared and not caught by surprise when it happens.
- Do not take it personally. Often, people get angrier because they mistakenly believe the other driver has something personally against them when in reality, the other driver is not specifically targeting anyone.
- Before you hit the road, decide that an aggressive driver will not upset or anger you. If you encounter an aggressive driver, don’t fight back or try to get even as that will only raise your stress levels and increase the danger. Instead, be calm and stay out of the other driver’s way.