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Don’t Give in to Road Rage

How to Avoid Anger Behind the Wheel

Humans are emotional creatures – when something does not go our way, it is natural for us to react in some way. Emotions definitely do not go away while we are driving and sometimes the actions of others make us react in a negative way. Road rage is an emotion that many drivers have experienced in their driving life but some driver’s road rage goes to a level where it becomes dangerous for themselves and those around them. Before getting angry behind the wheel, think of how road rage could be avoided.

What is the Difference Between Aggressive Driving and Road Rage?

Many people consider aggressive driving and road rage one in the same. Although they are similar, there are many stark differences between the two. Aggressive driving is when a driver becomes reckless behind the wheel by speeding in traffic, tailgating, weaving in and out of traffic, changing lanes without signaling, or cutting off other drivers. Road rage, on the other hand, is a much more emotional action and is defined as malicious behavior that is directed at a specific driver or drivers on the road.

One way to think of road rage is escalated aggressive driving to the point of violence. Some of the signs of road rage include yelling, cursing, making obscene gestures, forcing other drivers off the road, ramming or sideswiping cars, and even brandishing or using firearms. It can be easy to see how aggressive driving can quickly turn into road rage when emotions are running high. Since road rage can become very dangerous very quickly, it is important to make sure to recognize and curb the behavior.

How to Properly Manage Road Rage Behavior

Since aggressive driving is the gateway to road rage, it is important to stop the behavior at the root. Aggressive driving, especially driving fast or weaving between lanes, usually occurs when a driver is in a hurry to get to his or her destination. To help avoid the urgency to get somewhere on time, make sure to leave ample or even extra travel time to help ease the stress and reduce the risk of participating in risky behaviors. Keeping anxiety, stress, and other emotions in check is the key to avoiding road rage.

Road rage often occurs when a driver witnesses other drivers participating in illegal or inconsiderate behaviors on the road in a way that negatively affects them. The key to keeping the anger at bay is by not responding in a personal way to other driver’s actions, even if they affect or are directed toward you. Consider that these drivers may be late to something important, feeling rushed, or feeling disrespected by someone else. If you see someone experiencing road rage or aggressive driving, make sure to keep a safe following distance.

*Photo Courtesy of MPD01605 via Creative Commons License