There are numerous reasons why road rage occurs and much of the time it is down to anger and frustration. Tailgating, cutting up other drivers and irresponsible overtaking are just some of the reasons which causes drivers to fly into a rage but, sometimes, it can simply occur when a driver has done nothing particularly wrong.
Another driver may be in a rage due to entirely external circumstances. They might be late for a meeting or appointment or could, perhaps, be driving shortly after they’ve been having an argument or have received bad news. However, with an ever increasing number of vehicles on our roads these days, it is highly probable that at some point you will have been subject to some kind of abuse, whether that’s justified or not, from another driver.
Avoiding Road Rage
If you drive for a living, then you’ll be familiar with the pressures of life on the road. Furthermore, as you depend on driving for your livelihood, it’s important that you try to adopt a mentality of being a calm and courteous driver. Yes, you may be in a particular hurry to get from point A to point B but the chances are that the more concerned you are with driving faster to make up time, the more likely you are to drive dangerously which will not only increase your anger and frustration but is also likely to irk other drivers who are on the road at the same time as you. So, by driving a little more slowly and cautiously, it will not only help you to relax but you’ll also discover that there will be less reason for other drivers to become angry with you.
Playing soothing music in your vehicle can also help induce a feeling of calmness too. You should remember that, in the majority of cases, if a person nearby has driven irresponsibly, it is often more the case that this is due to a genuine mistake on their part or because of general carelessness.
We all make mistakes on the road so you should adopt a strategy of believing that most incidents which could result in road rage are, for the most part, simply driver errors that you should be willing to forgive. If, however, you’re the type of driver who has it fixed in their mind that other road users are ‘out to get them’, then you’ll be far more likely to encounter more instances of road rage.
Diffusing the Situation
There will always be situations where either you’ll have made a driving error or you may be the victim of another driver’s error. If you’re the guilty party, the best thing you can do is to put your hand up in the rear view mirror in an apologetic manner to acknowledge that you have made a mistake. In attempting to say “sorry” using a verbal hand signal, this is often sufficient to calm down a potentially hostile driver from reacting in such a way to escalate the situation. By not acknowledging your error, you might just be adding fuel to the fire. Another useful thing to do is to make yourself a cardboard sign saying ‘SORRY’ on it which you can quickly hold up, if you’ve made an error.
What if the Driver Forces You to Stop
If a driver forces you into stopping your vehicle because of a perceived injustice which they feel you have perpetrated, the important thing is to remain calm. Pull over and lock your doors and close your windows. The last thing you’ll want to happen is the situation escalating into a physical assault. The driver is likely to want to confront you but be very careful about how you let them do that. As they approach your vehicle, keep your windows and doors closed and the latter locked. You should be able to hear what they’ve got to say and acknowledge your mistake without the need to open a window.
In most cases, a sincere heartfelt apology and remaining calm should be enough to diffuse the situation sufficiently for them to get back into their own car and to move on. Even if you do not actually feel that you have done anything wrong to warrant offering an apology, it’s a far better course of action and should diffuse the situation which is a far better alternative than arguing back which could then make the problem become out of control.
Most of us carry mobile phones with us these days, especially those who drive for a living, so if you do feel that the situation is such that you might be in serious danger of a physical assault, do not hesitate to tell the other driver that you will call the police and do so, if necessary.