It’s become all too common these days. Road rage has been responsible for many accidents and even bodily injury, due mainly to an overreaction and the personalization of driving situations. If something happens to make you believe that you could become the focus of another driver’s rage, here are a few things you can do to protect yourself:
- Remain in your car, and if approached on foot, roll up the windows and lock the doors.
- Even if you’re just talking with a passenger, avoid making gestures that another driver could interpret as hostile, rude, or otherwise negative.
- If you accidentally do something that annoys or upsets another driver, make overly-exaggerated expressions of regret, hold hand in a prayer gesture, mouth the word “sorry,” make a silly grimace―anything that will send the message that you acknowledge an error. This works very well to diffuse a situation. Some drivers have even begun to carry a printed sign that simply says “sorry” in bold letters, to hold up if they do something that annoys another driver.
According to a survey conducted by doctors on the topic of road rage, over half of all drivers in America will either express “road rage” themselves, or encounter another driver in a fit of “road rage” focused at them while they are driving. The U.S. Highway Safety Office reports that each year, tens of thousands of automobile accidents can be linked directly to the expression of road rage or by aggressive driving. An extremely frightening statistic: road rage accidents are now the leading cause of death for our children.
A Few Things You Can Do to Prevent Road Rage
Driving an automobile has become increasingly personalized, with many drivers feeling that the actions of other drivers are directed at them personally, rather than taking another’s driving errors in stride. Of course, this type of reaction is not uncommon as a secondary emotion to fear, especially if a driving error causes the enraged driver to make a sudden reactive maneuver to avoid collision. It has also been found that a majority of the drivers who were surveyed said that the flash of anger and personalization the experience brought on could be defused and settled if the offending driver had simply acknowledged the error with a gesture of apology.
Keep Your Eye, Mind, and Thoughts on the Road
Keeping emotions in control makes a huge difference in driving safety, but there are other things many drivers do that take their attention away from driving and can cause problems for themselves and others. Even if you work in your car and almost never seem to leave it, refrain from eating, reading, map consulting, Internet surfing, applying makeup, or holding your pets while you are driving.
If you use a cell phone and find that you must talk, use a hands-free device while you are driving and keep the calls short and at an absolute minimum.
As long as you are moving, your attention should be on the road and traffic at all times―not diluted by distractions or strong emotions.
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