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30 Tips on Protecting Yourself Against Road Rage

David has been an online writer for over seven years. His articles cover everything from video games to the automotive industry.

Road rage can lead to property damage, injury, and even death.

Road rage can lead to property damage, injury, and even death.

What Is Road Rage?

Simply put, road rage is driving in an aggressive, hostile, or angry manner. The nicest and kindest of people can turn vicious behind the wheel. Any little thing can set someone off. The worst part is that people act on their rage, now more than ever. Sometimes, the consequences can be deadly.

I often suffer from road rage. I feel like I have a very extreme case. I don't know how many times I get behind the wheel and try to talk myself down before I even start driving. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. However, I have found certain ways to deal with my rage.

I have also been a victim of road rage; in fact, I was the victim of someone else's rage just prior to writing this article. I wasn't prepared when I became the victim of road rage, but I am now.

This Article Will Cover

  • how to control your road rage,
  • how to prevent others on the road from developing road rage,
  • and what to do if you are the victim of road rage.

How to Prevent Your Own Road Rage

I have been dealing with my road rage since I was first behind the wheel. I have tried to temper it, but sometimes it grows out of control. It's not bad, but it could be better. Here are some tips I do when I realize my blood is boiling while out on the road:

  1. Leave on time. Sometimes my rage gets going because I am in a hurry. If I need to go somewhere, I try to leave on time so I don't feel rushed. If you feel less rushed, then you will have less of a reason to get upset by other drivers.
  2. Listen to music. If you listen to music, you have something that distracts you. Try not to pick music that may put you in an aggressive or fast-driving mood. Pick something that could calm you down.
  3. Think about what you could lose if you act out your rage. Road rage can make you do stupid things, from giving a rude gesture to actually assaulting someone. You could end up in jail, lose your job, lose your family, or even lose your life. Think before you act.
  4. Don't use your car to act out your rage. Honking your horn, flashing your lights, etc. are all signs of road rage. A driver should rarely have a reason to flash their lights or honk their horn. If you do it often, then you have a problem.
  5. Pull over. No, don't pull off where the other driver went to. Instead, pull off someplace else, get out of your car, and take a breather. Once you shake off the bad experience, you can move on and get back on the road.
  6. Always act like someone else is in the car with you. When someone is in my car with me, I am a completely different driver. So always act as if someone is with you, that will keep your feelings under control.
  7. Make your car as comfortable as possible. Your surroundings affect your mood. So if it's hot, crank up your AC. If it's cool, then turn your heater on. Have a good drink handy as well.
  8. Consider that someone else could be even angrier than you. If two people that have road rage confront one another, the results could be explosive. Someone could have worse road rage than you, and physically take it out on you, putting you in harm's way.
  9. Realize other people are stupid. I have seen people talk on their cell phone, eat, and even play the trumpet while they are driving. People are stupid, and they do stupid things on the road. Just realize that and move on. You could say, if it helps, that these other people are only human. You will do stupid things on the road too, so keep that in mind.
  10. Remember that in the end, it doesn't matter. Whether you get home a few minutes early, or miss that green light, in the grand scheme of things it doesn't matter. So don't dwell on something that you'll forget about by the next day. There are bigger and better things in life to think about.

Do you have road rage?

For each question, choose the best answer for you.

  1. Someone cuts you off, how do you react?
    • I chase them down, honk at them, flip them the bird, etc.
    • I make a rude gesture, then go about my day.
    • I just ignore it and continue driving.
  2. You are being tailgated, what do you do?
    • I stop short a lot, slow down on purpose, block the driver from changing lanes.
    • I slow down a little, but eventually let him pass.
    • I change lanes and let the aggressive driver pass me.
  3. A motorcycle is about to get between you and another car at a stop light, what do you do?
    • I get as close to the other car as I can, so I can block them.
    • I get close to the other car, but still give barely enough room for the motorcycle to squeeze through.
    • I gave the motorcycle enough space to get between us.
  4. Someone on their cell phone almost hits you while driving, how do you react?
    • I get out of my car and start yelling at them, even taking aggressive action against their car.
    • I honk at them and give them a rude gesture, then go on my way.
    • I am thankful I am fine, and go on my way.
  5. You are having a bad day, how does that affect your driving?
    • I am aggressive. Every person is too slow or in the way, and I make sure they know about it.
    • I may a bit more aggressive, but I still watch what I'm doing.
    • I try not to let that affect my driving.

Scoring

Use the scoring guide below to add up your total points based on your answers.

  1. Someone cuts you off, how do you react?
    • I chase them down, honk at them, flip them the bird, etc.: +2 points
    • I make a rude gesture, then go about my day.: +1 point
    • I just ignore it and continue driving.: +0 points
  2. You are being tailgated, what do you do?
    • I stop short a lot, slow down on purpose, block the driver from changing lanes.: +2 points
    • I slow down a little, but eventually let him pass.: +1 point
    • I change lanes and let the aggressive driver pass me.: +0 points
  3. A motorcycle is about to get between you and another car at a stop light, what do you do?
    • I get as close to the other car as I can, so I can block them.: +2 points
    • I get close to the other car, but still give barely enough room for the motorcycle to squeeze through.: +1 point
    • I gave the motorcycle enough space to get between us.: +0 points
  4. Someone on their cell phone almost hits you while driving, how do you react?
    • I get out of my car and start yelling at them, even taking aggressive action against their car.: +2 points
    • I honk at them and give them a rude gesture, then go on my way.: +1 point
    • I am thankful I am fine, and go on my way.: +0 points
  5. You are having a bad day, how does that affect your driving?
    • I am aggressive. Every person is too slow or in the way, and I make sure they know about it.: +2 points
    • I may a bit more aggressive, but I still watch what I'm doing.: +1 point
    • I try not to let that affect my driving.: +0 points

Interpreting Your Score

A score between 0 and 3 means: Your road rage is minimal, and you know how to control it.

A score between 4 and 6 means: You have road rage, but you don't really act on it.

A score between 7 and 8 means: You have some road rage issues, and something could push you into doing something you may regret.

A score of 9 means: You have road rage issues and should seek help before you hurt yourself and others.

A score of 10 means: You have road rage issues and should seek help immediately before you hurt yourself and others.

Causes of Road Rage

 

 

 

Heavy Traffic

Honking Horn

Bumping Into Vehicle

Cutting Someone Off

Flashing Lights

Auto Accidents

Tailgating

Prejudice: Race, Gender, Etc.

Rude Gestures

Distracted Driving (Cell Phone, etc.)

Throwing Items From Vehicle

Speeding

Weaving In and Out of Traffic

Yelling From Vehicle

Driving Slowly

How to Protect Yourself From the Road Rage of Others

Road rage has become a scary thing nowadays. People are taking a lot more action when their road rage boils. What you do can make or break the situation. So keep these tips in mind when driving on the road.

  1. Drop your own road rage. You will make the situation so much worse if you act out on your own rage. You could do something small, then the other driver will do something else, then you'll do something, and it will escalate.
  2. Practice defensive driving. There is a good chance that someone on the road is having a bad day, is in a hurry, or driving intoxicated. If you drive defensively, you can avoid being part of those people's bad day.
  3. Don't look at other drivers. Making eye contact with someone that can provoke a situation. It could make your own road rage build if you see them make a gesture or hear them yell at you. Just ignore drivers.
  4. Don't tailgate or cut other people off. Nothing antagonizes a driver more than someone who drivers aggressively against them. So don't do anything to set them off.
  5. Let the aggressive drivers have the right of way. Even if you know you are in the right, just let the person have their way. It will avoid a deadly confrontation in the long run.
  6. Act like you are oblivious to the situation. Someone with road rage wants to get a rise out of you. If they see that you didn't react to their actions at all, they will move on and be overly agressive somewhere else.
  7. Focus on your destination. If you feel a driver is going to start harassing you, then focus on your destination and nothing else.
  8. Don't let yourself be distracted. Someone with road rage may become furious if they see you distracted by talking on a cell phone, or doing something else other than driving. Just focus on your driving to give them less of a reason to be upset at you.
  9. Don't react to their actions. If someone honks at you, don't honk back. If you get cut off, don't try to cut them off. Reacting is the worse way to deal with someone with road rage.
  10. Get a camera. There are dash cams that can be installed in your car that can record while you are driving. Most of them swivel, allowing you to turn them to face any direction you want if a road rage incident happens. Most people don't care if they are caught on camera, but a video recording can be insurance for you if they try to claim you did something.

How to Deal With Being a Victim of Road Rage

Eventually you could become the victim of road rage. That is when the situation gets scary. Here are some tips that could save your life:

  1. Keep calm. In situations where I was the victim of the rage of others, I reacted based on my fear. I could have done better had I just kept calm.
  2. Put your cell phone to your ear. Even if you aren't talking to anyone, the aggressive driver will think you are calling the police. Better yet, call the police to advise them what is going on. But keep your eyes on the road.
  3. Retain as much information as possible. The make and model of the car. The color of the car. The license plate number. If you have a cell phone, make a voice recording of everything going on. Video would work as well.
  4. Don't go home. If someone is furious at you, don't lead them to your home. That will give them a target. Instead, drive around and take varying routes so the person trying to tail you may end up getting lost and giving up. Try to drive to someplace with lots of people, or to local law enforcement.
  5. Don't get out of your car. Your car is your best protection. Lock your doors, don't let the driver get close. If you get out of your car, you risk the person trying to hit you with their own car.
  6. Stop. If you feel you are being harassed, then stop your car. Most times the person will stop to escalate the confrontation. That is when you can gun it and take off. Or, once they see have called your bluff by stopping, they may reconsider and take off themselves.
  7. If you are on the freeway, get off. if you are not on the freeway, then get on. The furious driver was heading to a destination, just like you were. Getting off or on the freeway affects them, so they may back off.
  8. Draw attention to yourself. If you feel threatened, honk your horn, flash your lights, do anything to make others look at the situation. Observers may call the cops, or a cop could see that there is something going on and put a stop to it.
  9. Carry protection. If you have to, and it's legal, carry a weapon on you. This should only be used as a last resort. But if you are pinned and have no choice, then use it.
  10. Be prepared for a fight. If you somehow have to fight the person, then be prepared to defend yourself. Running is not a bad option, if it gets you away and to a more public place where your attacker can be exposed.
Traffic can cause aggravate those with road rage since they can't do anything about it.

Traffic can cause aggravate those with road rage since they can't do anything about it.

My Road Rage Experience

I'll share the experience that prompted me to write this article.

I was driving home from work one day, and this motorcycle was speeding, and changing lanes. He got between two cars and drove right up between them to a stop light. It's legal where I live. Once the light turned green, he quickly took off.

I made it to the same light this motorcycle did, roughly a few moments before he did. In my state, drivers are not required to give motorcycles enough room to get between them. I decided to prevent him from getting between me and another car since I felt he was driving recklessly. I was still in my lane, so I wasn't breaking the law. He obviously wasn't happy with my actions, as he was making all sorts of gestures at me.

Once the light turned green, I went on my way and forgot about it. But I soon saw the motorcycle behind me. He was riding really close. I was ready to take a turn that would have gone into the neighborhood where I live; however, I decided to make a different turn to see if he would follow. The motorcycle did follow. I made a few turns, and he stayed right on me, almost touching my bumper. I pulled over to let an ambulance by, and so did he. He acted as if he was going to get off his motorcycle and confront me. I took off, but he followed again. Eventually I stopped dead to see what he would do. He stopped right behind me, despite there being enough room to drive around me. By this point I was honking my horn a lot so others would be drawn to what was going on. It was enough to get him to turn around and leave me alone.

Was I wrong to try to block the motorcycle, even if it was legal? Yes. But so was the motorcyclist, by chasing me throughout the city just because he couldn't get between me and another vehicle.

Today, while driving to my girlfriend's house, I passed up a stop sign without stopping. A car passing by honked. I honked back several times and flipped them the finger. Turns out it was my girlfriend's dad trying to say hi.

— From the website FML

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

Questions & Answers

Question: Can I use a firearm as my protection during road rage?

Answer: I won't provide advice either way. I recommend you check local laws on the use of firearms, protecting yourself, etc. Keep in mind even with good intentions, and you can still be found at fault even if you were trying to protect yourself.

© 2013 David Livermore

Comments

No more reacting for me on August 21, 2019:

I found this site in my effort to find some peace when I drive. Yesterday, I had a car tailgate me less than a car length away while driving 45. Since the limit was 40, I decided to go that speed instead. That didn't sit well with him as he got even more agitated. As he illegally passed me in a no-passing zone, I stupidly flipped him off. He kept going and went on to tailgate the next car. He eventually passed that car in another no-passing section. About a half mile later, he was sitting by himself at the light where I was going to turn right. As I turned, I couldn't resist flipping him off again. That's when he immeadiately turned after me and started tailgating as before. I slowed to about 10 mph and, as he sped past me, threw a water bottle at my car. He then did a U-turn in the road to go back to his destination and to yell at me.

I recorded the entire event on my dash camera and called the police. They told me that there was little that I could do even though the entire encounter was recorded. Basically, unless you record a fatality or they accuse you of a felony, the video is useless because the police have to witness it first hand in order to make an arrest. Otherwise, YOU have to file a civil complaint and spend your time in court. The officer also told me that since there was no damage to my car and I wasn't personally struck, the judge would probably throw out the case.

I know that I was wrong for flipping him off and I now have a post-it note on my dash telling me NOT to play their games anymore. I'm sure that I will continue to see the same garbage drivers on the road but I will have to keep trying to stay calm, turn away and avoid these horrible individuals. They are a waste of my time and my anger only burns me.

David Livermore (author) from Bakersfield, California, United States on June 11, 2017:

Uh no, assault wouldn't have been the right way to go even if he was tailing you. Getting the license plate and reporting it to the police is the way to go.

x on June 11, 2017:

I was driving with two elderly people when I tried to turn right at a roundabout, when a driver came from my left and nearly hit the car, I honked my horn and he gave chase for a short while then disappeared .

I keep thinking I should have got out an battered him, I didn't because of the people in the car.

Cali Driver on September 28, 2016:

"Was I wrong to try to block the motorcycle, even if it was legal? Yes"

Step 1 of avoiding road rage, don't be an asshole. Don't go out of your way to provoke people. You're not the police. Let him pass and forget about it.

jun on December 20, 2015:

I told the officer after I stopped, this person tailgated me for over a mile. I went over to her and asked why? She had the right of way to make a right turn in front of oncoming traffic. I can't belive this. And She had a gun, (didn't show me it} and told me to move away.

I told the officer that and he was shouting to me ( this is road rage and to keep moving) I asked what you are going to do ? He shouted to me keep moving your car. I left. The officer was not going to do nothing

jun on December 20, 2015:

Do not call 911, they will just tell you keep moving

Derek James3rd1 on January 28, 2014:

It is scary. your welcome and thanks

David Livermore (author) from Bakersfield, California, United States on January 27, 2014:

It's scary how people react. Thanks for your comment and welcome to Hubpages!

Derek James3rd1 on January 26, 2014:

Nice work Dave i like this is so necessary someone could have more road rage than you, I once blew the horn along with profane language being cut off in the middle of traffic the other driver drew his gun to let off a few rounds in my direction even though no harm was done to my vehicle or myself I'm grateful to be living, so now I just watch out for careless drivers as well as my driving,

Sandra M Urquhart from Fort Lauderdale on November 13, 2013:

Unbelievable some of the stupidity I saw on those videos! Some people are so dense! I went through that once too. This guy that attacked me was using a lot of verbal expletives and got out of his truck to yell them at me. We had already locked the doors of the car, and the only reason he had time to get out, was because we were stuck in traffic due to a car accident we had not yet seen in the road ahead. But he was coming off the highway and that traffic was trying to blend in with the traffic on the straightaway, which is where I was. He was apparently following his wife, and tried to cut me out of the lane I was already in, but I wouldn't allow him to, so he began his verbal tirade from his truck, trying to use it to push me out of the road. Then he got out and came to my window to scream expletives. I swear I saw a demon in his face. I shouldn't have done this, but at the time, I flipped him the bird and ignored him. He kept screaming that I had hit his wife's van, when I had not touched it. I was close, yes, because he was trying to push me out of the lane, but I had not hit it. Then as traffic began to move, he tried to cut me off again as I had gotten in the right turn lane to turn; also because the accident was blocking the middle lane so everyone had to go on either side of it. He thought he was going to block me at the light, but I drove into the middle lane, around the accident scene and got away from him. He followed me a ways down the road, then turned back. Later, I got a call from the police in that area, and met with an officer, as he had reported it as a hit and run. When I explained to the officer what had happened and this guy's actions, he knew it was a case of road rage. I showed him my car which had no signs of any impact, and no damage, just like their van had none. So the officer let me go and dismissed the report as bogus. About a month or two later, the same guy spots me on another road, on my way to work. He pulls up next to me, giving me this devil's grimace, and flips his phone at me...like he's taking a picture. Three times he tried to catch me as I pulled away from him, even when he was clearly going straight, and I kept getting into the left turn lane. He shot past me through the intersection, and stopped, and backed up through the intersection, but I turned and shot off down the road. As I kept speeding down this road, apparently it was taking him too far from his destination, and he turned around and left. Shortly after that, I got rid of that car, because he could recognize it, and I had spotted him one more time near my job just before I got rid of it. He was a lunatic. I felt sorry for his wife, who must suffer great abuse from his temper.

Hezekiah from Japan on November 07, 2013:

Well documented there. Road rage seemed to be quite an issue in the UK when I lived there. Here in Japan, people do have some very irritating road manners however people will rarely get out of their cars to argue. People here just want to avoid confrontation. Whereas in the UK, I've know of stabbings due to this.

Jaye Denman from Deep South, USA on November 07, 2013:

Streets and highways are overcrowded (beyond capacity), every hour seems like rush hour these days and every driver is in a hurry plus irritated by traffic jams. That's a formula for road rage and it happens more often.

I don't really like to drive and don't do it unless I must, but sometimes it's necessary for me to get behind the wheel. I rarely drive more than 10-15 miles at once, but it can be nervewracking when some jerk seems bent on pushing you off the road.

I keep a CD that was actually produced to keep dogs calm when they're riding in the car--great for when you're taking them to the vet's or groomer's so they arrive at least partially "chilled." Once I put that CD in my car's player and realized it also calms me, I left it in and now I play it every time I drive. Its title is, "Through a Dog's Ear: Music to Calm Your Dog in the Car." It also calms people, including the driver. Seems as though more people should be listening to this calming music. Why not try it, David? It's better than becoming a tragic statistic. You can buy it on Amazon, but I think I've also seen a free download online, so if you type the title into a Google search box, you may get calming music for your MP3 player.

Jaye

Tom Mukasa from Lives in USA on November 07, 2013:

Thanks. I used to ride both a motorcycle and bicycle.I noted those traffic fingers a lot between drivers, cyclists and pedestrians. Thrice I almost got hit. One of those times it was by a car being chased by police. I had relegated driving on curbs to Hollywood films. This one time, all of us on the curb had to flee for dear life. I always ride my bicycle on the side facing the cars ( cars coming to you). This saved me,I saw the speeding car a distance away and the ubiquitous klaxon warned all! Talking of road rage, there are moments when it becomes part of life. There is a saying: If one went to the market, one cannot blame the din. Cities and towns and noise seem to walk hand in hand. Just walk up or down a busy road. Soon you will hear the ear shattering klaxon amplified even more by the Doppler effect. An ambulance or fire truck settling for nothing less but right of way and the police giving off intermittent blasts of the siren. Not to forget that driver who just wants to test the boom of the sound box! Oh! There is that youth who wants to show off roaring sound of engine and spluttering exhaust. That is enough stimuli to get one on their nerves.

Koralee Phillips from Vancouver British Columbia Canada on November 07, 2013:

This is a great topic. I'm really glad you wrote such a great about road rage. According to your quiz, I don't have road rage. I think in part that's because I'm pretty laid back, I always leave early, and listen to music. However, there are a few other reasons why I keep my urge for rage down to a minimum while driving.

The first one is the movie "Changing Lanes" with Samuel Jackson and Ben Affleck. You never know what other drivers are going through, and in the movie they both had road rage which affected their lives more than just the incident.

The second is I'm always scared another driver might have a gun, or be much more aggressive than me. If they cut me off but no one was injured, its not worth it to carry it on. They know they cut me off, they obviously don't care, so honking doesn't really do anything.

To make myself feel better I like to do the head crushing thing, from Kids in the Hall. My aunt does the same thing, but then pings them after for closure lol.

You have some great tips for drivers with road rage, and your videos show just how disgusting, and pointless it is.

This is a well deserved Hub of the Day! I really enjoyed reading it, and think others will too. I'm going to share it everywhere I can.

CraftytotheCore on November 07, 2013:

Congratulations on Hub of the Day!

I have too noticed a violent increase in road rage here in my small town. I lived here my whole life before taking a job in a big city, full of violent crimes. I worked for a law firm.

I have to tell you, when I moved back here, I couldn't believe the road rage matched that or was worse of the city! In the time I was gone, something happened. I joke that it's in the water around here, but seriously, I really don't know what caused the turn of events. Around here though a lot of big companies left the area causing a huge increase in poverty.

I don't generally have road rage. But I do know what you mean about leaving on time. It's very stressful when trying to get somewhere and you start out late. I have a child with special needs and that was a huge issue in my life for a while until we got him in therapy and different programs. I could never get out of the house on time for anything. But after going to therapy with him and learning techniques, such as counting down time. 30 minutes...25 minutes...10 minutes...until we leave, he now puts his shoes on and we're never late for anything. I can totally see how that would cause frustration levels to rise and then become exasperated in a car during rush hour or when traffic just isn't moving fast enough.

Jasmine S from Pennsylvania on November 07, 2013:

Congrats on hub of the day. More drivers should read this as I can't stand road ragers.

Anna Marie Bowman from Florida on October 23, 2013:

Road rage is a dangerous thing and becoming a lot more common.

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