David has been an online writer for over seven years. His articles cover everything from video games to the automotive industry.
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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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. If it helps, you could say to yourself that these other people are only human. You will do stupid things on the road too, so keep that in mind.
- 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.
Causes of Road Rage
Bumping Into Vehicle
Cutting Someone Off
Prejudice: Race, Gender, Etc.
Distracted Driving (Cell Phone, etc.)
Throwing Items From Vehicle
Weaving In and Out of Traffic
Yelling From Vehicle
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Don't look at other drivers. Making eye contact with someone 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.
- Don't tailgate or cut other people off. Nothing antagonizes a driver more than someone who drives aggressively against them. So don't do anything to set them off.
- 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.
- 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 aggressive somewhere else.
- Focus on your destination. If you feel a driver is going to start harassing you, then focus on your destination and nothing else.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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