Surveys suggest that around a third of drivers suffer from an attack of road rage at least once each month, prompted by incidents such as being tailgated, being cut off by other vehicles or witnessing others driving while they are using their phones or otherwise distracted.
With aggressive driving thought to be a factor in around two thirds of all fatal crashes, this kind of behavior can have extremely serious consequences. If you want to avoid letting your frustrations get the better of you or simply want to know the best course of action to take when faced with an angry driver, the following tips will make it easy for you to ensure your journey from A to B is as trouble free as possible.
Give yourself plenty of time
Get into the habit of giving yourself plenty of time to allow for unforeseen circumstances whenever you plan to travel anywhere by car. If you only ever leave yourself just enough time to get to an appointment, you’ll always be in a rush and any unforeseen delay will increase your stress level, making you far more prone to an angry outburst while behind the wheel.
If you’re desperately weaving your way through heavy traffic because you want to see a completely perfect Audi A3 for sale at a bargain price on the other side of town before it gets snapped up by someone else, you’ll be frustrated at every little delay and possibly endanger other drivers. Leaving in plenty of time will let you take any such delays in your stride. Driving less aggressively will also dramatically improve your fuel economy and reduce the amount of wear and tear on your vehicle.
Change the soundtrack
If you start to feel your stress levels rising in heavy traffic, be sure that the music you are listening to isn’t adding to the problem. Harsh, fast-paced tunes can cause you to feel more aggressive and drive more quickly, so switch to something with a slower pace or listen to a funny podcast or audiobook instead.
Regardless of what you are listening to, remember to take a break from driving at least once every three hours or so to prevent your muscles from cramping up. The more uncomfortable you are, the more susceptible you are to road rage.
Don’t take the bait
Studies show that half of all drivers who experience some form of aggressive behavior respond in kind. However, road range incidents can quickly escalate out of control, potentially putting you at risk of harm. If you do find yourself in such a situation, the best thing you can do is remain calm and try to get out of the way.
In extreme cases, a driver who feels he has been wronged in some way may follow the person they feel is responsible, hoping to entice them into a physical confrontation on the side of the road. You should never engage with anyone under such circumstances. If you feel you are being followed and are concerned for your safety, drive to the nearest police station or flag down a patrol car.