We’ve all had it happen. Someone pulls out in front of us or cuts us off, and we barely avoid an accident.
We’re upset. Seething. How could that person be so inconsiderate? Don’t they realize what could have happened? In fact, maybe we should follow them and give them a piece of our mind.
The truth is that a lot of people make foolish mistakes while driving, and it upsets other drivers on the road. However, we can make decisions about how we handle our anger — or someone else’s anger that we’ve accidentally caused — to avoid making the situation worse.
Here are ten tips for dealing with road rage.
The most important part of your trip, whether it’s a short jaunt to the store or a drive across the state, happens before you leave home. There’s a lot you can do to prevent mistakes and remain calm.
If you have a specific time you are expected somewhere, be sure to leave early. It’s tempting to fit “just one more thing” into your schedule before you go, but that can leave you stressed out and running late. When you feel late, you’re more likely to drive in risky ways or become angry at other drivers.
Give yourself a buffer. That way, you can drive in a relaxed, calm manner with more grace for the way others behave while driving.
One thing that can trigger road rage is if you’re already upset about something else in your life. If you’ve just gone through a breakup, have a medical crisis, or are dealing with other emotional stresses, take time before you hit the road to take a deep breath and remind yourself that those issues don’t impact your driving. Don’t let your anger at other situations get displaced onto the drivers around you.
Everyone makes mistakes while driving — even you! If you get angry at someone who cut you off, it can be helpful to remember that you’ve accidentally cut someone off before too. Or, if someone gets upset with you because you made a mistake, remember that it’s common to get mad at others.
When you can remember that the drivers around you are just like you, it can help you stay calm on the road no matter what happens.
This should go without saying, but before you leave home, you should always have appropriate car insurance coverage that’s actively in force. If there’s a mistake on the road, no matter who makes it, your car insurance can help you get back on the road more quickly. Take a look at Freeway Insurance reviews, r and then call the company to compare rates and get the coverage you need at a rate you can afford.
Nothing makes a road incident worse than the police or the other driver realizing you don’t have insurance!
As you drive, stay mindful of other drivers and avoid distractions. This will help prevent mistakes that may anger other drivers and will give you enough time to avoid an accident if someone else makes a bad decision.
You might think you can look down for “just a second,” but that’s all it takes for you or someone else to make a mistake while driving. This can cause an accident or road rage, and the situation can escalate quickly. Ensure that you keep your eyes on the road at all times.
If you’re running late and feeling stressed, it’s best to let the other party know that you’re going to be a bit later than expected. That way, you can relax and drive appropriately, instead of being aggressive or driving too fast. If you have a passenger who can call or you can use hands-free calling, that’s great, but if not, don’t be shy about pulling over.
One of the things that often cause road rage is frustration at something else that is then displaced towards other drivers. To avoid it, make sure your car is comfortable and calm. If you have children, use backseat activities or games to keep them occupied and make sure the seat, temperature, and environment are what you need them to be for alert driving. Consider playing music you enjoy that can lift your spirits or keep you calm. Driving can be stressful — make your car an oasis in the midst of it.
If you see that someone else is in a bad mood, don’t do things to make it worse. For example, if you see an angry driver trying to merge into your lane, back up and let them in. Don’t run up and keep them from merging. Don’t honk in order to startle someone if it’s not necessary to prevent an accident. If someone makes a gesture at you, ignore it.
In the same vein, if you yourself get angry, don’t take it out on another driver. Even if they made a foolish mistake, there’s no need to drive aggressively around them, follow them, or cause a scene. Instead, take a deep breath, remember that you’ve made mistakes too, and go on your way. There’s no need to cause a confrontation that could turn dangerous. The one who ends up in jail will likely be you!
If an angry driver begins to follow you, lock your doors and call the police. Don’t drive home, and try to avoid stopping if you can. Don’t make eye contact with the other driver, and don’t return the aggressive behavior. You never know when a confrontation may escalate or if the other driver has a weapon.
The most important thing to remember is that you may not be able to control a situation that happens on the road, but you can control your reaction to it. Whether you feel your own temperature rising or you notice that another driver is upset, take steps to de-escalate the situation.
No one is perfect. Take a breath, leave space for others, and make decisions that will help you get to your destination safely.