Add traffic on top of the stress of the ordinary hustle and bustle and bad weather conditions, and you have the perfect storm to build road rage. Even drivers who usually stay calm in trying conditions may be pushed to the brink with anxiety and lose their cool with other drivers. They’re more likely to speed, follow too closely, yell at other drivers, or make rude gestures toward their fellow motorists.
That holiday spirit sure faded fast, didn’t it!
But just because other drivers are acting poorly doesn’t mean you have to as well. Here are some tips to help you avoid problems with aggressive drivers so you and your passengers can stay safe on the roads.
- Plan ahead. If you’re worried about traffic, or if traffic stresses you out, get on the road earlier when highways roads are less likely to be crowded. Listen to traffic reports and avoid hotspots and areas with accidents.
- Leave earlier. If being late makes you feel like you have to rush, build extra time into your schedule to avoid speeding.
- Don’t put other drivers in a tough situation. Always avoid causing other drivers to have to change their direction or speed. Don’t cut off other motorists or force them to merge into another lane, and don’t make them slam on their brakes.
- Turn the other cheek. If someone is acting aggressively toward you, don’t respond. Don’t make eye contact, make any aggressive gestures, or honk your horn. Instead, take a deep breath and put a safe distance between you and that driver.
- Prepare for other bad drivers. If you expect others to drive poorly, you’ll be better prepared emotionally and mentally to deal with them.
- Be forgiving. We’re all in this together! The safest way to get home is to cooperate with fellow drivers.
- Remember that it’s not personal. Other drivers are likely just anxious and frustrated, and their erratic or bad driving doesn’t have anything to do with you. They don’t know you, so they aren’t deliberately targeting you with their aggressive driving.
- Take it down a notch. If you feel your temper rising, take steps to de-escalate your emotions. Take some deep breaths, which will reduce your stress and ensure you think more clearly.
- Engage in positive self-talk. You can stay in control of your reaction to other drivers. If you feel as if someone cut you off intentionally, you might be tempted to get back at them. But all this will do is raise your blood pressure and stress and put yourself and your loved ones at risk. Instead, try saying something positive to yourself, such as “she must be in a hurry and probably didn’t realize she cut me off,” “I’m not going to let this ruin my day,” or even “Maybe she really has to find a bathroom!”
Remember the dangers of aggressive driving: speeding, cutting off other drivers, and running red lights can injure you, your passengers, and other people sharing the road with you.
Help everyone get home safe this winter season, and follow the rules of the road — and of polite driving etiquette.
And if you need advice because you’ve been the victim of an aggressive driver, don’t hesitate to reach out to the dedicated, experienced personal injury attorneys at Hunter & Everage. We’re here for you whenever you need us.