Poster: Road Rage
Road rage is often depicted in a comedic light in comic strips and television shows. The reality of road rage, however, is anything but funny. Studies show that 66% of traffic fatalities are linked to behaviors associated with road rage, such as aggressive driving. Additionally, the number of traffic fatalities that can be linked to road rage is increasing by 7% each year.
Road Rage Behaviors
Road rage is defined as violent anger caused by stress and frustration involved in driving a motor vehicle in difficult conditions. This frustration usually manifests itself in one or several of the following ways:
- Honking your horn
- Cutting someone off
- Flashing your brights
- Yelling/cursing/obscene gestures
- Physical confrontation or assault
Before you get behind the wheel, it’s important to take precautions to make sure that you do not find yourself exhibiting any of these behaviors.
Avoiding Road Rage
- Don’t rush. If you give yourself plenty of time to get where you’re going, you’re less likely to become impatient and take unnecessary risks.
- Cool off. If you’re upset, take time to calm down.
- Give other drivers a break. If someone is driving slowly, keep in mind they might be lost, have a passenger who isn’t feeling well, moving something fragile, etc.
- Use hand gestures wisely. Keep gestures positive—for example, wave to a driver who lets you in when merging.
- Don’t tailgate. Always keep a safe distance from the car in front of you, no matter how slowly they might be driving.
- Lay off the horn. Honking your horn out of frustration won’t solve any problems, it will just increase the stress level for everyone on the road.
If another driver is displaying signs of road rage towards you, do not reciprocate. There are, however, several strategies you can implement to help you stay safe.
- Keep calm
- Give the other driver lots of room
- Avoid eye contact
- If necessary, find help in a populated area or drive to a police station
- Seek revenge
- Aggravate them (slow down further, honk back, yell back)
- Drive aggressively
- Stop to confront the other driver
*These behaviors escalate minor incidents into dangerous combative driving.