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Resisting Road Rage

Given the stresses of daily modern life, it is no wonder that the phenomenon known as road rage is becoming increasingly more common. The addition of more vehicles on the streets of towns and cities is also adding to the problem. The problem can consist of merely shaking a fist at another driver to an actual physical confrontation, noisy shouting match or even a shooting. Ironically, road rage is not limited to individuals who normally have bad tempers. It can overtake normally mild-tempered people who are pushed just a little too far while on the road. In order to learn how to resist road rage and protect yourself and other drivers, it’s important to learn exactly what it is and methods you can use to overcome it.

The Definition of Road Rage
In basic term, road rage is violent behavior performed by any driver of a vehicle. There are many causes of road rage, but some of the most common include ignorant drivers, external or internal noise and dense or slow-moving traffic. Regular daily frustrations such as being late or stress can also result in road rage.
Identifying the Road Rage Signs
Everyone experiences stress at some point in their life. This may be caused by any number of factors, but it is also very common to take your frustrations out on another individual. This is particularly true if you have not learned how to vent your frustrations in a positive manner. Taking your frustrations out on another driver is never a good idea, as your vehicle can quickly become a lethal weapon. It’s important to recognize the very first signs that your stress levels are becoming too high. This will help you to avoid contributing to the growing road rage problem.
Road Rage Symptoms
Tailgating another driver is a very common, but dangerous activity performed by many people who regularly suffer from road rage. The problem is that the driver in front of you may have to stop or slow down very quickly and unexpectedly because of an animal crossing the road, pedestrian or object littering the highway. You may end up rear ending the vehicle and causing serious damage to yourself, passengers, your vehicle and the other driver.
Flashing Lights Or Honking Horns
Another common symptom of road rage occurs when you begin to flash your lights repeatedly or honk your horn continuously at another driver that is bothering you. This is not only very rude behavior, but can also be very dangerous. The noise or lights can distract, confuse or surprise other nearby drivers; this makes driving more difficult for everyone.
Have you ever found yourself shouting at the top of your lungs at another driver on the road, even if they can’t hear or see you? If so, you’re certainly not alone as this is another common symptom of road rage. Even worse, you may begin to resent the heavy traffic in front of you and start to dodge in and out of lanes in order to arrive at your destination a little faster. It’s important not to risk causing a fatal accident just because you are late or annoyed with traffic.
If you notice nearby drivers who are experiencing road rage, it’s wise to try to avoid them. You should do everything possible to remain calm. Refusing to engage in their dangerous and uncalled for behavior may just save your life or that of other drivers. One possible option is to pull over to the side of the road or take the next freeway exit. Not only will you avoid contact with the irate driver, but you will also give yourself some time to refocus so you can concentrate on the road. It is often impossible to reason with a driver displaying road rage, so you can prevent additional stress by avoiding the situation. Depending on the severity of the situation, you may want to note the driver’s license plate and report their dangerous behavior to the local authorities.
Taking a Proactive Approach to Avoid Road Rage
Learn to Relax
One of the most effective ways to avoid road rage is to learn how to relax. As soon as you feel yourself getting angry or frustrated, try to remember that the goal of most drivers is certainly not to make your life miserable or to cause you harm. Perhaps, the driver who just cut you off or braked sharply was new and inexperienced. They may not even realize the mistake they have just made.
Get Enough Sleep
Another way to prevent road rage is to ensure you are receiving a sufficient number of hours of sleep each night. Driving when you are well rested is much safer than when you are extremely tired. If you don’t get enough sleep, you can quickly become more irritable and find it harder to remain alert and concentrate on the road. Lack of sleep is a common cause of road rage that ends up causing an accident. If you are very tired, try to find another way to arrive at your destination; take public transit or ask that another person drive for that day.
Listen to Calm Music
Choosing calm, soothing music is another great way to help you prevent road rage. Listening to loud, aggressive music can make you even more tense and stressed when driving. Save your heavy metal CDs for your home and bring along some classical or quieter music for your car.
Avoid Distractions Such as Cell Phones
You should also try not to use your cell phone, iPod or other media device while driving. You can quickly and easily become distracted while fiddling to change a channel, read an email or answer a phone call. Removing your eyes off the road for only a mere second can be a decision that ruins the rest of your life.
Take A Break
If you feel yourself becoming angry or stressed because of poor drivers or heavy traffic, try stopping for a small break. Grab a quick cup of coffee or roll down your window and enjoy some long, deep breaths of fresh air. You may be surprised at how quickly you can calm down and defuse your temper. Taking a quick break can often prevent the onset of road rage.
Resist the Urge to Panic If You’re Late
If you are already late for a function or event, it may be difficult not to get angry or panic when you are faced with heavy traffic. It will probably seem that every single stoplight turns red as you approach or that you have managed to choose the lane behind the absolute slowest driver in the world. Rather than becoming angry and starting to drive aggressively, try to change lanes or take some deep breaths to release stress. Driving slower and releasing your negative energy is a much safer option and can help you avoiding an altercation or serious accident. One tip is to ensure you have the exact address of your destination beforehand. Search for the location on the Internet or your GPS so you won’t get lost and lose valuable time. Another helpful suggestion is to plan an alternate route so you will still arrive on time, even if you encounter an accident or unexpected traffic.
The bottom line is that road rage can affect absolutely any driver. The good news is that being proactive and following some simple steps can help you avoid road rage. Do yourself and your fellow drivers a favor and learn how to identify the first signs of road rage so you can avoid it. Resist the urge to panic if you’re late, take a quick break, get enough sleep, avoid distractions such as MP3 players or cell phones, learn how to relax and listen to calm music. This will help you become a safer, more relaxed driver.


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