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Road Rage Impairs Driver’s Ability to Focus on Safe Driving

Road Rage driver

Have you ever been driving on a two-lane road, come up behind a car that is going at a slow speed and you are not able to pass? Maybe someone is driving erratically or an accident on the road has caused you unavoidable delays. These can be maddening situations. You might yell, honk the horn, or beat on the steering wheel to vent. Others may escalate to road rage.

As a driver, you need to stay calm, cool, and collected so that you can operate your vehicle in a safe manner – even when you get frustrated or irritated with another driver. The unfortunate thing is that not all drivers can control their emotions behind the wheel.


Aggressive Driving Leads to Accidents

Aggressive driving leads to numerous accidents and injuries every year. The speed and force that is often involved in a road rage accident can cause severe injuries, too.

Road rage is the most common form of aggressive driving and refers to any type of aggressive or violent behavior that stems from anger at other motorists. It includes driving behaviors such as:

  • Excessive speeding
  • Tailgating
  • Cutting in front of another driver and slamming on the brakes
  • Blocking another car from changing lanes
  • Weaving in and out of traffic

Road rage impairs the angry driver’s ability to focus on driving safely.

  • Anger can slow reflexes and prevent drivers from reacting appropriately
  • Intense emotions, such as anger, can make for unpredictable drivers
  • Tailgating makes it difficult for the rear driver to stop in time
  • Anger can lead drivers to Ignore traffic signs and signals or even attempt to run another driver off the road

Road rage can even lead to violent attacks and assaults so all drivers should know how to prevent and/or diffuse a situation.

  • First and foremost. Continue to follow the rules of the road. Drive a safe speed, follow traffic signals, and do not lose your own temper.
  • Refrain from engaging with the other driver. Do not attempt to calm him or her down, stop the vehicle or confront an aggravated driver.
  • Try giving the driver a friendly or apologetic smile and/or wave acknowledging the situation.
  • Do not do anything to worsen the driver’s anger, such as yell or lay blame.
  • Disengage with the driver, if possible, so that he or she can cool down.
  • Should he follow you or start to harass you, the best course of action is to drive to the nearest police station. If you do not know where one is, look for a safe public location such as a busy gas station or grocery store where you can call the police.

If you are the one prone to intense and high emotions when driving, try the following:

  • Late drivers get stressed and anxious so leave plenty of time to get to your destination. That means allowing for time to potentially sit in traffic.
  • Try to avoid situations that may make you mad when driving, such as yelling or arguing.
  • Listen to soothing music.
  • Make your car relaxing and comfortable (not too much; you do not want to fall asleep!).
  • Avoid driving after an upsetting conversation or event.
  • Avoid using inappropriate hand gestures or honking the horn.
  • Follow the rules of the road; that means, no tailgating, no cutting off other drivers, driving the speed limit, etc.

Staying calm when behind the wheel protects you and other drivers on the road.


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