Some people say that road rage is a very 21st-century problem, but we’d argue from the moment cars arrived on the road, people were getting frustrated with all kinds of issues. Now throw a ton of congestion, road works and entitlement into the mix and you’re looking at the recipe for motorists losing their proverbials all over the place. Unfortunately, over the years incidents and severity of road rage incidents has increased.
What’s the best way to stop yourself from giving into the red mist and what should you do if other road users fall prey to some kind of anger attack?
Stopping Yourself from Getting Angry
Anger is a state of mind. You don’t have to give in to road rage and you can choose a course of action that’s better for you and the rest of the world, rather than indulge any hot-headed behaviour. Try following these tips to keep your cool…
Give yourself the time you need
– the number one frustration that’s likely to lead to road rage is time pressure. If you have to be at a meeting or connection at a certain hour, then leave a margin. Screeching up to your destination with seconds to spare is not a good look nor does it bode well for other drivers out on the road.
Calm down before you get in the car
– life can bite us all in the backside. From unexpected bank charges to annoying group texts – it can often be the little things that wind us up the most. Try to relax before you even get behind the wheel and make sure you have your mellow on. If you’re really upset then it might be worth asking someone else to drive.
Don’t engage other problem motorists
– winding up other car drivers is pointless. At best you look like an idiot to any casual observers. In the worst situations things could become explosive. So what if someone flips you the finger or cuts you up. As long as you are safe, don’t rise or give into your anger as it could stay with you for the rest of your trip.
Forgive the odd mistake
– when someone else makes a mistake out on the road, it’s all too easy to see it as conspiracy. However, remember that driving simply isn’t an exact science and think of all the times you’ve made an error or not been in the right lane. Don’t let it wind you up – and realise that modern roads are a complex place.
Act slowly and sensibly
– there’s every reason to be predictable when you’re out on the road, especially when travelling at speed on motorways. Other drivers are going to make judgements and decisions based on what they believe you’re going to do next in order to keep themselves safe. Be attentive, know what you’re doing and give other motorists plenty of warning too.
Be sparing with the horn
– try to only use the horn when it’s an absolute must. Too many drivers are trigger happy with this loud blast of noise at junctions and lights, which often serves to startle and jolt people rather than making them get their foot down. Horns are definitely best used in emergency situations as they can certainly get you and other road users hot under the collar.
And If You’re a Victim of Road Rage
If someone is having a bad day it may not take too much to get them going. Try not to blame yourself, if you haven’t done anything untoward that’s exacerbated the situation, and take the following steps:
– most people are reasonable and when they see you’re taking them seriously this creates a calmer atmosphere. If you’re convinced there’s no danger to yourself then it can help to stop your car and have an adult conversation with the affected parties. With a little kindness and compassion, many situations can be instantly resolved.
Say sorry and admit faults
– no one benefits from having a roadside argument. If you have made mistakes that have caused another driver a considerable amount of stress then put your hands up and make an admission. Sorry usually goes a long way and showing a little remorse can be better than letting a situation boil over.
Lock your doors
– if you are in a traffic jam, in a supermarket car park or stuck out on the road and someone is coming towards your vehicle then lock the doors and don’t get out. You might feel like winding down the window to talk to them, but if they seem violent or start wielding a tool from their car then it’s time to call the police.
Call the police
– if you are feeling flustered or under threat then don’t second guess yourself. Be on the safe side and call the police – or better still if you have a passenger in the car get them to do it. Be sure to report the license plate of the driver who is putting you under pressure.
Road Rage: A Serious Problem
Although there are steps you can take in the event of a road rage attack, there is very little we can put into an article that can truly prepare you for such an event. We would always recommend that you stay calm behind the wheel – as people are likely to respond to anger with heightened, aggressive comebacks. In our opinion, all drivers should take extra care on our now heavily congested roads, keep a real focus on their own behaviour and work to stop any kind of unwanted traffic incidents.
As we’ve said many times before, put the phone in the back of the car, don’t drive when inebriated and ask your passengers to be considerate with demands when you’re at pinch points like roundabouts and junctions joining larger roads.