Let’s say you’re just driving along, enjoying your favorite tune on the radio and, from out of nowhere, some guy suddenly cuts you off…what’s the first thing you do? Honk your horn… shake your fist? Hopefully, your answer is… none of the above. However, if you expressed your displeasure using any of the common reactions, you may have just lit the fuse to an incident of road rage. It’s as simple as that.
We all have a pretty good idea what road rage is. We’ve either been a victim of it… or perhaps lost it ourselves for some stupid reason and became the aggressor. For those of you who have been lucky enough to have never experienced road rage first hand on either end, it can be defined as a form of aggressive driving that puts other drivers at risk or in fear. And, that is dangerous. These days, you literally have no idea with whom you’re possibly dealing in most cases, making a quiet road trip to grandma’s house potentially a bit more eventful. Not to mention having to explain to your car insurance company how the damage happened.
With road rage incidents on the rise, avoiding a confrontation with a “highway bully” is the best way to keep yourself and your family safe. Some people are always just looking for a fight. You don’t know if the guy tailgating you on the freeway at noon or at midnight, angrily clicking his high beams even though you’re driving 15 mph over the speed limit yourself, is one of those individuals or just a guy having a bad day. Both might be in really bad moods already and a normal, justified, or innocent reaction can easily escalate and spiral out of control in a big hurry.
For all you know, and, although it’s no excuse, the driver who cuts you off, tailgates you, or almost runs you off the road may be dealing with a number of stressful situations such as he may be:
- dealing with a lot of pressure at the office.
- suddenly unemployed and angry about it.
- having marital or relationship problems.
- experiencing financial trouble.
- irritable from lack of sleep.
- belligerent from drinking.
Regardless of the reason, all situations are highly unpredictable and can become even more so under the right conditions, especially driving. When you combine aggressive behavior with stress, anger, and frustration you have all the ingredients for road rage. Unfortunately, most drivers don’t realize until it’s too late that their car can be classified as a weapon – a deadly weapon – and, when you or another driver engages in road rage, you’ve crossed a line. You’re essentially committing a crime. Law enforcement and the court in which you’ll be sitting will charge you with an ADW – Assault with a Deadly Weapon. Using your car for this purpose can be as lethal as a gun. Same result…injury or death. Either way, it means time behind bars. Do you really want to ruin your life or the life of someone you don’t even know?
Next time you suspect you’re about to have a possible encounter with road rage, do everything to avoid it. If you’re not sure how, observe the following guidelines:
- Don’t bring it upon yourself. Don’t aggravate other drivers by doing things that are known to irritate them by driving below the speed limit in the fast lane, cutting a driver off, or tailgating unnecessarily. Stay aware. Speed up or get out of the Number One lane if you like driving slowly. Signal before changing lanes and pass the car ahead if they’re driving too slowly for you.
- Whatever you do, don’t engage the Driver. Seems simple enough. But, if you sense a driver is possibly ticked off by one of your actions, get out of his way. Don’t make eye contact. Shouting, fist waving, and other hand gestures will accomplish absolutely nothing but turn the situation into something ugly fast.
- Stay calm. Don’t play the aggressive driver’s game. The last thing you want to do is egg him on. Keep your head by not letting him have his anger and frustration spill onto you and you respond in kind. The more you play the aggressive driver’s game, the worse things will get. That is a given.
- Call for help. If, after all your efforts to avoid a confrontation, the deranged motorist insists on continuing his road rage and you’re concerned about your health or your family’s, call for help. Call 911 and/or drive to the nearest police station. Ask the 911 operator for the nearest one by giving him/her your location and head straight for it. Under no circumstance should you stop and get out of your car.
You may not be able to avoid all road rage situations, but if you keep your head and remember these simple tips you’ll have a better chance of significantly reducing possible encounters.
Also, improve your chances that you’re getting the best rate on your car insurance. Why not get a free car insurance quote today?
Have you ever been a victim of road rage? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section below.