Driving behind the wheel can be somewhat stressful. And while we feel somewhat protected in our cars, the space is only a small barrier to the outside world. We can’t predict how other drivers are going to react in certain situations and driving can be one of the most dangerous things we do all day.
Police are seeing a rise in road rage incidents. And according to the U.S. Federal Department of Transportation, road rage fatalities has jumped dramatically. From 110 in 2007, to 487 in 2017. That’s an increase of 350%! But there are a number of ways you can deescalate a situation and avoid road rage.
Some simple safety tips and things to keep in mind:
• Be in the proper state of mind BEFORE you get in the car. Relax, start calm, and try not to be in a rush.
• Speeding isn’t always going to get you to your location sooner. Your location is going to be there no matter when you get there, so remind yourself that it’s okay to be late. Better to be safe than put your life at risk just to shave a few minutes off your trip.
• Aggressive drivers exist! If they are riding your tail, pull over and let them pass. Don’t engage and play their game by slowing down or stepping on your brakes to try and get them off you. That might only infuriate them and cause more aggression.
• If someone rolls down their window and starts yelling at you, ignore them. Look straight ahead, roll up your window, lock your door and keep driving.
• If you get worked up, take some deep breaths and count backwards from 20. It lowers your heart rate and allows your body to relax so you can stay calm behind the wheel.
Lastly, if an enraged driver follows you, don’t get out of your car. Try to get to a public space with other people, preferably a police department or call 911. And using your horn is almost always an instant agitator, so remember to use it.