We all deal with stress. Unfortunately, some people vent their anger and frustration by driving aggressively. Sometimes drivers don’t even realize it when they start to drive that way because they’re letting their emotions get the best of them.
According to the Washington State Patrol, these are common symptoms of aggressive driving or road rage:
- Mentally condemning other drivers or contemplating violence against them
- Not obeying traffic safety rules because you don't agree with them
- Engaging in such risky driving as following too close, speeding, weaving in and out of traffic, braking to get others to back off your bumper, or passing another driver and then slowing to teach him or her a lesson.
Here are some safety tips, provided by the Washington State Patrol, to help prevent aggressive driving or to diffuse potential road-rage incidents:
- Allow plenty of time for the trip, listen to soothing music, improve the comfort in your vehicle, and understand that you cannot control the traffic – only your reaction to it. In the end, personal frustration, anger and impatience may be the most dangerous "drugs" on the highway.
- Be polite and courteous, even if the other driver is not.
- Avoid all conflict if possible. If another driver challenges you, take a deep breath and move out of the way. Never underestimate the other driver's capacity for mayhem.
- When entering traffic or changing lanes, make sure that you have enough room.
- Make sure you have established a safe following distance between your vehicle and the one in front of you.
- Don't make aggressive hand gestures to other drivers when they offend you with their driving.
- Signal when turning or changing lanes.
- Control your anger.
- Avoid prolonged eye contact with the bad or angry driver.
- Get help if you’re threatened. Call police on your cell phone or go to a public telephone or place. Don't pull to the side of the road.
- Forget about winning. No one wins in a highway crash.
- Put yourself in the other driver's shoes. You never know; he or she may be driving that way because of an actual emergency.
You may want to pass these tips along to fleet drivers as a friendly reminder.
To watch a video on the subject, produced by the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office, click on the photo or link above.
Click here to take Progressive Insurance’s road rage quiz.