We’ve all seen that one driver on the road who zips through traffic, tailgates other drivers, and honks or yells through their window for other drivers to get out of their way. Maybe you’ve even been that driver on occasion…  

Many drivers may think it’s harmless or that their anger is justified, but road rage can be incredibly dangerous to both you and other drivers. Even if you’re not prone to feeling angry while on the road, it’s important to understand how to avoid road rage in yourself and steer clear of other drivers who might experience it too. 

What is Road Rage? 

Road rage is traditionally defined as “any unsafe driving maneuver performed deliberately and with ill intention or disregard for safety,” but it’s become a term to describe not only the action of road rage but the feeling of anger on the road as well.  

From yelling and throwing obscene gestures to cutting off other drivers or following them, road rage takes many different forms. Because of this, each driver will experience anger while driving differently and there will be different steps they can take to get their anger under control. 

According to NBC News, a common misconception about road rage is that it is caused by what we experience or see while driving. Typically, the feelings of anger and being overcome by rage are only triggered by what we experience while on the road, and it is actually caused by other stressors in our lives. With that in mind, here are a few ways you can avoid road rage in yourself and other drivers. 

How to Avoid Road Rage When You’re Driving 

1. Drive Safely 

As with just about any other driving tip, driving safely should always be your first step to avoiding road rage. Don’t speed, tailgate other drivers, use your phone while driving, or block the fast lane on a highway or interstate.  

Another way to help you drive safely is to give yourself plenty of time to get to your destination. Leaving early keeps you from feeling rushed and helps you to no get frustrated at other drivers going slower than you. You’ll feel less stressed to get where you’re going, which in turn will help you not speed or drive recklessly in hopes of shaving a few seconds off your commute. 

2. Avoid Confrontation 

It’s a good idea to avoid confrontation in general, but especially when you’re driving. This includes the way you drive as well as how you interact with others on the road. 

One of the best ways to avoid confrontation before it can even begin is to try not taking other drivers’ actions personally. If someone is driving recklessly around you or even appearing to be aggressive towards you, Allstate suggests not to take their “behaviors as a personal affront.”  

Additionally, it’s important to ignore rude gestures thrown at you, and not to use them yourself. Even avoiding eye contact with aggressive drivers can greatly reduce the risk of a confrontation with them while you’re driving down the road. Allstate also mentions that eye contact with an aggressive driver “can be seen as confrontational” and that drivers should “try to keep the encounter as impersonal as possible.” 

3. Don’t Engage with angry drivers 

Similarly, you should NEVER engage with aggressive drivers. Don’t try to block them from getting around you, don’t speed up to tailgate them, and generally avoid challenging them in any way. This only escalates the situation and makes it much more dangerous for everyone on the road. 

Avoiding engagement also includes talking with the other driver. If you get in a situation where they get out of your car to talk (or yell) with you, don’t get out of your car or even roll down your window. If you feel threatened, call 911 right away to get help, or, if you’re able, drive to the nearest police station. 

Finally, if you’re being followed by an aggressive driver, DO NOT go home. Again, drive to a police station or call 911 to get help.  

4. Manage your anger 

Particularly if you’re prone to road rage or feeling angry while driving, it’s important to learn how to manage your anger. Depending on how your anger manifests, there are many things you can do to do control it in a healthy way. 

While you drive, try listening to relaxing music or a podcast rather than high-energy music. A 2010 study found that classical music such as Vivaldi and Bach have been shown to reduce feelings of stress and negative emotions in participants and increase their positive outlook on the present situation.  

Additionally, when you feel the anger starting to build up, try a few breathing exercises to help you get it under control. Then, when you are in a place where you can calmly reflect on your emotions, consider what caused that feeling of anger, and what triggered it while you were driving. NBC News suggests keeping a journal to reflect on your emotion regularly to help you identify any major stressors in your life that could be the root cause of your anger while on the road. 

5. Empathize with other drivers 

Lastly, try empathizing with others while you’re driving. Every person has their own experiences and emotions, and their behaviors on the road could be directly caused by situations in their own life. 

For example, if someone is driving slower than the rest of the traffic, rather than getting angry and zooming around them (and maybe cutting in front of them a little too close) consider what they could be going through. Maybe this is their first time driving after a major accident. Maybe it’s a teenager who’s nervous about driving on busier roads. Or maybe it’s just a driver who is particularly conscious of their safety and the safety of others, so they choose to drive a little slower. 

No matter the situation, have empathy with other people on the road, develop methods for controlling your anger, and remember that you are all just trying to get to your destination safely.   

Conclusion 

One of the most important methods every driver can use to avoid road rage is self-reflection. Take the time to understand your own emotions, what causes them, and what triggers them while you’re on the road. Then you can take steps to effectively manage your anger in a healthy way to keep yourself and everyone on the road safe every day.  

Remember that everyone is going through their own situations and that you should empathize with others rather than taking their actions personally. Simply focus on yourself and always being safe behind the wheel.  

Disclaimer: Use at Your Own Risk 

The information provided in all blog articles is for educational purposes only. Pass Drivers Ed is not a licensed automotive expert, and any information regarding automotive repairs or maintenance should not be taken as professional automotive advice. Pass Drivers Ed is not responsible for any damages or injuries resulting in following the information provided.

We’ve all seen that one driver on the road who zips through traffic, tailgates other drivers, and honks or yells through their window for other drivers to get out of their way. Maybe you’ve even been that driver on occasion…  

Many drivers may think it’s harmless or that their anger is justified, but road rage can be incredibly dangerous to both you and other drivers. Even if you’re not prone to feeling angry while on the road, it’s important to understand how to avoid road rage in yourself and steer clear of other drivers who might experience it too. 

What is Road Rage? 

Road rage is traditionally defined as “any unsafe driving maneuver performed deliberately and with ill intention or disregard for safety,” but it’s become a term to describe not only the action of road rage but the feeling of anger on the road as well.  

From yelling and throwing obscene gestures to cutting off other drivers or following them, road rage takes many different forms. Because of this, each driver will experience anger while driving differently and there will be different steps they can take to get their anger under control. 

According to NBC News, a common misconception about road rage is that it is caused by what we experience or see while driving. Typically, the feelings of anger and being overcome by rage are only triggered by what we experience while on the road, and it is actually caused by other stressors in our lives. With that in mind, here are a few ways you can avoid road rage in yourself and other drivers. 

How to Avoid Road Rage When You’re Driving 

1. Drive Safely 

As with just about any other driving tip, driving safely should always be your first step to avoiding road rage. Don’t speed, tailgate other drivers, use your phone while driving, or block the fast lane on a highway or interstate.  

Another way to help you drive safely is to give yourself plenty of time to get to your destination. Leaving early keeps you from feeling rushed and helps you to no get frustrated at other drivers going slower than you. You’ll feel less stressed to get where you’re going, which in turn will help you not speed or drive recklessly in hopes of shaving a few seconds off your commute. 

2. Avoid Confrontation 

It’s a good idea to avoid confrontation in general, but especially when you’re driving. This includes the way you drive as well as how you interact with others on the road. 

One of the best ways to avoid confrontation before it can even begin is to try not taking other drivers’ actions personally. If someone is driving recklessly around you or even appearing to be aggressive towards you, Allstate suggests not to take their “behaviors as a personal affront.”  

Additionally, it’s important to ignore rude gestures thrown at you, and not to use them yourself. Even avoiding eye contact with aggressive drivers can greatly reduce the risk of a confrontation with them while you’re driving down the road. Allstate also mentions that eye contact with an aggressive driver “can be seen as confrontational” and that drivers should “try to keep the encounter as impersonal as possible.” 

3. Don’t Engage with angry drivers 

Similarly, you should NEVER engage with aggressive drivers. Don’t try to block them from getting around you, don’t speed up to tailgate them, and generally avoid challenging them in any way. This only escalates the situation and makes it much more dangerous for everyone on the road. 

Avoiding engagement also includes talking with the other driver. If you get in a situation where they get out of your car to talk (or yell) with you, don’t get out of your car or even roll down your window. If you feel threatened, call 911 right away to get help, or, if you’re able, drive to the nearest police station. 

Finally, if you’re being followed by an aggressive driver, DO NOT go home. Again, drive to a police station or call 911 to get help.  

4. Manage your anger 

Particularly if you’re prone to road rage or feeling angry while driving, it’s important to learn how to manage your anger. Depending on how your anger manifests, there are many things you can do to do control it in a healthy way. 

While you drive, try listening to relaxing music or a podcast rather than high-energy music. A 2010 study found that classical music such as Vivaldi and Bach have been shown to reduce feelings of stress and negative emotions in participants and increase their positive outlook on the present situation.  

Additionally, when you feel the anger starting to build up, try a few breathing exercises to help you get it under control. Then, when you are in a place where you can calmly reflect on your emotions, consider what caused that feeling of anger, and what triggered it while you were driving. NBC News suggests keeping a journal to reflect on your emotion regularly to help you identify any major stressors in your life that could be the root cause of your anger while on the road. 

5. Empathize with other drivers 

Lastly, try empathizing with others while you’re driving. Every person has their own experiences and emotions, and their behaviors on the road could be directly caused by situations in their own life. 

For example, if someone is driving slower than the rest of the traffic, rather than getting angry and zooming around them (and maybe cutting in front of them a little too close) consider what they could be going through. Maybe this is their first time driving after a major accident. Maybe it’s a teenager who’s nervous about driving on busier roads. Or maybe it’s just a driver who is particularly conscious of their safety and the safety of others, so they choose to drive a little slower. 

No matter the situation, have empathy with other people on the road, develop methods for controlling your anger, and remember that you are all just trying to get to your destination safely.   

Conclusion 

One of the most important methods every driver can use to avoid road rage is self-reflection. Take the time to understand your own emotions, what causes them, and what triggers them while you’re on the road. Then you can take steps to effectively manage your anger in a healthy way to keep yourself and everyone on the road safe every day.  

Remember that everyone is going through their own situations and that you should empathize with others rather than taking their actions personally. Simply focus on yourself and always being safe behind the wheel.  

Disclaimer: Use at Your Own Risk 

The information provided in all blog articles is for educational purposes only. Pass Drivers Ed is not a licensed automotive expert, and any information regarding automotive repairs or maintenance should not be taken as professional automotive advice. Pass Drivers Ed is not responsible for any damages or injuries resulting in following the information provided.

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