Aggressive drivers present a danger to everyone on the roadways. Road rage varies slightly from aggressive driver behaviors, and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration defines it as one of the following:

  • Committing traffic offenses that endanger people or property
  • An assault with a motor vehicle
  • Assault with a dangerous weapon by another person operating a motor vehicle

Road rage can be a criminal charge, while aggressive driving is a simple traffic infraction. Still, both are dangerous practices. Take some simple steps to avoid aggressive drivers and tame your own feelings on the road.

  1. Avoid Reacting Negatively to an Aggressive Driver

Encountering an aggressive driver can trigger some road rage of your own. You might impulsively honk your horn, flash your beams, or make an obscene gesture to the other driver. On the other hand, this may only lead to a few seconds of gratification before the situation escalates. Avoid reacting to the other driver and put as much space between you and the other driver as you can.

  1. Open a Passing Lane

If you encounter a bullying driver on the highway, you might be tempted to slow down or speed up. On the other hand, this may only serve to aggravate the driver further.

If you’re in one of the fast lanes on an open highway, put your turn signal on to tell the other driver you’ll move over when it’s safe. This can help prevent the driver from passing you on the right, which can be dangerous. Keep an eye on your rearview mirror to identify aggressive drivers and make evasive maneuvers safely.

  1. Provide Plenty of Space to the Car in Front of You

If you’re following a driver too closely, you could be inciting their road rage without even realizing it. This could cause the other driver to take spiteful actions such as slamming on their brakes unexpectedly, leading to a rear-end collision (and since you’re the one in the rear, you’ll likely be the one at fault for the accident).

Give the car in front of you plenty of room, even in heavy traffic. This is the best way to prevent an accident and avoid any unnecessary displays of aggressive driving.

Calming Your Own Road Rage

We’re all prone to fits of road rage on occasion – we’re only human, and bad days can send us over the edge and make us do things we’re not proud of. If you struggle with bouts of road rage, we recommend following some simple tips to correct the problem:

  1. Reduce Your Stress

We tend to lash out when we’re pressed for time or experience other stresses that can make our emotions run high. Leave early and allow plenty of time for your commute. As you drive, listen to your favorite music or a calming podcast. Before leaving the driveway, make sure your seat is in a comfortable position and your car is at a comfortable temperature. When you confront less-than-ideal traffic conditions, remind yourself that you cannot control the traffic; only how you choose to react to it. Your anger and impatience pose a danger to yourself and others on the road, so take the time to address it.

  1. Set the Example

Be the kind of driver you want to share the road with. Be courteous to other drivers, obey all applicable traffic laws, and allow plenty of following distance from other cars. Don’t take traffic issues personally – remember, everyone else around you is experiencing the same thing.

Road rage and aggressive driving can be dangerous, but you can reduce your risk of being in an accident by following these simple tips. Addressing your own aggressive driving and road rage can also help assure the safety of your passengers and others on the road.