Road Rage: What to Do
She heard the horn, saw the fist and wondered what the heck she had done to so enrage a complete stranger. Did she cut him off? Drive too slowly? Maybe he just didn't like the color of her mini-van. Whatever it was, he wanted her to know--in no uncertain terms--just how horrible a transgression she had committed.
Road rage. It's hard to understand, yet it happens to everyone. In fact, you may be a victim and not even know it--or a victim and perpetrator, all wrapped up in one big bundle of frazzled nerves. Have you ever rolled down your car window and gestured angrily at another driver, or perhaps a pedestrian? Ever been tailgated by someone mad at you for cutting them off?
If so, you're familiar with road rage. And you're not alone: millions of incidents occur every year in the United States; since 1990, traffic incidents involving violence has increased 7 percent a year.
Here's what you can do to keep your cool:
A key factor to road rage is traffic congestion. As roads bog down into gridlock, blood pressure rises and incidents start happening. In many areas, population growth has zoomed past road construction. Motorists are stuck on the roads trying to get home or go to work, and as the clock ticks temperatures rise. People start driving on edge and in a hurry—a perfect scenario for incidents and accidents.
To reduce the stress, try these tips:
1. Assume that another driver's mistakes are not directed at you.
2. Allow yourself plenty of time for your commute and avoid scheduling events at work or at home that may cause you to try and rush.
3. Listen to soothing music or a book on tape to make your commute more enjoyable.
4. Structure your commute to avoid rush-hour traffic.
5. Take a breather from driving by using public transportation at least once or twice a week if it's available to you.
6.Find a longer route away from the heaviest traffic. It's better to drive for 45 minutes than sit in your car on a freeway for the same.
Though defensive driving is well known, it is equally important to drive courteously. By remembering the following, you can avoid getting in to situations that jeopardize you and other drivers.
1. When in doubt, let the other car go first.
2. Follow all traffic signs and indicators.
3. Give pedestrians the right of way.
4. Allow others to pass you by moving to right lanes.
5. Use your turn signal to indicate that you want to change lanes.
6. Maintain plenty of space between your car and the vehicle ahead.
7. Do not yell or make obscene gestures.
8. Try not to use your horn or high beams.
9. Be polite to other drivers
10. Keep your cool!
Most of all, keep in mind that no matter how rude the gesture or stupid the maneuver, road rage endangers you and your loved ones—stay calm, stay cool, and stay in one piece!