If you’ve been driving long, you have probably witnessed or been the victim of road rage. Though it’s not uncommon, road rage is still very dangerous. Coined by local news station KTLA in Los Angeles after several occurrences of shootings on freeways in the city, there are clear distinctions between road rage and aggressive driving.
What is road rage
Road rage is aggressive driving as a result of a driver’s uncontrolled anger due to the actions of another driver. It is also defined by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) as when a driver “commits moving traffic offense so as to endanger other person or property; an assault with a motor vehicle or other dangerous weapon by the operator or passenger of one motor vehicle on the operator of passengers of another motor vehicle”. Road rage takes many forms but the most common are:
Different forms of road rage
- Flashing headlights
- Break checking
How road rage starts
Though everyone is susceptible to road rage, studies have shown that young male drivers are the most prone to engage in aggressive driving. Common situations that can lead to road rage are problems at work, arguing with your significant other, rushing because you are running late, etc. During these situations, be mindful of your emotions and reactions.
If you are caught driving aggressively and/or engaging in road rage, you could be pulled over and charged with a criminal offense. This could lead to a court visit, legal fees, and possibly jail time. You also risk damaging your vehicle, physically harming yourself or your passengers, and even death. According to the NHTSA, 66% of traffic fatalities are caused by aggressing driving. Even more, over a seven-year period, 218 murders and 12,610 injuries were attributed to road rage. These are scary statistics!
How to deal with road rage
The key to deal with road rage is to manage your own anger on the road. Try to empathize with other drivers. You cannot control other drivers but you can control how you react to them. If you are becoming increasingly agitated while behind the wheel, take deep breaths or count backwards to regain control. Soothing music can also put you back into a calm mindset. If you notice another driver is agitated, do not retaliate. Avoid escalating the problem and do not honk, flip the finger, or brake check. Allow the moment to pass.
Controlling your emotions on the road can help keep you safe. You never know the mental state of other drivers or what they may be capable of. If you observe road rage while on the road, keep your distance and keep calm.