Last month we wrote about a probable case of road rage that ended in two vehicles launching off the freeway at high speeds. That particular incident was rare because it was caught on camera, but there is nothing uncommon about road rage—in fact, it leads to 1,200 accidents per year, with 300 of those involving serious injuries or death. That’s not counting the many incidents every day where road rage doesn’t cause an accident but does leave drivers stressed and rattled.
Not every act of rudeness or bad driving counts as road rage. Road rage is when a driver becomes irritated at someone else on the road and then intentionally begins driving in an aggressive manner, threatening them, or even trying to run them off the road. Often, road rage involves a sudden urge to “teach them a lesson” after a perceived slight.
There is no way to choose who’s driving around us on the highway, but we can take actions to keep from getting involved in it. To do that, it’s important to remember that road rage is an escalation of normal frustration while driving, and that anything you can do to de-escalate a situation (or prevent it from escalating in the first place) is a good idea.
Generally that means two things: driving defensively and letting things go.
If you do accidentally cut someone off, or swerve when you didn’t mean to, act humble about it. Give an apologetic wave if the other driver can see you, and if they yell or honk don’t respond in kind. It may not seem fair that someone else’s potential road rage requires you to be the bigger person, but that’s the thing about road rage: it isn’t logical. It is, unfortunately, up to those without rage to fix the rage problem.
And one last tip: texting while driving actually angers drivers more than tailgating does, so the best defense against road rage might simply be to turn that phone off until you’re out of the car.
If you or someone you love has been the victim of road rage, Steinger, Iscoe & Greene can help. Call for a free consultation today.