Road Rage: A Phenomenon
To Be Reckoned With
The pressures of 21st Century life in America are many and rooted in lifestyles that sometimes trade serenity for prosperity. One byproduct of that swap is a growing phenomenon we have coined road rage.
Road rage is defined as aggressive driving behavior that usually occurs in heavy traffic and during periods of heavy stress on motorists. Road rage generally has been recognized as a trend in urban commuting, but drivers in rural areas are not immune to its dangers.
With construction season upon us, stress levels are likely to increase. So in addition to tuning up your vehicle, it is advisable for you to tune up your driving habits and to recognize road rage as a threat to your safety and the safety of your loved ones.
An angry or impatient driver may act out frustrations by driving in a manner most reasonable people will recognize as reckless and downright rude. Whether you are driving on a Chicago expressway, and interstate highway or a two-lane township road, it is important that you recognize the symptoms of road rage and understand how to cope with a driver who is emotionally out of control.
Your vehicle is the only one that you can control, so it is imperative that you understand how to avoid road rage confrontation. If you are confronted by an aggressive driver, keep in mind some of these suggestions:
- Steer clear of the offender. Again, remember that you are in control of your vehicle, and that discretion is the better part of valor.
- Avoid making eye contact with the aggressive motorist. Your natural reaction to being cut off or dangerously tailgated may be to glare at the offensive driver, but that accomplishes nothing.
- Stay calm, focus on the road, and try not to react even if you are provoked.
- Under no circumstances should you gesture toward the enraged motorist. Such provocation almost certainly will aggravate an already serious situation.
- In extreme situations, use discretion and drive to a safe place where you can notify police of the incident. Your memory of the license plate and description of the vehicle and driver will be important in apprehending the offensive driver.
It is also important that you understand how your own habits can ease tension on the highway. Your own consideration of other drivers will help alleviate the threat of road rage. For example:
- Always use your signal when changing lanes or passing. Cutting off another motorist may provoke a confrontation.
- Avoid excessive use of your horn.
- Be considerate when using your headlights. Use high beams only when necessary and be sure to dim them for oncoming traffic.
- Take weather considerations into account. If road conditions are less than ideal, make extra time to get to your destination. A hurried driver poses a danger to everyone on the roadway.
- Don’t speed or tailgate. Tailgating is dangerous and can provoke a confrontation.
Driving is hazardous enough without the addition of enraged drivers. Defensive driving is always in order, especially when road conditions are less than perfect.
To make travel safe for all motorists, we need to keep in mind that driving is a privilege, not a right. Only the most responsible among us should be on the road, and the most responsible among us also realize that the road is to be shared.Let’s be safe out there, so that we can share the pleasure of the change of seasons together.