Road rage is one of the most dangerous hazards you can encounter on the highway. With a fatality rate that has increased almost ten times over the past decade, road rage is an important factor to consider when thinking about driving safety. Some drivers take steps to prevent themselves from getting carried away, but you never know when another driver may lose his or her temper at an actual or perceived driving mistake. There are, however, some things you can do to help defuse the situation and prevent confrontation.
The first and most difficult challenge in dealing with an angry driver is stopping yourself from responding in kind. When another driver cuts you off or starts screaming at you, you may feel tempted to yell back, curse or gesture. This will only escalate the conflict. You do not know the other person and have no idea what she or he is capable of. To the extent possible, do your best to ignore any rude conduct and to put some distance between the two of you as soon as practicable. Even something as small as making eye contact can be taken as a provocation and lead to escalation.
Leave yourself room to move
Many road rage incidents occur in heavy traffic, when drivers get angry and impatient. Some will respond to gridlock by trying to crowd neighboring cars. If you keep a few feet of room between your car and the vehicle in front of you, you will find it easier to move away from any driver engaging in this risky behavior.
Move over to open passing lanes
If you are stuck in front of a driver who is showing signs of impatience with your pace, the best thing to do is to move over to open a passing lane as soon as you can. Speeding up or slowing down, as many people do in this situation, can block the lane and make the other driver even angrier.
Park in a safe place
Some angry drivers will go to the extreme of following the person they are upset with in order to continue the confrontation. If you see this happening, try to head to the nearest police station. Failing that, make sure to park in a highly visible, populated space. When a person goes to the lengths of following you, he or she is extremely angry and may be capable of physical violence.
Knowing how to deal with road rage is an important part of staying safe on the road. If you are the victim of a car accident caused by road rage, speak with an experienced attorney to learn about your options.