The commute to and from work can be a nightmare. If the traffic isn’t enough to anger you, perhaps it’s other drivers who are causing your veins to burst. There’s nothing wrong with a little bit of stress and frustration, but when it reaches another level, it can be downright dangerous. Road rage is on the rise. In fact, the number of drivers who admit to feeling “uncontrollable anger” towards other drivers has doubled in the last decade. Staying in control of your emotions while driving, however, is key in preventing car accidents.
Identifying Road Rage
One of the problems with road rage is that while many drivers can easily recognize other drivers behaving aggressively, many fail to label their own behavior as road rage. According to the National Institute of Health, there may even be a medical basis for extreme road rage. The most important thing is, however, figuring out whether or not you are an aggressive driver. Some routine behaviors of aggressive drivers, include:
- Honking their horn
- Quick and frequent lane changing
- Flashing their headlights
- Using their cell phone
- Gesturing at other drivers
In contrast, some drivers who help fuel road rage by infuriating others with behaviors such as driving under the speed limit, failing to signal while turning, slowing early for exits, taking up too much lane space, and accelerating unevenly.
Why Road Rage Is Dangerous
While aggressive driving can be dangerous and lead to accidents, it is far more dangerous when it escalates into true road rage. Drivers with road rage often react with not only aggressive driving, but with violence to whatever action that angered them. The National Safety Council states road rage involves “a physical assault on a person or vehicle as a result of a traffic incident.” Road rage incidents frequently involve firearms, for example. Situations involving road rage can escalate quickly, becoming even more likely to cause an accident, because drivers being harassed by an aggressive driver will typically react with more aggressive behavior.
Tips To Help
You can avoid dangerous situations involving aggressive driving and road rage by being aware of our own driving behaviors and understanding how other drivers might react. Use the following tips to help you stay calm and avoid getting in a car accident:
- Check Your Attitude – When driving be aware of your own emotions and try to always keep a calm, level head.
- Plan Ahead – If you become easily stressed or frustrated when running late, plan your driving routes so you have plenty of time in case of delays.
- Be Courteous – Everyone is in a hurry and everyone needs to share the road. Be mindful of other drivers and use an “I’m sorry” gesture or wave if you’ve annoyed another motorist with your action.
- Use the Horn Sparingly – Overuse of the horn won’t get you to your destination any faster, you’ll only manage to annoy other drivers.
- Move Aside If Someone Is Tailgating You – If another driver is persistently tailgating you, it’s better to get out of their way and avoid being rear-ended.
- Avoid Eye Contact With Angry Drivers – If another driver is aggressive, avoiding eye contact is less confrontational. Give them plenty of space to move on.
- Pull Over – When a driver is persistently aggressive and seems violent, pull over if you can and let them be on their way instead of escalating the situation.
A Car Accident Attorney You Can Trust
Driving can be a frustrating and stressful experience, but it’s important not to let the stress escalate into aggressive behaviors that could be dangerous. If you have been involved in a car accident, contact Krause and Kinsman Law Firm to speak to our experienced Kansas City car accident legal team about your options. We can help you get the maximum settlement possible for your injuries.
Robert Kinsman is a personal injury, mass tort, business litigation, and employment discrimination attorney who practices in Kansas City, Missouri. He graduated from the University of Missouri Kansas City School of Law and has been practicing law for several years now. Robert Kinsman is passionate about normalizing the life of his clients after they have been seriously injured. Learn more about his experience here.