If you’re a licensed driver, you’ve probably noticed that everyone has their own style when they’re out on the road. Some drivers follow all laws, including obeying the speed limit, signaling before they change lanes, etc. Others speed, tailgate, make unsafe turns and generally make the roads and highways dangerous.
Hopefully, you belong to that former category. In either case, you’ll likely experience frustration with the way some other people drive. Perhaps you’ve gotten impatient waiting for slow-moving pedestrians as well.
In those times, you may have lost control briefly or considered doing something inappropriate. This is road rage.
In this article, we’ll give some specific road rage examples. We will also speak about ways to keep yourself under control for your safety and that of your passengers, other drivers, and pedestrians.
The first thing to know is that you’re not alone if you have the occasional road rage bout. It happens to the best of us. About 8 out of 10 drivers say they have road rage experiences at least once per year. The real question is whether you act on your urges when you feel frustrated while driving.
One thing you might do is gesture at other drivers. That might include:
- Shaking your fist at them
- Extending your middle finger
Just about every driver knows what an extended middle finger means. You’re not telling the other driver you think they’re number one.
Gesturing at another driver is something that’s probably going to get their attention, especially if you roll your window down to do it.
If you do this, you might successfully blow off some steam, but you may irritate the other driver so much that they start following you. You might get yourself in a fistfight this way.
Dangerous Driving Behaviors
You might also start driving dangerously if another motorist angers you. At that point, you might:
- Start tailgating them
- Cut them off in traffic
- Swerve your car at them as though you’re about to hit them
These activities can end disastrously for either you or the other driver. If you tailgate them, and they stomp down on the brakes, you might hit them because you can’t stop in time. If you cut them off, causing them to brake suddenly, the car behind them might run into their rear bumper.
If you swerve in their direction from the lane next to them, you might startle them to the point that they run into a car in the next lane over. They might swerve in turn, hitting a pedestrian or concrete divider.
If you drive erratically, there’s never a good outcome. You could cause injuries, deaths, or vehicle or property damage.
You might also decide you’re so angry at another driver that you’re willing to pull over and start duking it out with them. You might put the car in park and hop out right in the middle of traffic, while the other driver does the same.
If you do this, another car might hit either one of you if they don’t see you in time. The other driver might knock you out, or vice versa.
Maybe you decided to grab a bat out of the trunk and whack the other driver with it. If you kill them, the law will hit you with a manslaughter charge. You’re looking at several years in jail if that happens.
The other driver might decide to pull a gun out of their glove compartment and shoot you. Now, road rage has cost you your life.
You might also decide to roll your window down and scream some profanity at the other driver, a pedestrian, etc. If you do that, they might yell back, or the physicality might come next.
Often, when you yell at someone, you’re asking for escalation. In many cases, you’ll get it. If one of your children is in the backseat, think about what kind of an example you’re setting for them.
What Can You Do for Road Rage Prevention?
If you want to prevent road rage, the most critical thing is to know that you have some anger issues. You have to want to change that behavior as well.
It might take a family member or friend pointing out the problem before you acknowledge it. Your family might intervene if it's bad enough, the same as if you’re drinking too much or using illegal drugs.
If that happens, you know your driving behavior is going too far. You can promise them that you’ll try to control yourself better from now on. When you feel yourself becoming angry, you can think about what your family said to you.
You can consider the example you set for your kids. You can also think about some potential consequences if you shake your fist at someone or cuss at them.
You Can Seek Therapy
If that’s not good enough, you might also see a therapist about your anger. Your feelings come from somewhere. There’s a reason you can’t control yourself so well when you’re driving.
You can talk about your triggers and some life changes you can make. Maybe you can start meditating or take up yoga or a martial art. Martial arts are great for anger management because you can punch and kick a heavy bag to get out some aggression.
You must discover the root of why you’re as angry as you are. A single road rage incident can change your life forever, and it will never make it better.
You can accidentally injure or kill someone, or they can do the same to you. You can get a passing cop’s attention and land yourself in jail. The judge might confiscate your vehicle, and then you’ll have to take public transportation everywhere.
All of us feel frustration sometimes, or even anger. The issue is how you deal with those feelings. There are healthy ways to get out those emotions and unhealthy ways, like road rage.