Road Rage and Bad Drivers | How To Avoid It and Report It

How To Deal With Road Rage

May 11, 2018

Red stoplight

You wait patiently at a stop sign for your turn, but then the car to your right just runs right through it, without waiting their turn. Enough to make your blood boil. You race after it to give them ‘the look’ or maybe even worse. But you’re not a bad driver. They are the bad driver… right?

When we see road rage on the highway we tend to immediately associate it with bad drivers. “Of course that person must be crazy, just look at how aggressive their driving is.” In reality, road rage tends to precede poor or even reckless driving. You don’t need to be a bad driver to be susceptible to road rage; Compare.com explains why it can happen to anyone and how to avoid it.

Only Bad Drivers Have Road Rage

You might be surprised to learn that this isn’t always the case. Road rage can affect any driver. So what is road rage anyway? It is defined by Webster’s Dictionary as “a motorist’s uncontrolled anger… expressed in aggressive or violent behavior”.

Road rage can effect any driver. You’re already late for work, your toddler’s screaming, the radio won’t stop playing commercials: it’s an intensified response to all the little annoyances that accompany a daily commute or a lengthy road trip. Often it’s in response to bad drivers who are causing additional irritation to the average drivers who are stuck in traffic with them. The first step to dealing with road rage is recognizing that it can happen to anyone.

What to Do About Road Rage Drivers

Regardless of how they are driving, don’t engage them. Even good drivers can be tempted to not let a road raging driver merge into their lane, honk at them, or flash their lights. This sort of engagement with drivers suffering from road rage only makes a bad situation worse. The best thing you can do is stay out of their way and be a friendly and courteous driver. Don’t respond to any of their negative actions and do your best to remove yourself from the situation.

Sometimes that will be enough to stop it getting out of hand. However, some people just can’t let things go. If you see a driver who is driving particularly erratically or dangerously, don’t hesitate to report them to the police. You will likely need their license plate number, your current location, and a description of the offending driver’s driving.

How to Avoid Getting Road Rage Yourself

Do you feel like you’re the only good driver on the road? Does it seem like nobody on the highway has a clue about what they are doing? Maybe you’re getting hot around the collar over the guy who cut you off while talking on his cell phone? We understand your frustration, but it’s important not to let your anger get out of control. Here are some tried and tested ways to cool your jets before you do something you’ll likely regret.

  • Mind what you listen to in the car: Studies have shown that what you listen to while you drive, makes you drive differently. If you know that your route is stressful, try some classical music or an audiobook instead of your usual thrash metal.
  • Take a deep breath: You’ve probably heard this one before, but it’s still good advice. A couple deep breaths do actually help calm you down. It also requires you to take a moment and pause, which can give your brain enough time to see that what you’re really mad about isn’t going to be the end of the world.
  • Plan ahead: We often become frustrated while driving because we’re in a hurry. Don’t be. Plan your day so that you leave in plenty of time to get where you’re going. That way, there’s no need to rush and you won’t be so quick to get angry at the guy driving five miles per hour under the speed limit.
  • Find a New Route: On my way to work I can take the interstate or a local road. Although the highway is a little faster, I found it was so busy and fast that I arrived at work stressed out. The back road is an extra couple of minutes on my commute, but I arrive at work stress-free. Look into other routes that are quieter and you’re less likely to feel the rage.

At the end of the day, just think: will someone cutting me up on my ride home matter in 24-hours time? Even 10 minutes’ time? Likely not. Speeding off after someone or trying to cut them up in retaliation can put the other driver, you and others in danger. What’s more important to you: proving a childish point or keeping a clean driving record?

When It Goes Beyond Road Rage

We hear about these stories every so often, but we rarely expect them to happen to us. Whether another driver is endangering you with how they are driving on the highway, or even brandishing a weapon, this can be really scary. If you are put in danger due to someone else’s road rage get out of the situation.

If the other driver is being aggressive because they aren’t getting something they want (you to get out of their way, you to let them merge, etc.) do your best to give it to them. It’s not worth it to hold your ground and put yourself in danger. Pull over, let them merge, whatever you need to do to appease them and move on. Be the bigger person.

If their behavior is bad enough that you are in fear for your personal safety, you’re justified in notifying the police. If the driver brandishes a weapon, particularly a firearm, get out of the way. If necessary, get off the highway and head for a populated place. Be sure to call the police and, ideally, have them meet you at your destination or somewhere along the route. When it comes to road rage and bad drivers, don’t take chances.

Whether you’re a victim of road rage or a confessed rage-a-holic yourself, getting good car insurance will protect you if the worst happens. Compare.com makes it easy to compare prices and packages from dozens of insurance companies across the US. Why not check us out today?

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