3 Ways to De-Escalate Road Rage Before Someone Gets Hurt

Driver showing road rage behaviorKeep your cool to avoid serious accidents or roadside violence. Los Angeles is known across the nation for its traffic. For those of us who drive, crawling down the expressway is a fact of life. With that fact often come frustration, anger and the occasional obscenity hurled between drivers: all symptoms of road rage.

More than half of fatal car crashes in the United States involve aggressive driving, according to the American Automobile Association. When anger runs rampant behind the wheel, drivers make hasty decisions that can result in fender benders or worse. In rare cases, drivers get involved in violent altercations because of road rage.

3 Tips to Check Road Rage and Keep Yourself Safe

You can’t control other motorists, but you can monitor your own behavior to make sure you’re not adding fuel to the fire. Use these three tips to defuse tense situations on the road.

  1. Leave plenty of room – Congested highways get tightly packed with cars, which can turn into a pressure cooker if a driver turns aggressive. If another driver is tailgating you, try to get into a different lane or simply take your own time and wait for them to pass. Giving yourself ample space behind the car in front of you can also help keep things safe and civil.
  2. Give yourself ample time – Traffic is a pain even under the best circumstances, and running late can make you particularly vulnerable to stress and anger. Expect delays and give yourself ample time so you can roll with the punches instead of agonizing over every minute in traffic.
  3. Take the high road – When another driver cuts you off or gives you the finger, the temptation to return the aggression is natural. However, it rarely improves the situation. When it happens, lay off the horn and bite your tongue. The best way to respond for your own safety (and mental health!) is to focus on your own driving, get to a safer lane and pat yourself on the back for avoiding further stress.

What do you do when you encounter an aggressive driver? Weigh in below, or share this post with a friend who spends a lot of time in traffic.

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