Road Rage Ruins Lives
Every so often, we all get worked up about something in our lives. It could be anything. It could be the fact that your boss is constantly on your case and yet won’t give you a raise; it could be the fact that your delinquent teenager just won’t listen to reason; it could be that you had a fight with your spouse or it could be that irresponsible driver who just changed lanes erratically right in front of you on the highway. It is bad enough that they are swerving all over the place, but now, after cutting you off so rudely, they have the nerve to hoot and slow down right in front of you. Should this happen on a bad day, even on a good one, your very first instinct would to teach that driver a lesson. They can’t expect to drive around like that and not get an earful from someone like you.
So, you speed up trying to catch up with him. Once you do, your hoot erratically while sticking your middle finger out of the window and maybe even hurling a few choice words his way. Being the irrational human being that he is, he does the same thing. Now you are both embroiled in an argument and exchange of words and profane hand signals in the middle of the highway. All this while, although you might think that you are keeping one eye on the road, you forget to keep an eye on your speed; you forget to indicate when turning and you forget that there are other drivers on the road. In some cases, after a few moments of venting, most people go back to driving without incident. In most cases, this momentary lapse in judgment leads to road accidents that could cause pile-ups on the highway and in the worst case scenario, deaths. That, is road rage!
What causes road rage?
There are two different types of road rage. There are drivers who have what is referred to as ‘habitual road rage’. This means that these drivers have taught themselves to drive aggressively and have made a way of life. These are the people who constantly seem to be in more of a hurry than everyone else. They are the people who bully other drivers on the road and more often than not cause road accidents.
Then there are those drivers who fall under the category of ‘situational road rage’. The example given above is such a case. This is not a typically angry driver but they were driven to rage by the actions of the other driver and maybe even a few contributing factors from their personal life. Whichever the case, road rage could cost you or others their life.
Scary statistics on road rage
– Research shows that 9 out of 10 drivers have been victims of road rage at least once in the UK- Britain is currently the leading country in the world when it comes to cases of road rage (80.4% of drivers in UK have been victims of road rage)- The most common road rage perpetrators are male drivers between 16 – 30 years old- Almost 66% of traffic fatalities are as a result of aggressive driving
In many cases, drivers rudely gesticulated and hurled insults at each other while in a few cases, drivers actually got out and physically confronted each other. As mentioned earlier, the best you can expect from road rage is to have a ruined driving session, the worst is to cause accidents that may needlessly cost people their lives.
How to prevent road rage
While on the road, incidences are undoubtedly going to occur. You are going to come across drivers who will make you wonder how on Earth they ever qualified for their driver’s license. When these incidences occur, you can either choose to react, almost certainly making the situation worse and putting yourself as well as other drivers in danger, or you could choose to take a different path. A relatively safer path. Here are a few useful tips that can help you deal with and avoid road rage altogether.
Remember that you are in control
As human beings, we are wired to see the world from our own perspectives. Yes, sometimes we can try to understand what a stranger is going through but naturally, we only ever look at every situation from our own eyes. How it relates or would relate to us. The same things happens when you see an erratic driver on the road. You immediately go into how they are driving in relation to you. How dare they put your life in danger? That in itself is enough to elicit an emotional reaction from us which could lead us to road rage ourselves. The best thing to do here is to remember that engaging such drivers probably won’t solve anything. It will, however, put you in more danger as well as mess up the rest of your day. Choose to be happy instead.
Use music to relax while driving
Most young people like listening to loud aggressive music while driving. This in itself, puts them in a wild and aggressive mood which can affect their driving in general. The problem is that it is a psychological effect the music has on you. It will seep in without your realizing it. The best way to avoid this is to try and listen to more calming music or even a comedy channel on radio when driving. It puts you in a more peaceful mood and you will be less inclined to react aggressively should you encounter a driver on a road rage.
Resort to restaurant etiquette
More often than not when confronted with annoying situations in a public place, such as a stranger cutting in line at your favorite restaurant, we may not act as aggressively towards them because we are in public. Yes, we may say something, but we most likely will not start hurling insults at them and trying to punch them out. This is because we automatically behave decently in the public eye. When you are in your car, however, you are isolated and you tend to feel protected away from the public eye. This can lead to your acting in ways that you would typically find embarrassing in public. So the next time a rude drives cuts in front of you, respond as though you were in a restaurant and let it go.
All it takes to avoid getting involved in road rage is to try and stay calm behind the wheel. As long as the other driver doesn’t rum into your vehicle, you really have no reason to engage them and join in the fray.