With the stress of modern life it is increasingly likely that this strain will spill over into other areas of our lives. Driving is not immune from being affected by overextended circumstances. Road rage is a condition where a motorist loses their temper as a result of a traffic disturbance. Those affected by this condition will typically accompany their rage with aggressive driving. People who exhibit such behavior cross all race, age, gender, and socio-economic statuses.
In surveys about what type of behaviors cause a loss in temper researchers found that the answers were remarkably consistent. The four main causes of road rage are:
- Cutting drivers off. Try to signal as soon as you make the decision to turn or change lanes. If you have been cut off do not take offense and allow the driver more room into the lane.
- Driving slowly in the left lane. Even though you may be legitimately going the speed limit if other cars in the right lanes are passing you, it is best to get over to avoid angering drivers behind you. In general, the left lane is considered the passing lane and the fastest lane, so allow other drivers to pass.
- Tailgating. It is difficult to ascertain the intentions of those who tailgate. Some drivers space out on the road and are simply following too closely to those behind them. Others are acting aggressively and trying to either pass or intimidate the driver ahead of them. To avoid an unexpected reaction or angering the front driver pay attention and try to always leave a two second distance between your car and the other driver.
- Gestures. Gesturing to other drivers in obscene or negative ways is never a good practice and can easily cause road rage incidents. The best way to reduce such incidents, either in yourself or other drivers, is to start with an attitude of courteousness. You will find yourself much less offended at seemingly rude driving behavior if you agree with yourself ahead of time that you will let every car merge in front of you, allow a bigger following distance between cars, and allow cars to pass you.
If you find yourself in a road rage situation there are some tips to follow:
- Place distance between yourself and the other driver. If you have to slow down or change a lane to avoid the other driver do so.
- Avoid eye contact. If the above advice is not possible, try to avoid eye contact with the driver to disengage from the incident.
- Get help. If the above two tips are not working, escalate by trying to find help. You can drive to the nearest police or fire station or hospital. Whatever you do, do not get out of your car, stop your car, or go home.
If an accident has been caused by either your or another’s road rage, call the police and an ambulance immediately and do not get out of the car to allow time for either you or the other driver to calm down. Once the police arrive make sure to document the accident and any injury for the determination of fault.
This article is for informational purposes only and is not to be construed as legal advice. Your case may be different. Consult an attorney in your area for further guidance. If you or a loved one has been involved in an accident with road rage please call one of our attorneys at David K. Kremin & Associates, and we will give you a free consultation. We never charge unless we collect for you. Please call 1(800) ASK-A-LAWYER or 1(800)275-2529.