Most drivers have experienced being stuck in traffic and I'm sure almost everyone would agree that it can be a frustrating experience. Nobody enjoys sitting in bumper to bumper traffic, especially when you’re in a rush to get to work or have an appointment to be at, but it’s important not to let that frustration turn into anger, cloud your judgment and turn into road rage.
While there isn’t reliable data on the exact number of ‘road rage’ incidents happening on our roads, stories about them still show up in news headlines every day. In fact, a recent article in the Washington Post about traffic congestion reported that the number of drivers in the DC area that say they frequently feel anger towards other drivers has doubled in the past five years. The Foundation’s 2009 study on aggressive driving behaviors also supports the idea that aggressive behaviors are more commons than we think – simple things like speeding, running red lights and cutting someone off are all aggressive driving behaviors that in some cases results in a more violent act of road rage.
All drivers need to take a deep breath sometimes and remember that most important thing about your commute is getting to your destination safely. Here are a few tips on how to avoid aggressive driving from our road rage brochure:
1. Don’t offend
• Avoid cutting other drivers off and apologize if you accidently do so
• Avoid tailgating and aggressively honking the horn as these things anger other drivers
• Avoid making inappropriate or offensive gestures
2. Don’t Engage
• If you notice an aggressive driver, do your best to get out of their way
• Avoid eye contact to prevent any encounter from becoming more personal
• Seek help if you think someone is following you by driving to a safe/crowded location
3. Adjust Your Attitude
• Don’t focus on “making good time”, instead leave earlier to allow yourself extra time in case there is traffic that slows you down.
• Put yourself in the other driver’s shoes – would you want to be cut off, tailgated, or yelled at?
• If you find yourself getting angry while driving, take a deep breath and remember any escalation of a situation will only make things worse.