How to Deal with Road Rage
You never know who you're dealing with on the road. With over 3 million people in Nevada, millions of people are driving throughout the state on a daily basis. The chances of a certain percentage of
those drivers feeling anger or frustration are high.
You might even be amongst those who lose their cool. Maybe you had a bad day at work or just received an upsetting phone call. We're all human and capable of making mistakes. But feeling anger behind the wheel can be dangerous.
Let's look at what road rage means and how to avoid it.
What is Road Rage?
According to Merriam-Webster Dictionary, road rage is “a motorist's uncontrolled anger that is usually provoked by another motorist's irritating act and is expressed in aggressive or violent behavior."
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) defines road rage as when a driver “commits moving traffic offenses so as to endanger another person or property; an assault with a motor vehicle or other dangerous weapon by the operator or passenger of one motor vehicle on the operator or passengers of another motor vehicle."
The NHTSA differentiates road rage and aggressive driving in legal terms. Road rage is a criminal charge and aggressive driving is a traffic offense. However, both are dangerous and can lead to serious accidents.
How Do You Know You Have Road Rage?
Sitting in traffic after a tough day at work can get anyone a little upset. We see other drivers on the road
aggressively driving by cutting people off or tailgating. But does your own anger or aggression behind the wheel amount to road rage?
If you've experienced the following signs, then you might be guilty of road rage.
- Trying to beat red lights because you're in a rush.
- Regularly driving over the speed limit.
- Tailgating drivers you think are too slow or who pull out in front of you.
- Flashing your headlights at a driver in front of you so they go faster.
- Honking the horn often.
- Using obscene gestures at another driver.
- Staring down another driver as you pass them.
- Brake-checking people who are tailgating you. If they crash into you, it will most likely be
their fault in court.
- Changing lanes often. If you're on a highway or multiple-lane road, you don't stay in
the same lane for more than a few minutes.
- Stereotyping drivers. For example, if you see a handicap license plate, you assume they are
going to drive very slowly.
- Friends are scared to ride with you.
- Easily annoyed by other drivers, even if they aren't doing anything wrong.
How to Deal with Other Drivers with Road Rage
It's important to know how to handle aggressive drivers on the road. You don't want to further aggravate them and potentially cause a car crash. If you follow these steps, you can stay safe on
the road amidst potential road raging drivers.
your distance. Try your best to safely remove yourself from the situation. Even if you don't feel you're in the wrong, change lanes, exit the highway, or do whatever you can to get out of the person's way.
- Don't react. If someone flashes their lights or honks at you, don't honk back. The
other driver could interpret your reaction as antagonizing.
- Stay in your car. Keep your windows rolled up and doors locked.
- Keep your cool. If you act out on your own road rage you could escalate the situation.
- Defensive driving. Practice defensive driving and avoid getting into an accident with a
driver who might be experiencing a bad day.
- Eyes on the road. Don't make eye contact with the aggressive driver. Keep your eyes on the road and avoid provoking the other driver.
- Practice empathy. It's easier to deal with someone's road rage if you put yourself in their shoes. Maybe they just got some devastating news, and they don't know how to cope. We don't know what other people are going through, so it's best to wish them well and drive away.
- Offer to drive. If you are in a car with an aggressive driver, offer to take over the
wheel for a bit. This can give them a chance to cool down, and everyone can get
to their destination safely.
How to Handle Your Own Anger on the Road
If you find yourself guilty of road rage, follow these steps to manage your own anger behind the wheel.
- Don't take things personally. Someone cuts you off and your initial reaction is anger. But maybe they didn't see you. Maybe they waved sorry and you missed it. They didn't cut you off to purposely ruin your day.
- Give yourself plenty of time. Often our rage comes from being in a hurry or fear of
being late. Try to leave a little earlier than you think. Give yourself plenty of time to get to your destination.
- Listen to music. Try some calming music to help distract you from whatever is upsetting you on the road. Don't listen to music that could put you in an aggressive or angry mood.
- Practice rhythmic breathing. The simple act of consciously inhaling and exhaling can make us feel much better.
- Pull over. Sometimes, you just need a moment. If you're really worked up, exit the
freeway or pull over to the side of the road. Take some time to breathe and calm down. When you feel ready, you can hop back on the road.
- Pretend someone else in the car with you. If your child was in the car would you be a different driver? Imagine they are in the back seat and see how that changes your driving.
- Be comfortable. We can't control what's happening on the road, but we can control
what's in our car. Is your messy car getting on your nerves? Clean it and see how that changes your mood. Is it too hot? Turn up the AC. Is there a weird smell? Get an air freshener. These small changes can make a world of difference when we're driving.
- Put things in perspective. At the end of the day, it doesn't matter if you miss a green light or missed an exit. You'll get to work or get home only a few minutes later. In the grand scheme of things, those few minutes don't really matter.
It’s important to contain and diffuse your own anger when driving. Anger when driving can lead to an accident, potentially injuring you or others. If you find yourself the victim in a road rage incident in the Las Vegas area, we encourage you to contact our firm that offers some of the best car accident attorneys in the region. Call (702) 857-6000 now. You can schedule an appointment for a free case review.
Experienced Las Vegas Personal Injury Lawyers
If you or a loved one has been in a car accident that was caused by an aggressive driver who had road rage, you should speak with an experienced personal injury attorney who can help you protect your rights. Our car accident lawyers are experienced at handling all types of car accidents, including accidents with large trucks or SUVs, accidents involving motorcyclists and bicyclists, and accidents where there was a driver who was driving under the influence/with an elevated blood alcohol concentration (BAC).
Car accident attorneys at our firm offer you the best opportunity to get the compensation you deserve for your injuries. It’s okay to inform yourself with some data from the Internet, but when it comes to seeking maximum compensation, you’ll want to put your case in the hands of the experts: Anthem Injury Lawyers, serving Las Vegas and vicinity. Call us today for a free case analysis: (702) 857-6000. Our law office is located in Henderson, but we work with clients all over the Las Vegas Valley.