How to deal with road rage

Madison Hamel, Staff

Road rage is something most of us have experienced, but most of us know how to deal with it safely. Whether it’s mumbling a curse word under our breath or slamming on the horn, most people do not go as far as harming others while raging on the road.

So, what causes someone to become  so enraged while driving?

The American Psychological Association says that high stress situations, such as crowded roads, are more likely to trigger extreme road rage. and younger males are the most likely demographic to participate in it.

Psychologist Jeff Deffenbacher developed a scale to help drivers realize if they are “high” or “low” anger drivers. High anger drivers tend to engage in a more hostile way of thinking and tend to insult people’s driving. They often have thoughts of revenge, which may lead to inflicting harm on others. 

High anger drivers also tend to drive 15-20 over the speed limit and run red lights. They may also tailgate the driver in front of them and take more risks on the road. Some people may even go as far as to get out of their vehicle and confront the other driver, or even purposefully ram or damage another vehicle as a form of retaliation.

Geico gives some helpful tips on how to avoid road rage, which include giving yourself time to get where you are going so if you get upset you have some time to pull over and cool off before you  continue to  drive.

Geico also offers a list of things to keep in mind when driving. For example, if someone is driving slow, keep in mind they could be unfamiliar with the area or lost. Additionally, try not to tailgate, even if the driver in front of you is going under the speed limit, and try to avoid using your horn. Most importantly, never  stop to confront another driver.

And if you see a driver behaving in a hostile manner, try to safely switch lanes, and do your best to stay away, even exit the highway if that will keep you safe. 

When dealing with someone enraged on the road, do not retaliate and  avoid eye contact; this can help assure that the situation won’t escalate. If someone rolls their window down or stops, keep going. If you believe someone is following you, make sure you keep your doors locked, and if they’re still following you after multiple turns, try pulling into a public place. If they’re still behind you after leaving the road, drive to the nearest police station.

Road rage is becoming more and more common, and as drivers, we must do our best to keep ourselves and our passengers safe.