Road Rage

17 Jul 2017

Good driving requires a responsible attitude and high levels of both concentration and anticipation. In reality, however, everyone makes mistakes. Driving while emotional, stressed or feeling harassed by another driver can lead to poor decision making and pose a real accident hazard.

Here are some tips on how to deal with both your own potential road rage and that of others.

Before You Set Off

Try to ensure you are feeling calm and well rested before you leave.  Being emotionally upset and tired can be distracting may cause you to drive less safely or to respond inappropriately to an incident.
Plan your journey, allowing extra time for unexpected delays. Giving yourself extra time to get to your destination will help ensure you don’t get stressed due to running late or getting lost.

During Your Journey

Don’t panic or over-react to another driver’s bad driving. Remember everyone makes mistakes. Even if their actions are intentional, just give them some space and concentrate on your own driving.
Be aware of signs that your mood has taken a turn for the worse, such as voice tone, muscle tension and elevated heart rate. Mentally check yourself to prevent it escalating. Try deep breathing, counting out loud or putting on some calming music. Stretching your arms, hands and fingers can help relieve stress too.
Don’t get into conflict if it seems another driver is provoking you. Stay calm and don’t engage.
If an incident makes you feel stressed, find a safe place to stop and calm down before continuing your journey.
If you make a mistake, acknowledge this fact to other road users. This will help diffuse tension.
Be aware of your own driving. Don’t lane-hog or hold up the flow of traffic. If you have a long tail of traffic behind you, consider pulling in to let faster traffic pass you.
If you are being tailgated, don’t feel pressured to speed up. Find a safe opportunity to allow the driver to pass, such as driving right round a roundabout to end up behind the tailgating driver.
If you are being persistently followed, make your way to a public place such as a petrol station, police station or busy street. Don’t allow them to follow you home. Remain in the car with the windows closed and door locked. If necessary, call the police.

Remember: focus on your own driving and mood, and be patient with other drivers. Someone else’s bad driving needn’t ruin your day, and losing your temper can have serious consequences. In 2012 2448 accidents were recorded as caused by “aggressive driving.” The police can now issue fines and penalty points for tailgating and a number of other reckless or aggressive driving offences.

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