7 Ways To Avoid Road Rage

road rage imageAggressive driving behaviors, such as speeding and tailgating, can often lead to road rage. According to the National Safety Council, motorists rate this as a top threat to highway safety.

Here, we provide practical tips on how to avoid road rage—as well as some startling stats, common reasons that cause road rage and wisdom from experts—to ensure your safety while driving.

7 ways to avoid road rage:

  1. Move over if someone is tailgating you
  2. Use an “I’m sorry” gesture (e.g. wave) to attempt to defuse the situation
  3. Plan ahead; allow time for delays during your journey
  4. Consider whether you’ve done something to annoy the other driver and adjust your driving accordingly
  5. Listen to music you enjoy
  6. Use your horn sparingly
  7. Avoid eye contact with angry drivers and give them plenty of room

“If we can put ourselves in the shoes of other drivers, we are more capable of understanding their behavior and staying calm. If we can’t appreciate their situation, then we are more likely to get offended, angry and even rageful if their driving bothers us.” — Dr. Robert Nemerovski, psychologist specializing in anger and anxiety.

Common reasons drivers experience road rage:

  • Fighting over a parking space
  • Cut off
  • Not allowed to pass
  • Given the finger
  • Annoyed at someone honking too much
  • Stuck behind a slow driver
  • Tailgated

“There’s a lot of talk about driving under the influence, and oftentimes people are referring to drugs or alcohol. But people are driving under the influence every day—and that influence is rage.” — Shannon Munford, anger management expert.

Reasons to avoid aggressive driving*:

  • Aggressive driving plays a role in 66% of traffic fatalities.
  • 50% of people who encounter aggressive driving behavior respond in kind.
  • A firearm is involved in 37% of aggressive driving incidents.
  • Out of 10,000 road-rage incidents committed over a seven-year span, there were 218 deaths and 12,610 injuries recorded.

“Some good people have bad days and end up in situations they normally never would, simply due to powerful emotions like anger, frustration and stress taking over.” — Richard Senshido, self-defense expert on de-escalating situations with road ragers.

Save money on your car insurance premium by taking a defensive driver course in your state — it’s a great way to review the rules of the road and become a better driver, and learn how to steer clear of aggressive behaviors caused by other drivers.  

Next article: Does Driving Stress You Out?

* statistics according to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.

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  1. Paul says

    I have just been in a road rage situation, I was being tailgated by another vehicle, I had my car set at 30mph, however the other car was up my rear. I felt rage and reacted to it and stopped my car and confronted the driver in a very aggressive manor. The other car was inches from mine when I stopped, that’s how close the car was.

    The driver said that was not the case, but I know it was correct as I would have not felt such anger and frustration which caused me to react in such a manor.

    This is the second time I have reacted like this. I have had three road traffic accidents and I have anxiety and depression from these situations. These accidents are always at the forefront of my mind when I am driving, fear or another accident.

    Drivers are not very courteous anymore and just want to rush, speed etc without due care to others, they think they are entitled to drive in such a manor however driving is a privilege.

    I am so angry that I reacted in such away and I have put many methods in place to deal with this but it is becoming more difficult to lift the anger, frustration and attitude that I have towards irresponsible drivers and tailgaters too.

    I regret what has happened and I hope the other driver reflects on this situation. However I am angry now as I have now caused a double negative impact one on me and one on the other driver too who I hope will not suffer from the situation that they were not expecting. Drivers will never know who they are driving behind and they could end up in a very unexpected situation.

    I will try to incorporate the methods mentioned on this site however as always this is extremly difficult. I will also seek advice from my GP and the Police regarding this. I am also fearful that there may be other repocussions for me if the other driver reports the situation to the Police.

    Happy pleasurable driving is all I wish for.

  2. Rita says

    Keep your phone in a convenient location and pay attention to your locations (road/cross street/city), as well as the mile markers on the highway. If you are on the highway call the highway patrol.

    I had an incident the other day. A guy was pissed at me because I wouldn’t go more than 5 miles over the speed limit. He had to wait to pass.. I didn’t make eye contact. When he passed to look at me I pretended I glanced at him and pretended I was calling the police and followed just closely enough to give him the impression I was reporting his license plate. He sped up and went another direction. I suspect this was not his first interaction and didn’t want to stick around to see who might show up to help me. I am grateful we have cell phones.

  3. Dieter says

    Very interesting, i fully agree with your suggestions.
    Having driven accident free for over 60 years in more than 30 different countries, some of
    which drive on the left side (UK, Japan, Singapore, Malaysia, Kenya, South Africa etc.)
    Germany without speed-limit on certain Autobahn stretches…
    I’ve learned from the beginning: adjust to local traffic conditions and rules and always be calm
    If you want to have fun, drive on a non-race day on the Nuerburg-Ring in Germany. Pay the track admission for 2 or 3 rounds and drive to our heart’s desire. But careful, there are curves that require substantial slow-down!

  4. Shekhar says

    The defensive driver course through GEICO has helped me a lot. I drive on interstate for roughly 200 miles, once every week. I just put my favorite music, sing along and enjoy my drive. I stay on right lane, 5 miles above. Nobody likes to follow the big trucks. If I find one, I keep safe distance and drive behind a truck and cruise along. I remind myself to enjoy the ride.
    I had read somewhere, if you want to enjoy life, slow down. That applies to long distance drive too. When I have to pass, I ask myself – Do I really need to pass? If the answer is yes, the guy in front is too slow, nobody is in left lane or not at least in safe distance, then I pass the slow driver and again back in right lane. If you remain in RIGHT lane, most of the time, you will be RIGHT. Most of the crashes happen, while passing, if I am not wrong.