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. Chuck H says

    Political solutions have a very poor track record for success. If laws enforced slower traffic to move to the right, car pool lanes would not be necessary.

  2. Martha says

    My husband loves to honk at other car drivers for most any reason. Going slow, in the fast lane holding up traffic or using the the carpool & not having the right number of people in the car. If I say anything he always I worry to much. & if I say anything about road rage he. Just ignores me. It gets nerve racking.

  3. jose says

    I like to be truthful I’m a driver in the streets of texas have you ever been on the fast lane and a car is going slower than speed limit too me it common sense faster cars in the far left slower cars right side And if you see someone behind you and no one in front of you move to the right .

    How about left lane for passing only big sign that says that I follow that but when there’s a ( slow ) car on left side going super slow and not moving to right it’s like man common sense, was I the only one that read the texas dps handbook

    Sorry if other people are offended about what I put but I have too be truthful it’s one thing too right CALM DOWN be in the situation then right what happened really!

  4. Andre Johnson says


    I use #2 a lot, I love it, it makes driving so easy for everyone.

  5. Nathan says

    Retired from the military of 37 yrs I’ve seen road rage all over the world. It begins with the lack of being patient and having common courtesy. Every vehicle is equipped with turn signals, most states mandate it. Distractions of all kinds. When behind the wheel, it’s easy to just do what you need to arrive safe. Slow down, nothing is worth your life unless you’re truly saving someone. Less drivers under 21 would be a big help as well as age limit on the elderly, I drive my mom every where cause I want her to remain safe. Also being tired driving is just as bad as drinking. There’s so much to live for and enjoy ourselves, driving is a joy.

  6. stan hemphill says

    If another driver exhibits road rage, try to do all the things the article explains. Then remember all the details and call 911. Let the police handle the road rage so that the perpetrator is caught and prosecuted. I am sure the police will respond appropriately. We all do NOT have to be submissive, just smart! Be safe not sorry.

  7. Royce Kono says

    I see it every day in peak hour traffic, angry & impatient faces. Blocking intersection, men & women speeding erratic lane changing LMAO People we live on a little rock in middle of Pacific ocean. Where are you going in rush hour traffic?

  8. thomas cooper says

    I drive for a living and would like to inform other motorists of something that they might not be aware of.
    It’s the sensors installed in the road at traffic lights that sense a vehicle is there so the light will change for you. Usually a square outlined in road Sometimes a line that you should be up to that would put you in that zone.
    Seen many people go into a rage waiting behind a driver that doesn’t know this

  9. Frank Bon says

    As a law enforcement officer for over thirty years I have witnessed far too many incidents and accidents due to drivers bringing their wounded and frustrated emotions behind the steering wheel. A bad day in a persons life such as family, work or financial problems needs a level headed calm down period before hitting the roadways. If you can’t find enough concern towards getting behind the steering wheel and possibly injuring yourself, think of all the innocent children in vehicles, walking on the streets and sidewalks, and in school zones. Never mind zooming passed a stopped signaling school bus. Driving aggressively and emotionally sooner or later ends up in tragedy that many people will have to live with for the rest of their lives. So, think about it, before you getting into that two thousand pound missile on wheels. As hard as it might be, try to calm yourself down and work through the thought process of your problem before you drive that car. Aggressive drivers usually have deeper issues working in their lives. Consider that, and if you come across their path during the course of your day, just move away from them, give them their room, give them a blessing and you will have a very happy day!

  10. James says

    We need to stop making excuses for these “people” who engage in road rages. The roads belong to everybody and if they cant handle that and go into these rages, they don’t belong in society! Its that simple!

  11. Donna says

    Another thing that irritates me are people not using their turning signals. I.don’t trust them completely but a heads up is nice. Defense driving is a must and signals. help.

  12. Joyce says

    Truck drivers that can see into vehicles tell me that 90% of drivers are texting after all the warnings. The National Safety Council claims texting is equal to having 2 alcoholic beverages.

  13. james collandra says

    Young drivers often fall prey to these dituations by creating them.there is no place behind the wheel for acts of plain inconsideration leading to and jeopardizing safety for all those on the road.I’ve seen quite a bit in my 38 years of driving andcan only say that safety enforcement ‘hones’good and courteous driving skills.i say that from experience.

  14. Mr. Angus Smith says

    I think that people who are texting causes just as many accidents and some due get angry when you pass them and then they become a problem