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. Jeffrey Shallcross says

    Defensive driving is the key to good driving habits if practiced every time you get behind the wheel. As a manger in transportation for over 10 years i can attest to the fact from accidents and incidents what can happen when emotions run hi due to traffic conditions and other drivers moods. Construction zones can be some of the worst case scenarios, Driving through any construction zone means paying the strictest observance for a drivers surroundings.

    Your article brings to light some of the proper ways avoiding someone with road rage, although it does not always work , most times diffusing a potential antagonistic advent is the best thing to do provided a driver knows what to do in these situations.

  2. Sick Drivers Off The Road says

    Well the very bad thing is that many of these very mentally ill drivers will still stay in the right lane which many of us just want to drive at a Normal Speed which they will ride our bumpers even in the right lane which these people are real Total Losers anyway that need to get a life. I will just put my break on as if i am going to stop which then they will realize that i am Not going to go any faster which they will have no choice but to go over to the left lane since i refuse to go any faster just because they want too. Makes very much sense to me since the speed limit on the road that i am driving on says 50 mph when they are going at least between 70 and 80 mph. It is just too very bad that we Don’t have enough police on the road to look out for these Low Life Losers in the first place.

  3. Tyler says

    Good advice. The main thing is that we all make road mistakes at some point in time . Sure, someone just cut me off, hey, I’ve done the same thing to at some point.
    To echo the advice above:
    -Avoid eye contact, even if you do cut someone off. Many road rage instances start with that. When in doubt, keep looking forward. Even if someone pulls into the lane next to you (after the offense) and stops before they really need to so they can visually confront you, don’t even turn your head. Often times, once they see they aren’t getting “a rise” out of you, they’ll just keep driving (had that happen recently)

    If you are indeed being followed:
    -Stay on main roads, avoid driving towards areas that seem to be dead-ended.
    -Try to make three Right turns (ideally in an area you re familiar with), often times the Raged will think they’re going in circles and give up.
    -Road rage is a crime in most states. If you can safely (or someone else in a technical) get on the phone with the cops for advice. Drive into a police station parking lot or pulled up behind a parked but active one.
    -NEVER exit the car or roll down the window.
    All in all, road rage is petty anger, the enraged person has usually forgotten about it a few hours later (if that). Chances are you will never see the person again.

  4. D. "Pete" Pistole says

    Don’t take it personally, for example when somebody cuts in front of you usually without using their turn signals. Instead, think to yourself, wow, another car with no turn signals-maybe burned out.
    When somebody speeds by way faster than is safe, I imagine they have an emergency situation causing them to drive wildly, as if they stole the vehicle.
    Another tactic I use is to assume that every other driver is an off duty cop, regardless how stupid something is that they are doing.

  5. TheRealTruth says

    There are many drivers that cause road rage do to their mental illness since they Tailgate a lot when there is no reason in the world to do that in the first place since i have noticed that many of them will do it on spite since there is a left lane to pass which many of them just have trouble doing the speed limit. These Losers need to get a life before more innocent people like us get hurt which this is a Law that should’ve been Enforced from day one which there should be definitely more police on the road to look out for them.

  6. Mike says

    Great advice. Best thing to do is let it go and let them be on their way. It’s not worth it especially if you have kids who need you around in their lives. Karma catches up to them anyway. I remember watching a guy fly by me on the on ramp while it was raining because he felt I was going to slow. Car slipped and did a 180 slamming into the center divider.

    • Deacon Jones says

      KARMA is correct. Sooner or later, these crazies get what is coming to them. Just don’t react to them, knowing that God sees and they will get what is coming to them as a result of their own actions.

  7. Jody Carr says

    I was a professional UPS driver fir many years and do know about driving defensively; however there are MANY outrageous, aggressive, drivers on the road who s3m to want ro ruin people’s day. What a shame…really. Where are the nice, sweet, kind people in this world? It truly is sad that so many people are angry, inconsiderate, and plain nasty. Thanks for the tips!

  8. VE says

    I feel like the problem in Florida is that many people assume if you hit them you are automatically at fault, do to the no fault law in Florida (which is somewhat ridiculous) there are drivers jumping on the expressway hitting the gas not even looking at coming traffic. Does anyone know what YIELD or MERGE mean? People that are hit from behind are not always in the right, JSO who we employ to control the flow of traffic break more traffic laws than actually doing what we pay them for.
    And people here drive like they just seem fast and furious 6 or something but as soon as Jso pull up on seem they wanna drive like the model boycott just long enough forJso to exit highway. Smh/sigh.

  9. harry beton says

    One of the problems That I see is the total lack of response by the Florida police. I have seen many blatant violations by motorists , that have been seen by the local police and never been pulled over for. they are either overworked or too lazy to do anything about
    I think that we should reintroduce inspections in Florida, if only to get some of the vehicles off the road that are using the very dark windows, their headlights are either not working or out of adjustment. We have cars out there that have taken off their catalytic converters and replaced them with very loud exhausts. when they are given a ticket ( if ever ) it should be a fix-it ticked so they would have to correct the problem instead of just paying a fine

  10. Raylin Sutter says

    How many car accident claims are made a year due to road rage? I feel like it only makes sense that it is a leading cause because I see it all the time. In fact, I am very prone to getting angry when I am on the road. A couple summers ago I let that rage get the best of me. I got distracted by that anger and ended up in a minor wreck. Now, I work very hard to stay patient while driving.

  11. Brian says

    I cycle and I use an air horn when a driver behaves dangerously such as passing closely. A side swipe between cars can lead to cosmetic damage and if there’s property damage, it can be repaired. For a cyclist, theres no armor and it can be fatal which is why when they squeeze through, I feel that I must honk. We must be reminded of the rules of the road when we forget them. Interestingly, they don’t give eye contact. It is because of guilt or they think its road rage? I expect a few people to disagree with my comment but I don’t see how passing a cyclist within a few inches is so safe.

    • Sam says

      I go to Indonesia.The cyclists there honk all the time…it is just their way of letting you know they are there…amazingly in all my trips there i have never seen anyone get mad.

  12. Celeste Starks says

    I think there is more of overcrowded population in America which can cause stress alone. The roads and highways are really unprecedented crowded. Let’s say if you put 20 grown rats in a 2 by 4 cage, there’s going to be trouble. Does this give a clue??