January 20th, 2020| At Berg Injury Lawyers, we spend a lot of time helping people who were hurt in crashes caused by negligent drivers. Most of the time, that negligence occurs in the form of speeding, driving while impaired, driving while distracted, running red lights and stop signs, or following other vehicles too closely. And while those drivers can and should be held liable for the damage and injuries they caused, they likely didn’t intentionally set out to harm others. However, there’s another common driving behavior that occasionally results in crashes that can have a more intentional and even malicious undertone: road rage. Everyone experiences frustration and sometimes even anger when stuck in traffic or after being cut off on the highway, but road rage is a completely different phenomenon. People who experience road rage may lose control of their emotions and their behavior, causing them to act aggressively and potentially harm others through traffic accidents.
How to Spot and Handle Road Rage in OthersThe National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says that road rage incidents are on the rise in America. The number of deaths related to road rage increased from 80 in 2006 to 467 in 2015—an increase of nearly 500 percent. Knowing how to spot the signs of road rage in other drivers won’t just help you avoid a crash, but it could also save your life. The next time you’re driving, keep an eye out for drivers who exhibit the following behaviors:
- Speeding—Drivers who are angry often take out their aggression by increasing their speed, often significantly over the posted speed limits for the roads they’re on. If you encounter a speeding driver, change lanes and move out of the way as soon as you can do so safely.
- Tailgating—Whether they’re angry over a perceived slight, or they’re impatient and angry, drivers experiencing road rage may tailgate others. Never slam on your brakes when you’re being tailgated. Instead, change lanes and allow the other driver to pass.
- Honking—People experiencing road rage often want others to be aware of their anger and frustration. One of the easiest ways to do that is by honking their horns. If someone is frequently honking or holding down their horn, they may be about to act aggressively and should be avoided.
- Staring/gesturing—When the objects of their frustration are nearby, drivers with road rage may stare or gesture at them, hoping to get a response or incite a reaction. Never respond to a driver who is attempting to antagonize you. Instead, continue looking straight ahead.
Tips for Defusing Road Rage in YourselfRoad rage isn’t always extreme cases of aggression. It can also be defined as taking unnecessary risks due to frustration and anger, both of which are common emotions for drivers to experience from time to time. Keep a cool and calm head in even the most trying traffic situations by following these tips:
- Give yourself plenty of time to reach your destination—Running late is one of the most common causes of bad decisions behind the wheel, including speeding, following too closely, and running red lights.
- Get plenty of sleep—Being sleep-deprived is a major source of accidents on its own, but it can also make you more prone to impatience and even road rage. If you feel sleepy, take a nap before heading out on the road.
- Listen to soothing music—The music you listen to have can have a major effect on your mood and your behavior. Calm, relaxing, and easygoing music with between 60 and 80 beats per minute is more conducive to safe driving than up tempo or aggressive music.