Discussions about road rage often focus on the need for better emotional regulation in traffic. Experts provide an assortment of tips for those who find themselves reacting irrationally to other people’s driving behavior. People may have a plan for how to calm down and avoid overreacting during moments of stress in traffic.
People generally have less control over the emotional reactions of those in other vehicles. Someone may notice warning signs of another driver succumbing to road rage. Aggressive honking, shouting from windows and tailgating are all possible signs of a developing road rage situation. How can a motorist who is not experiencing road rage protect themselves from the misconduct of another driver?
Avoid making eye contact
One of the ways that people escalate a road rage scenario is by directly engaging the other driver. Someone tailgating in a fit of road rage will likely stare into the rearview mirror of the person they follow. Road rage drivers may also enter the lane next to a motorist and try to catch their eye. Someone should avoid making eye contact and also avoid direct communication by yelling back and forth between vehicles, both of which may intensify the situation.
Slow down and back off
Drivers often feel a sense of urgency about where they want to be and could become angry at perceived inconveniences caused by other motorists. If a driver continues to stay at the front of a block of traffic, they may continue butting heads with the angry motorist. Slowing down, allowing other vehicles ahead and even moving onto another road as soon as possible are always to diffuse or end a road rage scenario.
Go somewhere safe other than home
Sometimes, road rage incidents culminate with one driver following the other somewhere and assaulting or threatening them. Heading directly home with an angry driver following is probably not a safe choice. Going to a public, well-lit area where someone can exit their vehicle and seek out other people will be the best way to avoid an escalation of the incident into physical violence.
Drivers may also want to use hand-free systems to call a non-emergency line for assistance if they feel directly threatened by another driver and worried about how the situation may escalate. Ultimately, knowing what steps to take to counter someone’s road rage could make a major difference to someone’s safety in traffic when they cross paths with an emotional driver.