On the last issue of the Survival Life Newsletter, I told you about the most harrowing story of road rage that I have personally experienced. A man darted out in front of my car and what started as a simple honk, escalated into him trying to remove me from my vehicle by force. I got away from that incident without a scratch. I did a few things right when dealing with the enraged idiot, but I also did a few things wrong. Below are a few tips that may work well for you if you are ever caught up in a situation like the one I was in:
Don’t engage. If you find yourself in a heated situation with another driver, back off and give them some space. This is hard to do, as our competitive nature will not want us to let them “win”, but allowing the spat to end there could diffuse any further problems.
If the other driver begins to drive recklessly, slow down and change your route.
The last thing you want is to be in a traffic accident with this person where you are forced to leave the safety of your vehicle.
In my situation, I should have never honked at the gentlemen, and my tight-lipped smile as he cursed me only increased his anger towards me.
Never leave your car. Roll-up your windows and lock your doors . This will put good reinforced steel and fairly thick glass between you. This alone may not ensure your safety, but it will act as a good deterrent .
If the other driver begins to follow you, do not drive to your home or place of work. If you know the location of the local police or fire station, this is your best option.
If you do not know where either of these are, either drive to a busy public location or simply keep driving. The attackers rage may subside enough for them to tire of following you.
Never, under any circumstance, drive to a parking structure or anywhere enclosed. This will put you at a major disadvantage and make it that much easier for the attacker to cause damage to you.
Immediately dial 911 to report the road rage incident. Remember when speaking to police dispatch, tell them all you can about the vehicle and the driver. Also request to stay on the phone until the officers arrive, especially if you fear that the other driver may attempt something drastic.
I have a few issues with this tip, simply because in my situation, the police refused to help stating that I needed to follow the other driver and stay on the phone with them until they were able to get him. My priority was getting my wife to safety first, I felt that following the other driver was their job, especially since I provided them with a full description.
Also be aware that calling the police may further enrage some drivers and cause them to take more drastic measures because they believe that “they are going to jail anyway”. If you truly fear for your life, make sure that you are prepared to do whatever it takes to remove yourself from the situation.
When you do call the police, DO NOT embellish the circumstances, this could cause you to get arrested for filing a false police report. After the situation has ended and you’ve calmed down, reexamine the events that took place. Use it as a learning experience and try to figure out what you can do different next time
Do you ever find yourself being the aggressor in a driving situation. You can admit it, I know I have. I wanted to include a few tips below to help you keep calm when driving and avoid becoming the cause of a road rage incident.
Plan for the Unexpected
You are more likely to become stressed when running late.
Allow plenty of time to arrive at your destination without rushing or taking risks. Allot for delays, and map out your route in advance to avoid construction zones when possible.
Drive Rested and Relaxed
Driving while tired, irritable or short-tempered makes much less tolerant of other drivers and make you much more quick to lash out.
Get plenty of rest and stay calm when behind the wheel. Play soothing music; listen to a comedy show anything else that allows you to take your mind off traffic while still keeping your eyes on the road.
Take deep breaths to keep you centered and in a good mood.
Share the Road, you don’t own it
Every other person on the road has the same goal as you; to arrive at their destination safely and in a timely manner.
Observe posted speed limits, avoid distractions and drive with courtesy and consideration to the welfare and safety of all motorist.
Leave the Left Lane
Drivers who refuse to move out of the left lane to allow fast-moving motorists to pass may be putting themselves at risk. Drivers piling up behind you could become angry and begin tailgating or driving close to your rear.
Tip: Move out of the left lane and into the slower moving traffic, even if you’re doing the posted speed limit and others are breaking the law.
Avoid Eye Contact
Resist stares, glares and dirty looks. The other driver may take any of these as an insult or challenge and respond with more aggression and perilous driving.
Tip: Look straight ahead and focus on your own driving. Think about how you might deal with erratic behavior from the other driver, like physically distancing your vehicle.
Leave The Gestures And Foul Words At Home
Under no circumstance should you make gestures or yell at another motorist, such as giving them the finger, pointing or any other sort of hand signals.
Keep your hands on the wheel and the words to yourself..
Do you have any tips or tricks to help others with road rage or aggressive driving issues? Please feel free to leave a comment below.