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How to Avoid Road Rage and What to Do If You’re a Victim

Published on: 09 March 2015

Most of us have experienced it – the blaring of a hooter that goes on for a bit too long, the angry curse of someone as they drive past you, the absolute frustration and white knuckles clenching onto your steering wheel as you mutter a string of obscene words that you wish the other driver could hear.

Road rage. We’ve either been responsible for it or have been a victim of it. It can be mild in some instances; when it’s a simple war of ‘who can hoot the longest’ or an inappropriate hand gesture stuck out of the window paired with a glaring facial expression. However, there are times when road rage can become dangerous. It can cause accidents, injuries and, in some instances, it can claim lives. The problem with road rage doesn’t necessarily lie in the vile speech and hateful actions; it’s the aggressive driving that ensues. So, why do people succumb to road rage? It’s because they are able to dehumanise people in motor vehicles.

How can you avoid road rage and becoming a road rage victim?

  1. Be a considerate driver. This means adhering to all of the rules of the road. You’re in a hurry? So is everyone else. It doesn’t mean that you can cut people off, blare your hooter or disobey the law. By driving carefully and sticking to the rules of the road, you are less likely to aggravate other drivers.
  2. Be patient with other drivers. No one is perfect and everyone is likely to make mistakes from time to time. Although you may want to flip off the ungrateful driver who you allowed in in traffic and who didn’t say thank you, sometimes it is better to just turn the other cheek and be the better person. All that it takes is one retort to a particularly aggressive driver and the situation could explode.
  3. Never make eye contact with an irate driver. The key is not to provoke someone, and sometimes making eye contact is all an angry driver needs to explode.
  4. No one needs to be taught a lesson. Tailgating, weaving in and out of traffic – these are all criminal offences and you should avoid doing them. Call the police if it is being done to you.
  5. If someone is hooting at you, swerving around and tailgating you, do not pull over and engage with them. Rather drive to the nearest police station where you can deal with the issue then (if they follow you).

It is not worth getting into trouble on the road. People can be volatile and you never know what could happen if you get out of your vehicle or engage in a face-to-face argument with someone. If you find that you are in an aggressive driving situation, take down the other driver’s license plate number and contact the police. Whatever you do, don’t react. Your motor insurance  company won’t be too happy if you are submitting a claim that is a result of negligent and aggressive driving. Be safe out there!

For more information on how to be a responsible car owner check out the MiWay e-Book, A Dummy's Guide to Owning a Car.