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Types of Road Rage and How to Respond

We address 5 effective ways to deal with road rage when it begins to escalate around you.

Aggressive Driving on the Rise

Why is it important to have strategies for dealing with road rage? Studies have found that an increasing percentage of Canadian motorists are found on the receiving end of discourteous behavior. As many as 82% reported to encounter a driver who failed to signal, 73% had been tailgated and 63% hadn’t been allowed to merge into traffic.

With Canada’s urban population on the rise, rush hour traffic jams aren’t expected to go away any time soon – and instances of aggressive or careless driving (cutting off other drivers, speeding, tailgating, talking on cellphones) aren’t either. It’s up to drivers to take responsibility for changing the frustration that comes with being trapped in slow-moving traffic.

5 Strategies for Dealing with Aggression on the Road:

Staying cool behind the wheel means avoiding costly auto insurance premiums, as aggressive driving often leads to accidents. Try on these 5 tips next time you encounter an aggressive driver.

  • Pass on judging other drivers

Unless another driver puts you in danger, don’t focus your thoughts on condemning their driving skills. Doing so will only distract you from the road. Give drivers the benefit of the doubt – it’s not always an inconsiderate driver who makes a mistake, just a momentarily distracted one.

  • Don’t take it personally 

Many who suffer bad cases of road rage tend to see bad driving as a personal insult. Keep in mind that your fellow drivers have their own worries, their own lives, and their agendas have nothing to do with you.

  • Leave traffic enforcement to the police

If someone else’s driving annoys you, don’t try to “educate” the person in any way. Focus on being a good example on the road, rather than trying to teach those around you.

  • Indicate an apology

Don’t underestimate the power of an apology in curbing drivers’ aggression and reducing the risk of conflict. If you make a mistake while driving, simply indicate that you’re sorry and continue on your way.

  • Stay off the horn 

Avoid honking your horn at other drivers unless you feel it’s absolutely necessary. A light tap on the horn is often sufficient

If you find yourself being antagonized by an angry driver, keep on moving. Don’t pull over and give the driver an open invitation to you or physically harm you. If you’re being followed, go to a busy public place. If you feel very uncomfortable and feel the situation warrants, pull over and make an emergency call.

Avoiding Road Rage

Even if you’re not likely to feel aggression on the road, the following tips can make your trip less stressful and more efficient:

  • Always give yourself plenty of time and plan your route to avoid congestion
  • Consider changing your schedule to avoid traffic
  • Never drive when you’re feeling overtired or upset about something. Take enough time to calm your nerves before you hit the road.
  • If you’re taking a long trip, take frequent breaks to stretch your legs
  • Try to relax and get comfortable when you’re stuck in traffic. Roll down the windows, breathe deeply, and relax your grip on the steering wheel

Many of us do it so often that we can forget that driving is a big responsibility – and it collisions are always a possibility. Following the rules of the road and driving in a safe and controlled way helps make sure that everyone sharing the road makes it to their destination.

Types of Road Rage and How to Respond

Dealing with aggression on the road can make stressful situations – traffic jams, construction, or a collision – even more stressful. What’s the etiquette of responding to aggressive drivers around you without losing your cool?