Putting the Brakes on Road RageLast Updated September 19, 2016
America’s love affair with the automobile has never suffered for media coverage. It’s been anything but a storybook romance. Every day, the highways and backroads of the USA are the setting of intense clashes between drivers. It’s part of the reason traveling America’s roads is considered our most dangerous form of transport.
If you’ve spent more than a few days with a valid US driver’s license, it’s likely you’ve seen road rage – or even demonstrated it yourself.
Most of the time, we witness erratic driving or violent gestures from a distance and thankfully nothing comes of it.
Road rage isn’t going away. At the moment, we’re seeing upwards of 250 fatalities per year attributed solely to aggressive driving. The first step in reversing this trend is understanding it. The infographic below details what happens when irresponsible acts take place on the road.
[click the infographic below]
Recognize the Top Offenders
Males under the age of 19 exhibit road rage more than any other demographic. This is a warning sign for parents. Make sure you prepare your child — male or female — to deal with the stressors of driving on public roads. An educated, calm driver is less likely to engage in activities that might endanger other motorists.
Learn to React Positively
Even if young males are most often the offenders, 50% of people polled admitted to reacting in some way when a person they were driving next to pulled a bad move. Remember that you make mistakes too, and choosing to react without thinking will have implications on all of the drivers around you at the very least. Keep a cool head and you’ll be glad you did.
Weaving and cutting through traffic and speeding are the two most common erratic behaviors we see, accounting for nearly 40% of all road rage incidents. Remember the old racing adage “to finish first, you must first finish.” There’s no sense rushing to get somewhere if the result lands you with a ticket — or worse, in the hospital. Keep the racing for on a track.
Beware of Fridays
Not surprisingly, Friday is the day of the week with the highest number of road rage incidents reported. Combine a stressful week with the freedom of the open road, and then replace that freedom with thousands of other frustrated drivers, and you have a recipe for disaster. Why not start your day a little early? It might help you make a break for it when quitting time comes.
Learn That Body Language Matters
When we’re driving, our powers of communication are vastly diminished. This can have a surreal effect, making us believe we’re protected inside our vehicles. Inappropriate gestures are often the only form of communication involved in a road rage situation.
Simply making eye contact can remind a fellow driver that it’s a person they’re swerving around next to. If attempts at communication fail, remain focused on driving and locate to a safe place to pull over.
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