Road Rage Victim – Not Me!
I glance in my mirror and there he is again. Criss-crossing three lanes behind me, swerving ever closer; he honks at an old lady in a 1998 Toyota – she’s moving too slowly, and he whizzes by in a blur of red.
You’ve seen him too, haven’t you?
Once upon a time, this type of behavior would drive me crazy – the tailgating, the obscene gestures, and the aggressive driving. Now I recognize it for what it is: Road Rage. It’s a term coined in 1988 and refers to a motorist’s extreme anger in response to a perceived slight or interference by other drivers.
The Mentality of a Road Rager
Getting behind the wheel of a vehicle can be stressful for some people. There are so many variables that are unpredictable: weather, traffic, accidents, and road work. And let’s not forget the person driving too slowly, or too fast. A potential Road Rager can become irrational and stressed out, concentrating on themselves instead of the collective requirements of driving on a highway.
Avoiding Road Rage
There are some strategies all motorists must take to avoid succumbing to road rage, and to avoid becoming the victim of road rage:
- Show no physical reaction to a Road Rager’s aggressive behavior. Avoid eye contact as it might invite a reaction. Never underestimate another driver’s capacity for losing restraint.
- Keep control of your own temper, and do not challenge the aggrieved party. Instead, do your best to leave the scene as soon as you can.
- It is tempting to honk or return rude gestures but refrain from doing so. It will escalate the situation.
- Practice safe driving habits and keep plenty of distance from any car that’s moving erratically.
Should the unthinkable happen and you end up as a participant in a road rage incident, take some deep breaths to calm yourself. Reflect for a moment and think of a few strategies to extricate yourself from the situation. Perhaps an apology is all that is needed to calm the other person down.
Lose a fight, but don’t lose your dignity.