How to handle road rage and the road rager

We would like to think that “road rage” is something that happens—something that we, of course, never cause and something that only affects hot heads on the road. However, in 2005, a young mother of two innocently pulled her car into south Florida traffic (apparently much too slowly for the driver behind her).  According to eyewitnesses, the raging driver passed her, moved into the lane in front of her, and tapped the brakes in disapproval.  She swerved off the road, and lost her life, for simply driving slower than an impatient driver found to be acceptable.

We tend to think of road rage as somewhat benign and even humorous at times, however, a seven year study reports that over 200 deaths have taken place at the hands of road rage.   Clearly, the behavior, the act, and the consequences are far from funny.

Road rage is defined as “frustration manifested in actions including tailing slower drivers, obscene gestures, and other actions that may lead to an accident.”  Most drivers have fallen into this trap in one way or another and, unfortunately, it’s all too easy to ignore the consequences of such actions when under the influence of anger. Approximately 1,500 motorists are injured or killed in road rage related accidents every year, so it’s no surprise that having a road rage infraction on your driving record can substantially increase your insurance premium.  The following four tips can not only help you keep your cool on the road (and save you money), but they might also save your life.

Don’t rush

The leading cause of road rage is when a driver is obstructing the route of other drivers.  While the slow or careless driver causing the blockage might very well be at fault, if you’re running behind, it’s much more likely for your impatience with that driver to boil into a confrontation.

No matter the situation, it’s always important to remain calm and to remember that diving is an all-encompassing action that requires full-on attention. Frustration and outside distractions or annoyances could quickly escalate into an accident that is irreversible—take a deep breath, and try our best to enjoy the ride.

Angry drivers are like wild animals

If another driver behaves aggressively toward you, resist the urge to engage.  If they’re tailgating, pull over and allow them to safely pass.  Always give raging drivers plenty of space and let them go on about their way.  In the same way eye contact should be avoided if you encounter a nasty tempered dog, it’s best to do the same with an agitated driver; eye contact could be interpreted as a sign that you’re ready to fight back. Remember, your eyes belong on the road, so keep them there!

Keep things in perspective

It’s just not worth it.  If you’re lucky, succumbing to road rage will only distract you from your day; if you’re not-so-lucky, you might end up in a situation where you find yourself and others in a bout of trouble (with an insurance company, with the legal system, or worse, with your personal wellbeing).

Either way, before you blow your top at a driver, try to remind yourself of the extremely limited role that person plays in your life, and whether or not those 10 seconds of imposition are worth even 15 minutes of your headspace.

Be a conscious driver

We’ve all been behind a car for miles and miles in the passing lane on the freeway, or waited patiently at an intersection while a car approaches, only for them to turn down a street prior to yours without using a turn signal!  We’ve also all perpetrated such acts at one point or another—hopefully unwittingly.

While the inevitable slip up is bound to happen from time to time, treating other drives as you’d like to be treated is likely to keep everyone on the road happy and safe!

What to do when you’re the victim

No matter how courteous your driving skills are, you still might find yourself on the receiving end of road rage violence.  If a raging driver causes an accident, try to gather as much information as possible about the other driver, including eyewitness reports on the event and all insurance information. Of course, call the authorities right away.

Police reports as well as testimonies from those on the scene will help establish fault for your insurer as well as the other driver’s. Yet road rage accidents aren’t always so simple—there might not be witnesses, and an angry driver who’s just caused an accident is unlikely to stick around to see how the dust settles.  With that in mind, it’s never a bad idea to make sure that you’re protected from any and all potential accidents before they take place.

To learn more about your coverage in the event of a road rage related accident, and how to further safeguard yourself from angry drivers, contact the experts at Avante today! We are your insurance experts and cannot wait to hear from you!