If you spend significant time driving for leisure or work purposes, you have likely witnessed or experienced road rage in some form. Road rage typically involves yelling, cursing, gestures and tailgating due to losing one’s temper during driving. In extreme cases, it can result in confronting another driver, physical violence and motor vehicle accidents. Learning how to stay calm and de-escalate aggressive driving can help stop violence and accidents from occurring.

1. Acknowledge your anger

The most important thing to do is recognize the first warning signs that can escalate into road rage. Mentally checking yourself is the primary step to preventing anything worse from happening. Stay aware of red flags such as angry thoughts, an elevated heart rate and muscle tension. By catching your anger as it first emerges, it’s easier to prevent aggressive driving and road rage.

2. Avoid retaliation

While you can take proactive steps to drive carefully and prevent your emotions from getting out of hand, you cannot predict or control what other people on the road do. Other drivers may be inconsiderate or deliberately aggressive. If someone drives too slowly or cuts you off, your first instinct may be to swear, yell or honk your horn. This could result in aggravating the other driver and cause the situation to spiral out of control. Avoid retaliating against these drivers, no matter how tempting it can be.

3. Take the high road

When you are upset by another driver, it is tempting to make the situation worse through retaliation. Instead you should take responsibility for your actions and do what you can to defuse the situation. Here are some ideas of what to do instead:

  • Pull over into a safe location such as a parking lot.
  • Take deep breaths.
  • Consider the consequences of acting on your anger.
  • Remember you control your own thoughts and actions.

By remaining calm, you can avoid accidents and legal repercussions.

4. The consequences

Sometimes the best deterrent to giving in to road rage is understanding what it can cause. Road rage can result in a number of negative consequences:

  • Criminal offense charges
  • Vehicle damages
  • Physical injuries
  • Death

No one wants to be involved in causing vehicle damage or personal injury. Aggressive driving is one of the main culprits of these incidents. If you ever find yourself in a car accident or injured due to road rage, you should contact a lawyer who is experienced in these types of cases. Legal representation can be crucial at this time.

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