Anything from a slow driver to traffic can be a source of frustration when driving. However, being the target of an aggressive driver is not only a stressful but dangerous situation. Road rage drivers are unpredictable and may completely disregard other people’s safety.
Aggressive driving or road rage are the violent and negative behaviors a driver may exhibit under stress or frustration. Road rage can involve yelling offensive words, displaying rude hand gestures, repeatedly honking, overtaking or tailgating to intimidate the target or show annoyance. It can quickly escalate into altercations or accidents that may result in injuries or fatalities.
Why road rage incidents are increasing
Several factors can contribute to aggressive driving. It could stem from improper driving behaviors learned from parents, peers or the media. Research also shows that the sense of anonymity a car provides could embolden a driver to act rudely or violently. Road rage may sometimes result from frustration caused by heavy traffic or upsetting situations, such as a fight with a spouse or trouble at work.
In just this year alone, over 90% of drivers saw instances of road rage firsthand. What is even more concerning is that a significant number of drivers respond to aggressive driving with similar negative behavior.
The rise in fatalities and accidents resulting from road rage highlights the importance of practicing safe driving habits.
The importance of not getting even
When facing a threatening individual like an angry driver, it’s best to keep your emotions in check. While it is tempting to respond with similar disrespect, keep in mind that seeking revenge does not always lead to a good outcome.
Instead, remove yourself from the situation and keep a safe distance from the aggressive driver. Do not engage. If they are relentless, avoid stopping if possible and pull over into the nearest police station.
In extreme cases, an aggressive driver might resort to gun violence or follow you to your destination. Short moments of retaliation or getting even are not worth risking your life. When behind the wheel, it’s crucial to prioritize your safety and not take the actions of an angry driver personally.