All it takes is one person in traffic to ruin your mood and day, amping up your road rage.
They could have cut you off, not used their turn signal, or made an inappropriate hand gesture to you, and you’ll go from 0 to rage monster in 1.7 seconds.
We’ve all been there, and it’s typically not a pretty sight. So how does road rage affect your driving skills and judgment?
Let’s take a look!
What Is Road Rage?
Road rage is a mixture of anger, frustration, and stress while driving. It often manifests itself in explosive outbursts and other violent behavior. This can be through reckless driving, obscene gestures, and foul language.
The term was first used in 1987 by Los Angeles newscasters with KTLA. Several shootings occurred on the highway, and people lost their lives. The wild west was proving to still be a bit rough, especially on the roads.
How Does Road Rage Affect Your Driving Skill?
Angry people tend to get tunnel vision. They often set their eyes on the target of their anger and tune out everything else around them. This can be extremely dangerous and even deadly when you’re traveling at a high rate of speed. You may not see a car in your blind spot or an obstacle on the road.
Typically, anger hinders your driving skills. You’ll be more likely to speed and possibly even stop doing some of the fundamentals when it comes to driving safety. When you’re angry, using your turn signal or checking blind spots is likely the last thing on your mind.
Pro Tip: Apart from being overtaken with road rage, these are The Worst RV Mistakes You Can Make.
Does Road Rage Affect Judgment?
We’ve all been angry and said things or acted in a way that we wouldn’t have otherwise, especially when driving. However, our anger can directly affect our judgment while driving. The stress and adrenaline rush causes us to make knee-jerk reactions in the heat of the moment. Whether it’s following too closely, exceeding the speed limit, or other erratic driving behavior, they’re all behaviors we likely wouldn’t make under normal circumstances.
When we let our emotions get the best of us, our judgment is severely clouded. It’s substantially more challenging to make good decisions, which can potentially put your life and the lives of others on the road at risk.
How Do I Avoid Becoming An Aggressive Driver?
If you want to avoid becoming an aggressive driver, it’s a good idea to avoid becoming the target of other drivers. Blocking passing or turning lanes, tailgating, and disrupting traffic flow are common reasons for upsetting other drivers.
Drivers are more likely to express their frustrations to you through a bit of road rage if you’re not a courteous driver.
Ultimately, you’re in control of yourself. Just because someone else is behaving a certain way doesn’t mean you have to as well. You probably heard the popular phrase, “Two wrongs don’t make a right.” It’s very fitting when it comes to aggressive driving!
What Do I Do When An Aggressive Driver Confronts Me?
If an aggressive driver confronts you, keep your windows up and doors locked. It’s a good idea to keep two car lengths between you and the car in front of you, even at traffic lights. Doing so can help ensure there’s plenty of space for you to maneuver around the vehicle in front of you and get to a safe location.
If you’re unable to escape the situation, call 911 and report an emergency. Don’t engage with the aggressive driver. You don’t want the situation to escalate or get out of control.
Be sure to take note of the driver’s license plate information and any details that might be helpful to law enforcement. It is also good to record the encounter with a cell phone or video camera.
Tips for Defensive Driving
While you can only do so much to avoid aggressive drivers, we have a few defensive driving tips you should practice to avoid road rages incidents.
Allow Yourself Space
The New York State DMV states that 40% of crashes occur due to a driver following too closely. A good rule of thumb is to keep two seconds between you and the car in front of you. Simply count the amount of time between when the car in front of you passes an object and when you pass it. Anything less than two seconds is dangerous and too close.
Some people don’t like to respect your personal space, even when driving. If a driver is following you too closely, change lanes as soon as it’s safely possible. Don’t forget to use your turn signal before changing lanes to avoid further issues.
Stay At Or Below The Speed Limit
By staying at or slightly below the speed limit, you’re not likely going to hold up traffic or draw attention to yourself. This allows you to safely operate your vehicle and respond as necessary to the constantly changing traffic conditions.
It’s essential to keep an eye on the speed limit too. These are constantly changing, and if cars are flying by you, there’s a good chance the speed limit jumped up a few miles per hour, and you didn’t notice.
Be Prepared and Look Ahead
Another great way to be a defensive driver is to look ahead and anticipate moves by other drivers. This is why it’s important always to use your turn signals as it helps other drivers who are looking ahead to prepare.
Keeping your distance and driving the speed limit also give you time to prepare while driving. Cars in traffic are often constantly changing lanes. Being prepared allows you to be in the correct lane to get to where you’re going far enough in advance to avoid road rage.
Keep Free of Distractions
The CDC estimates that over 2,800 people die each year in accidents due to distracted driving. Whether it’s your cell phone or the radio, it’s important to keep your focus on driving. Don’t allow yourself to be distracted, as it will greatly impact your driving skills and judgment. Law enforcement could even issue you a ticket!
Pro Tip: Be prepared for any type of drivers by taking an RV driving class. Discover more about What Is RV Driving School?
Keep a Handle on Road Rage
Road rage isn’t something to take lightly. Whether it’s yours or another driver on the road, it can create a dangerous condition for everyone. Make sure you keep your emotions in check while driving and look for alternative ways to get out any frustrations you may have while driving. Doing so can help you avoid a serious situation.
Have you ever had a road rage encounter? Drop a comment below!
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Installing a camera(s) within the RV capable of documenting instances of unsafe driving displayed by other drivers is a good way to provide peace of mind. Such a camera provided a Utah state trooper the incentive to pursue a potentially enraged driver on US 6 outside of Helper Utah last summer.
Several miles later just past Price Utah, the driver was stopped by the trooper.