It’s no secret that driving in Glendale can be extremely nerve-wracking. It’s not an uncommon occurrence to face gridlocked traffic on streets with lines of cars that never seem to move. Occasionally, you may encounter tailgaters or impatient drivers weaving in and out of traffic and changing lanes without warning. When this happens, your driving-related stress levels may spike with an increased risk of losing your cool.
You’re not alone if you’ve ever experienced road rage. In fact, 80% of all drivers admit to experiencing significant anger or aggression at least once a year while behind the wheel. Nevertheless, an overwhelming majority doesn’t make road rage acceptable. It’s a dangerous phenomenon that increases the risk of accidents and accident fatalities.
According to a study conducted by the Washington Post, 32% of drivers consider aggressive driving to be the number one threat to road safety, and their opinions are warranted. A total of 12,610 injuries and 218 murders have been attributed to road rage over a seven-year period in the United States. Learning to avoid road rage is not only good for your health but will also help to protect your life and the lives of those around you.
Aggressive Driving Behaviors
Road rage is exhibited in the form of aggressive driving behaviors. Aggressive driving entails any act performed behind the wheel with ill intentions and a disregard for road safety. Common aggressive driving behaviors include:
- Improper passing
- Improper turning
- Failure to obey traffic signals or signs
- Failure to yield the right of way
- Careless, erratic, or reckless driving
- Using headlights or brakes to “punish” drivers
Contributing Factors of Road Rage
In order to address road rage and aggressive driving, it’s important to first understand why it occurs. There are a number of factors that could contribute to aggression while driving. Often, an individual’s driving etiquette (or lack thereof) is dictated by a combination of internal and external factors. Factors that contribute to road rage include:
- Traffic delays
- Tight schedules or a sense of urgency to get to a destination
- Disregard for others and the law
- Outside stress
- The use of alcohol or drugs
While many psychological factors can be difficult to control, there are a number of things you can do to avoid road rage.
Ways to Keep Your Cool While Driving
To avoid letting your emotions boil over, it’s a good idea to find ways to calm your own turbulent feelings. When you are in deadlocked traffic, focusing on your frustration is only going to make you feel worse. Feelings of simple annoyance can turn into anger and rage without warning.
Distract yourself from irritability, anger, and other negative emotions by listening to your favorite music or audiobooks. See if you can calm yourself by focusing on your breathing, taking deep breaths in and out. Try focusing on something positive, such as a vacation you are looking forward to rather than dwelling on how angry you feel. Try to enjoy looking at the sky, clouds or other scenery.
When you are starting to feel mad at another driver, try to put yourself in the other driver’s shoes. Just like you, they have life stressors that they have to face and they have somewhere that they have to be. You are both having difficulty getting where you are trying to go. Don’t treat them like they are your enemy.
Avoid Aggravating Other Drivers
Not only do you have to keep a lid on your own emotions, you also have to take care to avoid doing anything that might trigger road rage in other drivers. If someone is tailgating you, move out of their way if you can.
Even if you think another driver has done something wrong, don’t use your horn or gesture at them in a way that lets them know you are angry. Avoid making eye contact with another driver that you know is starting to get irritated or angry. There is no benefit to expressing anger to another driver when you are both in a situation out of your control.
There is always the possibility that if you voice your anger and annoyance at another driver, they may respond with acts of violence. They could be carrying a firearm and impulsively use it, or they could deliberately damage your vehicle. It is not worth it to pick a fight with a stranger over frustration caused by traffic or road conditions. There is no way to know what the possible outcome of an incident of road rage may be.
When Road Rage Causes Injury
Road rage sometimes leads to violent, aggressive, or reckless driving that can ultimately cause a wreck. If you have been injured in an accident caused by the negligence or aggression of another driver, it’s important to obtain legal advice. Contact Megeredchian Law using the form on this page. One of our lawyers will get back to you very soon to discuss what happened and how we can help.