The UK based Institute of Advanced Motorists has issued a helpful guide on how to avoid “Road Rage”. The advice is equally valid anywhere, and is something all drivers should be aware of.
As a driver, experiencing someone else’s road rage is something that scares many. With the correct frame of mind and a bit of planning, you can easily avoid this unpleasant situation from ever happening to you.
In this week’s driving tips IAM head of driving standards Peter Rodger talks about how to avoid becoming a road rage victim, and what to do if it does escalate.
The first point is that with any conflict between two parties, both are likely to have played a part. So try to take yourself away from the problem – let the other driver go on ahead. You might feel wronged, but letting the other party go will make no difference to the rest of your day.
If someone is being confrontational or aggressive, don’t make eye contact and don’t react visibly. And in your own mind, try to think about a different subject as quick as you can, so that the incident doesn’t affect you afterwards.
If the conflict is more serious and other processes aren’t working; call the police, especially if you feel there is a threat or possibility of violence against you.
As mentioned earlier, a sure way of remaining calm in this situation is to put this incident in the context of your day. How big a part is this compared to your other activities?
You might feel frustrated, but letting it go is the best course of action.
If the other party approaches you in your car, can you drive away safely? If you can, consider doing so. But don’t rush off and drive like the getaway driver in a film, or drive off if you think the other driver is going to chase you.
If you or better, your passengers, can film any behaviour on your mobile phone it will help in terms of evidence, including the registration number of the other vehicle involved. Don’t open your door, don’t open your windows fully and don’t start or get provoked into an argument.
If you were at fault, admit it and apologise. It may be enough to diffuse the situation quickly. And do not do anything that can be interpreted as retaliation. Even if you weren’t at fault is the argument really worth it?
Hopefully by now the matter is over and you are driving away. Do acknowledge that this incident will have affected your behaviour. If you feel upset or emotional pull over and get some fresh air or walk around if you need to before resuming your journey.
Again find some distraction, like listening to the radio – move your mind deliberately onto something else – deliberately driving well would be a good example – but don’t dwell on the incident.
Peter said: “Road rage does not affect everyone every day. If you’re finding it is happening very often, you might want to think about how you engage with other road users.
“Unlike pedestrians walking towards each other; who can easily get a feel of what the other person will do, where they might go or the mood they’re in, you have no such opportunities cocooned in your car.
“So it is important not to be antagonistic or obstructive, perhaps making a person already having a bad day boil over.”
He concluded: “No-one need experience road rage, but it us up to each of us to ensure it stays that way.”