Among the many complexities of driving that new drivers have to deal with, road rage is probably the most difficult. Driving safety relies on everyone following traffic rules to a T. However, we’re all still human, and small mistakes can be made sometimes.
However, every driver experiences a moment in their life where a silly harmless error led to retaliation by other drivers in the form of aggressive road behavior. Road rage can look like aggressive speeding or cutting off or even screaming obscenities. The key here is to keep calm and de-escalate the situation.
Why Road Rage Is The Worst
Road rage is one of the most unethical behaviors on the road. The reason is simple: Part of a driver’s education is the skill of being in control of their emotions and concentrating on safe driving. When drivers let their feelings take over, they’re officially not capable of making safe driving decisions anymore.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) official figures show a 500% increase in aggressive driving-related car fatalities over ten years. Aggressive behaviors on the road include the following:
- Ramming another vehicle on purpose
- Exiting the vehicle to confront the other driver
- Cutting off another vehicle
- Blocking lanes from other vehicles
- Making rude gestures
- Honking repeatedly and loudly
- Yelling and intimidating other drivers
- Tailgating on purpose
The Psychology of Road Rage
However, road rage is a lot more complicated than just feeling anger and losing your cool. Professional psychologists have analyzed road rage, and the polls are in. Road rage can be characterized as normal human aggression at being mistreated in an enclosed space, i.e., the road.
Experts have compared it to the annoyance of being in an overcrowded grocery line. However, the critical difference between the two is that similar in-person stress gets deflated due to the obvious humanness of the offending characters. When people act rashly due to road rage, they don’t often fully comprehend that there is a real human in the other vehicle.
How To Handle Red Fury
For new drivers, there are two aspects to dealing with road rage. The first is if you feel white-hot rage because someone’s going 20 in a 40 or cut you off in your lane rashly. Keep your cool and breathe through it. Sometimes it helps to acknowledge your anger and insult the other driver in your car. However, always remember that the other vehicle has a real human being in it.
On the other hand, you could be a victim of other people’s road rage. The best way to de-escalate a situation like this is to get away from the driver. Whether that means slowing down, changing lanes, or driving away from that area, act on it quickly. Some road raging drivers can get physically dangerous, so never pull over or go near their car!
Get equipped to deal with road rage by supplementing your driving school classes with online defensive driving classes in Houston, Conroe, and The Woodlands, TX! Our premier online driving school classes can keep you safe in a tough situation like this!