Everybody has felt some form of frustration or anger at the apparent ineptitude or lack of courtesy of other drivers on the road at some point. You may even get angry every day on your commute to work. Occasionally, however, these normal feelings of frustration can escalate into a potentially deadly case of road rage, in which one driver decides to take it upon themselves to punish the other driver in some way.
If you are faced with an enraged driver who is trying to cut you off, ride your bumper, block you from changing lanes or otherwise making aggressive maneuvers towards you, what can you do to deescalate and survive the situation?
Road rage is on the rise
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration revealed worrying statistics surrounding the rise of road rage-related incidents in recent years. According to the Administration, there has been a 500% increase in fatalities caused by aggressive driving and road rage in the last 10 years.
Kentucky is no exception, where several road rage incidents in the past few years have resulted in fatal shootings.
Most of these fatalities are not the result of an intention to kill. Instead, enraged drivers often take risky maneuvers designed to demonstrate their frustration with the other driver, such as by tailgating them or cutting them off. These maneuvers can result in a potentially devastating accident very easily.
What you should do
If another driver is threatening you, do not take the bait. Avoid responding to their goading, and avoid escalating the conflict. Give them ample opportunity to pass you by unchallenged.
Avoid making eye contact with them if possible. Even if they are yelling or making obscene gestures, just ignore them and focus on driving. If necessary, you can wave to them to show that you are apologizing for any perceived wrong – even if you don’t think that you were at fault – and showing that you do not wish to engage with them.
Road rage takes far too many lives in this state and across the country. Although you cannot control the actions of others, you can do your part to keep your family safe from an avoidable road rage-related accident.