Road rage is becoming a huge problem out on the road. If you can learn how to deal with your road rage, you can significantly reduce your risk for accidents and dangerous situations that follow an incident involving road rage.

Steer Clear of Aggressive Drivers

It’s important to know that you can’t control how other drivers act on the road; however, you have control over your own. If someone cuts you off, your next action determines the outcome of the situation. If you can quickly calm yourself and take some deep breaths to remain calm, you can avoid a violent confrontation.

It’s true that venting about things bothering you can help to relieve stress. Venting to someone you know about an aggressive driver giving you a hard time out on the road will likely make you feel a bit better as long as you do it right.

Discuss what happened with someone you trust as this can greatly help in releasing any pent up anger. There are even some driving clubs or online forums where you can to discuss the anger you experience on the road.

Know Your Driving Style

Is it possible that you are the aggressive driver? It may be a good idea to take a look at your own driving behaviors to see if you are more prone to road rage than others. If you are an aggressive driver, you might:

  • Tailgate
  • Honk your horn often
  • Flash your headlights
  • Abruptly change lanes often
  • Make gestures to other drivers
  • Use your cell phone

Making a change to your driving behaviors is pretty difficult. You’ll have to study and safe driving tactics and put them into practice. It may be a good idea to enroll in a driver’s education course or even a personalized training course.

If it’s not you that’s driving aggressively, it’s someone else starting problems. Someone else may be tailgating you, hogging your lane, flashing headlights at you, or unevenly accelerating. If this has happened to you, you may have experienced the phenomenon of road rage.

If you’re the one driving aggressively, and you happened to avoid all confrontation, consider yourself lucky. You likely won’t get so lucky forever, so now is the best time to start changing your driving habits.

You are using the road with plenty of other people, so it is imperative that you realize people have obligations that they need to be on time for. Therefore, driving under the speed limit is not being considerate, and if you really need to drive under the limit, you can pull over to let other people pass you.

Medical Implications for Road Rage

So how come some people get all worked up while driving and others can just brush it off like it’s nothing? Many doctors have theorized that there’s a medical reason for road rage. The National Institute of Health sponsored a study to have a look at what causes road rage in certain drivers.

In the almost 10,000 people who were part of the study, 5-7% of them had behavior that could be classified as road rage. Something called Intermittent Explosive Disorder (IED) was deemed the cause of the road rage of those people.

In the past, getting upset on the road was just seen as someone getting unnecessarily angry, but now it can be diagnosed as early as the teens. Those who are diagnosed demonstrate outbursts that are way overblown as compared to the severity of what happened. In many cases, there is injury or property damage.

In any case, whether you believe road rage has a medical basis or not, it’s important you learn how to deal with it. You never know how much a situation can escalate, so it’s best to avoid these situations whenever possible. If you’re the instigator, spend some time learning more defensive driving habits.

For those of us who play both sides of the field from time to time, try to work on your defensive driving technique and pay attention to the possibility of dangerous situations.

If you want to know more about the road rage study from above, check out the NIH.