Reacting To Road Rage: Are you happy behind the wheel of your car? Do you move along happily with the general flow of traffic, taking your time and enjoying the journey? Or, do you drive angry, shout at people who are in your way and weave your way in and out of traffic so that you get to your destination faster? Some people do naturally drive more aggressively than others, but when does this aggressive driving cross the line and become road rage?
If you have never experienced aggressive driving I suggest that you spend some time as a passenger travelling in a car in and round the centre of London. It is enough to have you gripping onto the sides of your seat with fear. But looking at the traffic, aggressive driving in this situation is somewhat understandable; if drivers didn’t force themselves into the flow of traffic they wouldn’t get anywhere.
Aggressive or Defensive?
When you are on the road with an aggressive driver so close behind you that you fear he could climb into the back seat at any moment, do you change the way that you drive? Do you start to drive more aggressively in response to his behaviour, speeding up and staying ahead, or simply refusing to let him pass, increasing his frustration? Or do you move out of the way as soon as you can so that he can pass you by and go and frighten someone else up ahead? What many drivers fail to understand is that the way they drive their cars affects other people.
People change the way that they drive in response to another road user – occasionally drivers will purposefully slow down when they are being tailgated by another car, hoping to teach the speed demon behind them a lesson. Sadly all this does is add fuel to the fire and the tailgater responds by making more dangerous manoeuvres in order to get past. Something happens to people once they get behind the wheel of the car – they change from mild mannered and polite individuals into snarling beasts who want to eat up the road and force everything out of their way.
It is easy to make a gesture or shout an insult at someone who has hampered your journey, but you need to be careful. There have been instances when an aggrieved party has followed a driver to their destination and confronted them when outside of the vehicle. Violence has been the end result. People have even died through acts of violent road rage as attacks have taken place by the side of the road when the drivers have stopped to have words.
If you do happen to get involved in an altercation with another driver while on the road unless there has been an accident involving your vehicle, do not stop. Drive to the nearest police station and inform them of what has taken place, pass on the make and license number of the other driver’s car if you can. The aggressor is unlikely to follow you there and once rested and calm you will be free to continue your journey.
Mark Adamson is a renowned author on all things automotive related – he regularly visits Reg Plates for all the latest industry information. Share your view on “Reacting To Road Rage: How To Deal With It” in the comment section below.