We’ve probably all been guilty of it at times. Reckless, irresponsible or just downright bad driving can leave us feeling pretty agitated behind the wheel. But as we gain more experience on the roads, it becomes easier to anticipate the actions of other drivers, and we will start to develop our own strategies to stay calm in what can be some very stressful situations.
It’s one thing dealing with our own emotions, but how can we deal with fits of road rage in other drivers? Whilst it’s not your responsibility to dictate the actions of others, it’s important to know how you can best handle a tricky situation in which another driver is clearly upset, be it with you, or someone else. In this post, we’ll highlight three ways you can help prevent the actions of other road users from affecting your ability to stay safe behind the wheel.
Stay calm and don’t react
While this particular advice may be easier said than done, trying your best to remain calm is one of the most important things you can do in a particularly stressful situation on the roads. Whether you’ve been involved in a crash, or are noticing another driver is becoming visibly agitated, reacting in an aggressive or irresponsible way is only likely to exacerbate the issue. What’s more, you never know how another individual might react to your words or actions, so it’s best to remain calm as best you can.
When you’re faced with an angry driver whilst moving along, it’s just as important to keep your cool as it is when an accident has occurred. Should you start to mirror their behaviour and become distressed yourself, this is more likely to lead to mistakes, which could result in a serious accident. Avoid getting caught up in the situation, and try your level best to continue driving responsibly.
Avoid the situation
Another way to handle road rage in other drivers is to simply avoid the situation altogether. We’re not talking about walking away from a crash, but if for example a car is driving dangerously close behind you, find a safe place to pull over, and allow them to pass before going on your way.
Even if you think you can alleviate the problem by changing the way you’re driving, the best way to handle it is to simply remove yourself from the problem. For instance, you might be tempted to tap on your brakes to try and force the driver behind you to slow down and create some distance. But brake checking is a dangerous practice, and getting embroiled in the situation could only lead to more serious consequences, particularly if the other driver is already visibly upset.
Try not to let it affect your driving
Continuing on from the last point, it’s vital that you try not to dwell on it, and carry on driving safely. We will all have experienced an intimidating situation on the roads, and it’s easy to let it fester for the duration of the journey – and even for a long time after. Whether you’ve been beeped at or perhaps shouted at by another driver, stewing on it can distract you and affect your ability to drive safely. Take some deep breaths and focus on the road in front of you, to help you remain calm and focussed for the rest of the journey.
Keep calm and carry on
Dealing with road rage is an unavoidable aspect of driving. In fact, almost a third of drivers have experienced a face-to-face confrontation with another driver. Being aware of how to cope with the actions of other drivers is an essential part of staying safe. Stay calm, don’t be influenced by other drivers or even passengers, and you’ll be helping to keep yourself and everyone else out of harm’s way.