Taking your road rage off road

Road rage is a popular discussion point within the Starts at 60 community, and we have even discussed a cure for it. However, it still happens. A lot. It’s easy to understand road rage a lot of the time you are in the car. We’ve all seen the people that weave in and out of traffic seemingly without a care, cutting people off, only to pull up next to them at the next lights. Most of the time it’s easy to resist the urge to let them know in sign language that you think they “number one” but other times the rage boils over and can make things worse than they need to be.

On many occasions, the news is full of videos of people “reaching their limit” with other drivers and taking action. Almost all of these videos end badly for someone. While it’s understandable to be upset in the heat of the moment is a traffic digression a reason for a potential court case or insurance claim?

Experts define road rage as “any aggressive and intentional behaviour while driving including: rude gestures, insults, threats, tailgating, suddenly braking, cutting off, flashing lights/excessive horn use, following another driver, throwing things at a driver/car, getting out of the car to confront another person, or damage caused to another person or car.”

These extreme emotions tend to send people into an uncontrollable rage that can lead them to do drastic things. While, at the time, your irrational brain might tell you this needs to happen, your later rational mind will agree with most that this it was a bad idea.

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Just like putting the phone on silent or in the glove box so that you are not tempted to use it while driving there are some things that you can remind yourself if you are prone to road rage.

Don’t get out of the car
Getting out of the car is the biggest sign of aggression and can only lead to a bad situation getting worse. While you might be 100% right to confront the other drive the only thing this is going to do is make them defensive and careless. It could also hold up traffic and cause others to get rightfully mad at you.

No need to get even
While the idea of being judge and jury in the situation might feel right, you should never try to extract a punishment or revenge. If someone cuts you off, there is no need to cut them off in return. All it’s going to do is escalate the behaviour and possibly cause an accident.

Just let it pass
Shake your head, mutter something about your suspicion of their intelligence level under your breath but stay calm. If someone’s boneheaded move on the road hasn’t caused an accident, then it’s best to let it go. If you need to, pull over until the rage passes.

Safety has to be your number one concern when behind the wheel. You cannot control what other people do on the road, but you are in full control of what you do. Mistakes happen on the road, but it’s how you deal with them that either keeps you in control or as the possibly the next viral video star we’ll see on the news.