How often have you found yourself behind the wheel, frustrated and yelling at another vehicle?
Too many times to count, I am sure.
Whether it is a faulty move, a lane change without a signal or a driver going 25 mph in a 50 mph zone, we have all endured our fair share of road rage. Unfortunately, sometimes the yelling or the honking goes a step further and results in a car accident or worse.
Although no agency keeps official statistics on road rage events across the country, reports of so-called “aggressive driving” incidents have increased by about 7 percent each year since 1990, according to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.
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The majority of “road rage” individuals tend to be young, uneducated and between 16-26 years old who have a history of crime or violence and have had alcohol or drug problems. Many of these individuals find it extremely difficult to calm down and let go of the situation at hand. However, even if you are not one to engage in road rage, the AAA Foundation provides some helpful tips in keeping your drive a bit less stressful:
- Listen to music or books on tape while you drive.
- Don’t have unreasonable expectations about how long it will take you to get somewhere. Give yourself plenty of time, and try to plan your route to avoid major congestion.
- Consider changing your schedule to avoid the worst traffic.
- Before going somewhere, check to make sure you have water, a window cloth, and sunglasses accessible.
- Don’t get into your car when you are angry or overtired. If you’re upset about something, take a few minutes to wind down before hitting the road.
- If you’re taking a long trip, get out and stretch your legs when you take a break.
- Try to relax and make yourself comfortable when stuck in traffic. Roll down the windows or turn up the air conditioning, unclench your teeth, and breathe deeply. Finally, relax your grip on the steering wheel.
- If it’s out of your control, just resign yourself to being late.
- Use public transportation! If it’s available where you live, why not relax and read a book on the bus, train, or streetcar instead of fighting traffic?
For those individuals who want to avoid being a victim of road rage, the AAA foundation has also listed tips for keeping safe:
- Make every attempt to get out of the way of an aggressive driver.
- Put your pride in the back seat. Do not challenge drivers by speeding up or trying to prevent them from getting in your lane.
- Wear your seat belt.
- Avoid eye contact. Eye contact can sometimes enrage an aggressive driver.
- Ignore obscene gestures from other drivers, and never respond in kind. According to the AAA Foundation, “Obscene gestures have gotten people shot, stabbed, or beaten in every state.”
- Use your horn sparingly. Stressed-out motorists are often sent over the edge by a supposedly rude honk.
- Report aggressive drivers to the police or highway patrol.
- If an aggressive driver gets in an accident, stop at a safe distance from the scene, wait for police, and report the driving behavior that you witnessed.
- If you’re pursued by an angry motorist, never go home — drive to a police station or another place where you can get help.
This topic is extremely important, as far too often we have heard, seen or been a part of a road rage event. Recently, this alleged road rage incident in Gainsville, GA claimed the lives of two adults. After reading this story, we can only hope the family of this young woman receives justice for such a tragic event.
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The next time you are behind the wheel, take a moment before reacting irrationally to other drivers. We may not be able to control others, but we have the ability to control our reaction to them. If you or someone you know has been injured or has lost their life due to road rage, call Kaine Law now at 888-KAINE-LAW (888-524-6352) or visit at www.atlantaautoaccidentlaw.com.
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