Tips to Avoid Road Rage
Tips to Avoid Road Rage
I’ve written a humorous article on driving before, but this one is a bit more serious. There are some driving etiquettes that not only should be followed, but should be followed for very good reason. It can help reduce your anger as well as the drivers around you. Driving angry can lead to reckless driving, which can then cause accidents. All of this can be completely avoided with a few key tips that all drivers should abide by.
Fast Lane Etiquette
While it’s true that at faster speeds an accident will be more severe, the speed isn’t the cause of the accident, its risky driving led by poor judgments from one or more parties. When driving on the freeway in the fast lane (usually the left), keep in mind that not everyone wants to drive the same speed as you,
Here’s an example of an incident: Driver A is in the fast lane, driving the speed limit at 65 miles per hour. Driver B is in the fast lane, behind Driver A and is driving at 75 miles per hour. Despite posted speed limits, it’s much safer for everyone on the road to follow the flow of traffic. This means that slower vehicles should stay out of the fast lane. Also, keep in mind that faster traffic is supposed to pass on the left, not on the right; but since this is the left lane, there is no lane on the left to pass on. Take a moment and think about whom you indentify with in this situation -- Driver A or Driver B?
If you are Driver A, Driver B is likely to tailgate you, flash his headlights, or just follow closely while getting angry that he cannot get past you. Driver A is exhibiting passive aggressive behavior and should merge into the right lane to let Driver B pass. By holding up Driver B, you are creating a dangerous situation where Driver B may try to quickly pass you and could end up cutting you off or worse, getting into an accident. Driver A is not the police and it his not his job to limit the speed of other drivers.
If you are Driver B, Driver A is most likely making you angry and you are taking it quite personally. If you get upset with this, you could end up tailgating him or trying to pass on the right (which you aren’t supposed to do) quickly, and this increases the likelihood of an accident since you are now driving with emotion, not logic.
Think about it like this: If you are walking on the sidewalk and there was a person walking behind you at a faster pace, would you ever stick your arm out to block them from walking past you and saying, “No, you can’t go faster than me?” No, that is ridiculous. If someone wants to pass you, move over, let them pass, and then get back into the lane you were in and resume the speed you were already comfortably going. This is a win-win situation.
Passive Aggressive or Oblivious?
One exception to this almost perfect resolution is a passive aggressive or possibly oblivious Driver B who may then pace Driver A after he has let Driver B pass him. Whatever the reason, this is something that Driver B should be aware of and not do. Since Driver A was kind enough to move out of the way, Driver B should resume his faster speed so that Driver A may resume his speed and merge back in the left lane if he so wishes.
Often time people forget some basic rules when doing something as simple as merging lanes. Remember a few of these tips:
Always use your blinker! Why agitate other drivers when with a quick flick of the finger, you can let them know your intentions? It’s selfish and rude not to use your blinkers when merging. Other drivers are not mind readers, and to quickly get in front of them without a turn signal on can turn into road rage. You don’t know who the other driver is, so why irritate a stranger for no reason?
Just because you have signaled that you want to turn doesn’t mean you have room to make the merge. Not all drivers immediately make room to let you in. Sometimes in rush hour traffic, it is necessary to bully your way across traffic when you don’t have a lot of choice, but in general, look and make sure it’s clear to merge before merging. When a driver has to slam on his brakes so you can rudely merge in front of him, it can really impact their mood and cause a bit of road rage. One possible reaction may be to tailgate you because they want to show you how angry you made them, and all that will do is increase the odds of an accident.
Another thing to keep in mind while merging on the freeway is to pay attention to the flow of traffic in the lane you are merging into. Even if you have plenty of room, if you are only travelling at a speed of 65 miles per hour and traffic is coming up on you at 75 miles per hour, you are going to slow down an entire lane of traffic, angering one or more people in the process. The outcome could be anywhere from several people getting road rage to a group of cars quickly and dangerously passing you, and quite possibly on the right. Don’t put other drivers in this situation, it’s rude and unnecessary. Take the time to look and make sure that merging to a new lane on the freeway is the right move for you to do. The more you make people use their brakes, the more you are contributing to traffic jams and congestion.
Fixing a Mistake Erratically
Nothing is more frustrating than realizing you missed your turn. Quickly darting across traffic to fix the mistake ASAP is not the smart thing to do. Sure, you have saved yourself some time, but you have quite possibly put other people our and probably upset them when all you had to do was turn around at the next light.
An example of this might be a person who intended to turn left on a particular street, but was in the right lane for too long and didn’t realize they were at their light. So, right before the light, they start attempting to turn left from the right hand lane, bullying their way in front of other cars just to make their turn. I have witnessed this first hand it is extremely frustrating to watch. Especially when the light turns green and everyone must wait for this particular genius to drive all the way across all the lanes and make his turn.
Everyone makes a mistake once in a while. Again, if you miss your turn, just relax and fix it t the next light. You may make yourself a minute or two late, but people won’t be getting angry at your poor driving skills because you’ll be exhibiting good driving skills. Remember, you aren’t the only person trying to get somewhere; and, your mistake shouldn’t have to delay everyone else.
Finally -- Let it Go
It’s improbable that everyone will drive with perfect etiquette all the time. Not all incidents are because of a driver being rude on purpose. While obliviousness is just as bad as purposeful behavior, if you are on the receiving end of any sort of poor driving behaviors, it’s important to keep a cool head and not take it personal (even if it was).
Try not to let little things get to you. Take a deep breath and just let it go. What will you gain by trying to “win” or prove a point? The other driver most likely knows they wronged you and they probably don’t care. It’s unfortunate, but you will also probably never see them again. Finish your route without making the incident bigger and you’ll keep yourself and other drivers around you safe.
I’m not an expert on the subject, just a daily commuter who witnesses (and has even partaken in) poor driving etiquette. I have come to the conclusion that most drivers don’t appreciate their driving speed being unnecessarily impeded by other drivers. Whether a driver is slow or fast, they seem to take on a very self centered view that no matter what they are in the right. Simply put, they don’t want to be bothered, especially to use the brake. In a way, not being bothered helps keep them calm. So, while you may need to move out of the way once in a while or double check your merge, it’s a good idea to not try to purposely put other drivers out; and we can only hope they will reciprocate.
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