This has probably happened to you before – that uncomfortable moment when another driver becomes aggressive with you on the road. They may swerve at your vehicle, yell, or even wave their arms at you in frustration. When this happens, what do you do?
Defensive driving is a key part in learning to stay safe on the road. Incidents of road rage can happen to anyone and knowing what to do in this type of situation is just as important as knowing what not to do on a regular basis to help avoid it.
5 Key Techniques for Driving to Avoid Road Rage
Being a defensive driver is one of the best ways to practice driving safety and avoid road rage, but what does that mean? Defensive driving can take on many characteristics, however, we are going to focus on the 5 key things you can easily do.
1. Follow posted signs and traffic laws.
To be able to follow road signs and traffic laws, we must first plan ahead. This means giving ourselves plenty of time to arrive at a location, without needing to rush to get there. When we speed, we are not only breaking the law but putting ourselves in a situation where road rage can occur. When we allow ourselves ample time to travel, we can survey those around us in a calm and less-stressed state of mind.
2. Allow hurried drivers to go around.
Even though we might afford ourselves plenty of time to get where we need to go, that doesn’t mean other people will do the same. When you encounter another driver who might be tailgating you or who brushes past a stop sign to get ahead of you, the best thing to do is to simply let them go by.
3. Stay alert and distraction free.
Knowing what is going on around you at all times is an important element of defensive driving. When we watch other drivers, it is easier for us to “think ahead” and essentially guess their next move. Just like the last tip, if you see someone who is driving aggressively, simply move out of their way and let them go by.
While staying alert and distraction free helps us to better understand the intentions of those around us, it can also help us have a better handle on our own driving. If we get distracted by the radio or our phone, we may swerve or fluctuate in speed. Our own neglectful driving could be the cause of a road rage incident to occur as well.
4. Avoid eye contact during intense situations.
If you somehow find yourself in an intense situation, the best thing to do is to not engage with the other driver. This means to keep your window rolled up and avoid eye contact. Understandably these situations cause your heart rate to fluctuate and that little vein to pop out from your neck, but in this case, it’s important to remember your breathing techniques and stick with them. 3..2..1, repeat.
5. Be considerate of others.
The overall thought to take away from this list is just to be considerate to others while driving on the road. If you make a driving mistake, which we all occasionally do, simply waive an “I’m sorry” gesture and be on your way. In the same sense, when another driving makes a mistake, afford them the same courtesy you would want and lay off the overuse of your horn.
In the end, remember to stay defensive while driving but also remain calm. If you find yourself in an unfriendly situation, do your best to get away and alert the police. We must all take action in our own driving first if we want to make a change in actions of others.