If you have driven a car in the United States… ever… you have likely encountered a terrible phenomenon known as road rage. This is, of course, when a driver (or several drivers), become enraged at something and begin driving dangerously. Often this is the result of someone carelessly cutting in front of another vehicle. It can also occur when someone driving quickly comes up behind someone driving slowly and can’t get around them.  Although this could probably be the subject of an hour-long documentary, this article will go over some of the main points of what makes road rage so terrible.

Being in a Hurry

Most of the time, we in the United States feel we are on a constant deadline. We always feel rushed. We have to make it to the next thing as quickly as possible; as if we will win some coveted prize if we make it there before anyone else. I believe it is a result of our high-pressure, dog-eat-dog society. We HAVE to win. And we are the important ones. Being a slave to that ticking clock takes a toll. Especially when it seems like other people just don’t care. And doesn’t it always feel like people around you drive the slowest when you are in the biggest hurry?

So, we are in a rush. We need to get somewhere, and now. However, one other thing seems to ring true. When you speed through town and pass people who are “blocking” your way, you often end up no farther than them at the next stoplight or intersection. So, what did you really gain from all of that rushing around, besides the greater chance of getting a speeding ticket (or worse)?

Slowing Down

This is not just an idea for reducing the speed of your vehicle, but also for your mindset as you get in the car or truck. Although it’s easier said than done, if you can take a deep breath and keep in mind that you are not in a race, you will not “win” anything if you speed home, you may just find your drive much better.

Get out of the Way

If you do slow down, or if you are a naturally slow driver, be aware of your surroundings and stay out of the way of faster moving vehicles. Sometimes people have a good reason for driving fast. They may be speeding to get to the hospital. This has happened to me more than once. I know people who were rushing to get to the bedside of a loved one before they died. This is very real.

Of course, not everyone is speeding to the hospital. But it’s actually best to assume they are. In that case, you may just find yourself to be a little more empathetic. So, if someone is coming up from behind you very fast, protect yourself. Get out of the way.

In the End… Be Kind

The best way to protect yourself from road rage is to be aware and considerate of other drivers around you. Make sure to get out of their way and don’t cut them off. Instead of racing to pull in front of them, let up on the gas and slide behind them. You’ll be much less likely to invoke the road rage that might be building up in someone else.

Written by Gary Pradel