We’ve all been there. A driver cuts you off on the freeway or leans too heavily — and for too long — on their horn. It’s dangerous and can be stressful, too, often prompting a response that, in hindsight, you may not be proud of. But there are ways to avoid road rage and stay calm and composed on the road. Whether by merely avoiding interactions with other drivers or keeping your distance from other cars, these seven tips can help you cope with your own road rage.
1. Stay Calm and in Control
Impulse control can be difficult when we feel we’ve been slighted or, worse, that someone’s actions are putting us in danger. Mishaps on the road are common, so the better we know how to deal with road rage, the safer everyone will be. No matter what kind of journey you’re taking, make your travel mantra, “I am calm,” and repeat it to yourself in tense moments.
2. Don’t Respond to Obscene Gestures
If someone directs an obscene gesture at you, do your best to ignore it and certainly don’t escalate it by responding. Take the high road and make the highway a safer — and kinder — place for everyone.
3. Keep Your Distance
Don’t drive too close to anyone and always use your signal. Simple actions like these can limit the situations that cause road rage in the first place.
4. Take Your Time
Whenever possible, decide before you drive what route you want to take to your destination. This will enable you to take your time and mitigate any stress you may encounter along the way. And remember: Slow and easy always wins the road rage race.
5. Don’t Take Other Drivers’ Actions as Personal Assaults
It’s well-known what causes road rage — slow drivers, getting cut off, tailgating, etc. — but who knows what kind of day someone is having and how that will manifest on the road? Do your part and be a good citizen, abide by the rules of the road and, difficult as it may be, try to give those who don’t a pass.
6. Use Your Horn Only When Absolutely Necessary
The horn is a nuisance and should be used sparingly and only when truly necessary. Honking to try to speed someone up or as an insult is only going to make matters worse. Use the horn as it’s meant to be used: to promote driver safety on the road.
Falling into the road rage trap can be easy; what better place to take out your aggression than in the mostly anonymous setting of a highway? But it’s still uncalled for and hardly ever necessary. Do your best to put your best self forward on the road: Be generous and kind and do what you can to simply take your time — and don’t forget the deep breaths. And if that doesn’t work, imagine that the driver who cut you off is someone you know. How would you respond if it were your friend or neighbor?
Safe Driving Pays Off
You work hard to be a safe driver, and at Farm Bureau, that pays off. Talk to your Farm Bureau agent to learn about discounts on car insurance, like our Driven to Safety discount and our Driveology program.