We have all come across road rage at some point in our driving lives. When it happens, it can leave you feeling intimidated and scared. But with a bit of planning, you can prevent the situation altogether as no one sets off on a journey intending to have an argument with another driver, often the road rage is the culmination of a bad day. Richard Gladman, head of driving and riding standards at IAM RoadSmart, provides a few top tips about how to avoid being a victim of road rage and what to do if it escalates.
IAM RoadSmart’s top tips on avoiding road rage:
- If there’s conflict between two parties, there’s a likely chance you’ve both played a part. This doesn’t mean you should react. Try to take yourself away from the problem – let the other driver go on ahead. Even if you feel wronged, letting the other party go will make no difference to the rest of your day.
- Is someone being confrontational or aggressive? If so, don’t make eye contact and don’t react visibly. Try not to think about them so that the incident doesn’t affect you afterwards.
- If the other party is still being aggressive to you and you are in fear of your own safety, call the police.
- If the other party approaches you in your car, can you drive away safely? If you can, consider doing so. But don’t rush off and drive like the getaway driver in a film, or if you think the other driver is going to chase you. If they are chasing you stop in a busy public place and call help.
- Do you have a passenger who can film any behaviour on a mobile phone? This will help in terms of evidence. Remember to include the registration number of the other vehicle involved. Is the situation captured on your in-car dashcam? If so remember to save this footage.
- Don’t open your door, don’t open your windows fully and don’t start or get provoked into an argument, try to stay calm.
- If you were at fault, admit it and apologise. It may be enough to diffuse the situation quickly. And do not do anything that can be interpreted as retaliation. Even if you weren’t at fault, is the argument really worth it?
Hopefully by now the matter is over and you are driving away. Do acknowledge that this incident will have affected your behaviour. If you feel upset or emotional, pull over and get some fresh air or walk around if you need to before resuming your journey or find a distraction like listening to the radio.
No-one need experience road rage, but it is up to each of us to ensure it stays that way!
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