The first step to get control of road rage is to check our own driving
■ Richard Perry / The Hemet Car Guy
Greetings from the Hemet Car Guy!
Driving along Florida Avenue, every so often I experience drivers who drive so aggressively that they are a clear danger to themselves and others. I don’t know if they are on their way to a fire or just having a bad day.
Wikipedia defines “road rage” as aggressive or angry behavior by a driver of an automobile or other road vehicle. Such behavior might include rude gestures, verbal insults, deliberately driving in an unsafe or threatening manner, or making threats. Road rage can lead to altercations, assaults, and collisions that result in injuries and even death. It might be thought of as an extreme case of aggressive driving.
Road rage is a growing problem on our highways. Learning how to deal with it can help you sidestep the dangerous nightmare that often follows an aggressive road-rage incident.
The Department of Motor Vehicles suggests that you back off from an aggressive driver. You must realize that you can’t control another driver’s behavior; but you can control your own. When another driver cuts you off, how you react will determine what happens next. If you are able to back off, take a deep breath and remain calm, then you usually can defuse a potentially violent situation.
Vent by talking to a friend or family member about the driving experience―telling the story can relieve your stress. Some driving clubs or online discussions offer members a chance to vent their frustrations.
Know your own driving style
What about if you are the aggressive driver? Analyze your driving style and ask yourself whether you are susceptible to road rage! If so, consider changing your own driving habits.
Following is a list of habits used by aggressive drivers that you might use as a self-test. Aggressive drivers routinely –
Blow their horn
Flash their headlights
Change lanes quickly and often
Gesture to other drivers
Talk on their cell phones
Changing your driving habits is not easy. You’ll need to study safer driving styles and then practice. Consider signing up for a driver education course or, better yet, some personalized training. Getting your aggressive driving under control could someday save your life or that of another person, such as a friend or family member. Certainly that makes it a worthwhile undertaking, one that puts it high up on our list of priorities.
Richard Perry is The Hemet Car Guy and owner of VIP Autos in Hemet. For more information, visit www.hemetcarguy.info.