Recently, the Peoria Police Department has responded to road rage calls that could have been avoided with a dose of patience, a calm demeanor, and quick decision-making.
Road rage is the exhibition of violent anger caused by the stress and frustration involved in driving a motor vehicle in difficult or stressful conditions. The National Highway Safety Administration (NHSA) further adds to this definition, stating that actions that contribute to road rage are when a driver “commits moving traffic offenses so as to endanger other persons or property; commits an assault with a motor vehicle or other dangerous weapon on the operator or passengers of another motor vehicle.”
If you become aware that your driving has angered another driver, do not react or retaliate. Resist the urge to stare, gesture, yell or otherwise draw attention to yourself or to the other driver. While it may be difficult to do, remember that people handle stress in different ways and you do not want to add to this stress. Think twice about how you would react if you were in the other vehicle and be considerate of those around you and those who are traveling with you. Concentrate on the road, be patient, and continue to practice safe driving habits even though you may be annoyed or frustrated with the other driver.
Avoid drivers who are acting angry or driving poorly; drive in a different direction or slow down. Help yourself avoid angry drivers by driving the speed limit, using your turn signal, and yielding to traffic. Give yourself plenty of time to get your destination so you are not in a hurry, are not tempted to speed and are not trying to “beat the light.” If another driver continues to act aggressively towards you or starts to follow you, drive towards a police station or public place and call 9-1-1.
A study conducted by the NHSA revealed that half of the drivers who are on the receiving end of an aggressive behavior, such as horn honking, a rude gesture, or tailgating admitted to responding with aggressive behavior themselves. This only makes the situation worse and increases the chances of having an accident during or following a road rage incident. You cannot control the actions of other drivers but you can control how you respond to them.