19 Oct Road Rage
Don’t Drive Angry
A mile on Johnston Street takes forever during rush hour, and Highway 90 can be a nightmare during construction. On top of that, now somebody thinks that laying on the horn and driving three inches away from your bumper is some magical solution to slow traffic. Fun, right? Kind of makes you want to turn off into the Circle K parking lot and smash their head in, right? Well; that’s extremely illegal, so let’s settle on driving two miles per hour below the speed limit to teach someone a lesson.
Congratulations. You are now part of the 80% of drivers that experience Road Rage in the United States.
What Is Road Rage?
Wikipedia defines Road Rage as “aggressive or angry behavior by a driver of an automobile or other road vehicle which includes rude gestures, verbal insults, physical threats or dangerous driving methods targeted toward another driver in an effort to intimidate or release frustration”.
What does Road Rage look like?
- Aggressive driving (tailgating, brake-checking, sudden acceleration)
- Cutting people off or preventing merging into or exiting a lane
- Blocking parking spots
- Cursing at other drivers and “shooting the bird”
- Leaning on the horn and flashing your lights
- Inviting another driver to fight outside of the vehicle
- Showing a firearm
These are only a few basic examples; but as we live with increasing levels of stress from several factors, Road Rage takes many forms. Not only is it unsafe, but it can lead to serious injury in the case of accidents and assault as well as expensive fines from law enforcement.
How Does Road Rage Affect Me?
It is easy enough to wind up in an automotive accident without the additional distractions of engaging or being the subject of Road Rage. Many drivers carry some form of weapon (an important reason to stay in your car), and the likelihood of an injury claim is high in the case of Road Rage on the highway.
Additionally, just being the target of Road Rage can cause Road Rage in ourselves! Being tailgated or blinded can feel like an attack, and many young men here in Louisiana think of themselves as “tough guys”. When two egos collide at high speeds, the chance of injury and death can only increase.
What Should I Do?
An important first step is remembering that your family loves you and would be heartbroken if anything happened to you. Momma might be upset about you being late for dinner, but she would be crushed if she could never see you again.
Do not react. No matter what happens, do not make the problem worse by reacting to an aggressive driver. You are in control of your vehicle and have a duty to yourself to be safe at all times. Ignore the horn and the flashing lights, and never pull over if another driver is threatening you. Call 911 if the situation your safety is at risk or if you the other driver has a weapon. The police are far more capable of taking care of the situation than you are.
Everyone has a bad day from time to time. We are all human, and we all make mistakes. Road Rage not only leads to illegal behavior, but it leads to accidents resulting in injury and death. If someone is an unsafe driver, it is not your job to teach them how to drive. If anything, this is the perfect time to be an example of what proper driving looks like by being safe behind the wheel.
Ask yourself one simple question the next time you’re angry in traffic. Do you want to teach someone a lesson, or do you want to make it to dinner with the family? Make the right choice. Drive safely; don’t drive angry.