Road rage is a psychological state characterized by extreme anger and a willingness to take aggressive actions to “strike at” another driver. Many people feel very territorial when behind the wheel, and they might take it personally if someone cuts them off or honks their horn at them. Consequently, they suddenly are in the grips of rage and might chase a driver, tailgate, or cut them off. In extreme cases, a driver suffering from road rage will intentionally ram a vehicle or get out of their car and confront their target.
To protect yourself, we offer the following tips. Please reach out to our Virginia Beach, VA car accident lawyer today to review the facts of your accident.
Note the Signs of Road Rage
You can often tell that someone is in the grips of road rage because they are honking their horn wildly, aggressively tailgating, or making obscene gestures. You might be completely shocked and not know why they are so angry. However, once you note the signs, you can take appropriate defensive action.
Safely Create Separation
The best thing to do is to get away from the road rage driver. If possible, slow down, especially if they are in the lane beside you or in front of you. Out of sight, out of mind.
However, creating this separation might not be easy, especially if the driver is right behind you or traffic is heavy. In those situations, consider pulling off the highway and into a rest stop, where you can wait for 10 minutes before joining traffic. Don’t speed or take aggressive action to get away, which will only cause accidents.
Refuse to Engage the Driver
Never respond in kind to a road rage driver. Avoid flipping the bird, chasing them, or honking your horn. If you engage in this behavior, you might soon fall victim to road rage yourself. Instead, focus on putting distance between them and avoid eye contact.
Stay in Your Vehicle
Let’s say you pull into a pit stop or you actually make it home but the road rage driver has followed you. What do you do?
For one thing, stay in your vehicle and call the police. Keep your doors locked and don’t get out to confront the driver. Also avoid rolling down your window. Some people have been physically attacked and hurt when they opened their doors. You might think you can defuse the situation, but some drivers are difficult to reason with when sufficiently angry.
If you haven’t yet stopped, you can drive to the police station, which should be the clue for the road rager to get lost. You can also report the driver to the police.
Reduce Your Own Stress Levels
If you feel road rage symptoms coming on, there are some easy steps you can take:
- Remind yourself not to take the other driver’s actions too personally. They probably did not see you, which is why they cut you off. If you don’t take everything so personally, you can keep road rage at bay.
- Turn on some soothing music or turn off the radio if that helps you stay calm.
- Take deep breaths from your diaphragm. Hold each breath for two seconds before exhaling. You should notice a swift reduction in tension.
- If necessary, pull out of traffic until you feel your stress levels subsiding.
One source of road rage is running late. For this reason, we recommend always giving yourself sufficient time to reach your destination.
Speak with Our Car Accident Lawyer in Virginia Beach, VA
No one should threaten your safety or the safety of your loved ones. Let us help. Barney Injury Law has sought compensation for many clients injured in road rage accidents. We serve Virginia Beach, Chesapeake, Norfolk, and all of Hampton Roads, VA. Call or schedule an online appointment today.