San Diego has seen an uptick in road rage incidents recently, causing delays and worry amongst local residents. Some of these recent instances have led to violent outbursts, prompting a response from the California Highway Patrol.
As more and more commuters return to the roads, the potential to run into another driver experiencing road rage increases. Incidents of road rage were already on the rise before people began returning to work. With more people on the road, more people are at risk of encountering road ragers. So here are a few tips for deescalating these potentially scary situations:
1. Know the Signs
The best way to avoid the worst road ragers is to be on the lookout. Staying vigilant on the road for those who seem angry could give you the time you need to get away from them. If you look around and see someone who yells at other drivers or makes obscene gestures at them, you can be pretty sure they should be avoided.
However, some signs of road rage are a bit less obvious. Sometimes, the only signs a driver gives you are some mildly aggressive moves, like cutting someone off or suddenly accelerating out of traffic. In that kind of situation, err on the side of caution and let the other driver make the mistake of road rage. After all, it’s they who will see the consequences on their next insurance bill!
2. Avoid Engaging
If you see someone who looks angry on the road, the best thing you can do is to disengage: give them space and look away. Ragers may perceive something as small as eye contact as a threat or challenge, which only makes them angrier. Make sure to avoid eye contact and simply change lanes away from them or slow down. It’s not worth the trouble to engage with someone in that state.
3. Control Your Emotions
Unfortunately, seeing road rage makes other people angry too. That’s why it’s very important to pay attention to your emotional response to the situation. If you get angry at seeing another driver behave poorly, you may want to engage with them, escalating a situation that could lead to serious consequences.
If you know that you are prone to road rage, have a plan for what to do when you encounter other ragers. Maybe have a favorite calming playlist ready to go, or pull off the freeway and breathe for a minute. No matter how you choose to do it, your car, insurance, and the people in your life will thank you for it.