There’s no surefire way to control anyone’s behavior on the road beside your own. But knowing that can lead to a lot of anxiety behind the wheel. According to AAA, nearly 80% of U.S. drivers experience and express the type of anger that can lead to road rage. And one report from NHTSA’s Fatal Accident Report System discovered that aggressive driving or road rage played a significant part in almost 60% of annual fatalities between a five-year period. As scary as the facts and statistics can be, there are some simple and proactive ways you can avoid road rage and becoming a victim of an auto accident.
Always Plan Ahead
Know your route prior to heading out and be aware of potential traffic jams and detours. Don’t just wing it or leave with a minute to spare. Construction can cause time delays and bottlenecks for the entire area, so someone’s bound to get their knickers in a knot. Avoid adding to the problem by giving yourself plenty of time to get to your destination or even enough time to wait out the jam at a local coffee shop.
Stay Calm and Focused
Your main job behind the wheel is keeping your eyes on the road, so be sure to do that. Don’t worry so much about what the other drivers around you are doing. Stay in the right lane as necessary and keep your cool to avoid adding fuel the existing sparks. Make sure you have a preloaded song list and play it, find your favorite radio station, or listen to an audiobook to stay calm and focused on your specific driving duties. And if someone else is in the vehicle with you, make sure they stay calm and quiet as well.
Be Polite and Don’t Engage in Aggression
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHSTA), around 94% of serious auto accidents are due to the poor human choices made behind the wheel. It’s human nature to become angry or offended when flipped off, yelled at, cut off, or any number of other aggressive actions occur. However, reacting to those can lead to fatal consequences on the road. Always practice respectful driving habits even if someone doesn’t deserve them. Let an aggressive driver pass you. Don’t tailgate or react to rude behavior on their part. And slow down if necessary to let them get far enough ahead to be someone else’s problem–hopefully, a police officer’s.
Avoid Going Straight Home if Targeted
You never know what someone else is going through, but aggression on the road can become scary or even violent if it’s encouraged in any way. If you notice someone targeting you, don’t pull over and do not go straight home. Try to maintain distance and stay calm. Notify the authorities if necessary and drive around to confuse or bore the culprit. However, if you’re near a local police station, driving straight there can do wonders to get them off your back and help you avoid needing to contact a Michigan car accident attorney.