Stay cool when your road trip heats up

By • Published: September 27th, 2010
Category: Health in a Heartbeat

Have you ever felt like slamming on the brakes when the car behind is practically riding your bumper? Don’t do it! While you might get some satisfaction out of forcing the tailgater to brake suddenly, you might also spark a road rage incident that doesn’t turn out well. To avoid being a victim of road rage, act calmly when provoked, and try not to provoke others.

Angered drivers might not stop at obscene gestures — they might try to run you off the road, assault you, or worse. At least 218 people were killed and more than 12,000 injured during road rage incidents in an almost seven-year period during the 1990s, according to the AAA [Triple-A] Foundation for Traffic Safety.

AAA offers many tips to help drivers steer clear of road rage.

While you can’t control when someone will become overly aggressive or violent, there are things you can do to help keep tensions low, even when you are in the right. If you’re going the maximum speed allowed when the tailgater target-locks on your car, for example, go ahead and switch to the slow lane. If necessary, pull over and let the person go by — but make sure you are pulling into a safe, well-populated, well-lit spot.

Try not to do things that might anger others, like cutting someone off in traffic. And if someone cuts you off, don’t return the favor, don’t make eye contact, don’t gesture, don’t shout — just continue on your way.

Listening to your favorite music while driving might put you in a good mood and make you less likely to react to angry drivers. And try giving the other person the benefit of the doubt, even when it’s hard to do so. If you’re the overheated driver, take an anger management course — it might help make your commute a little less stressful and even save a life.