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Causes of Road Rage and How to Handle It


It’s common to experience frustration and anger at some time or another when driving. Running late, heavy traffic, and getting cut off are all instances that can incite anger in a driver.

Road rage is aggressive or angry behavior exhibited by motorists. It is usually a defense mechanism to retaliate against being wronged by another driver. Most instances of road rage include yelling at the other driver or shouting expletives, but road rage has also resulted in more serious issues.

While many different altercations can trigger someone to experience road rage, some of the most common factors that set off drivers are:

  • Impatience – Being impatient when behind the wheel can lead to driving more erratically, creating unsafe conditions for the driver and everyone around them.
  • Texting/Distracted Driving – Being cut off by a driver who is not paying attention to the road or their surroundings is frustrating, especially if they are weaving in and out of traffic.
  • Heavy Traffic – Being stuck in traffic upsets just about everyone. For impatient drivers, in particular, it can be an incredibly irritating experience that can cause them to lash out at others on the road.

Controlling our tempers can be challenging at times, especially when behind the wheel. Some tips on how to avoid road rage are:

  • Do not tailgate – Though the person in front of you may be going slower than you want, tailgating accomplishes nothing and is dangerous.
  • Leave on time or early – This should guarantee that you arrive at your destination promptly. Check traffic reports or use a hands-free app that has up-to-date information on how the roads are. Knowing what the roads are like before leaving can make a difference in a driver’s mood.
  • Empathy for other drivers – Understanding that not everyone is a perfect driver is a start. There are always two sides to every story and a moment of anger is not worth the risk of prolonging road rage.
  • Pullover to cool down – If you find yourself dealing with road rage and are unable to cool down, pull over to the side of the road. This downtime will allow you to decompress and alleviate any anger you are experiencing.

If you become the target of someone else’s road rage, it can be a very scary experience. Some ways to deal with an aggressive driver:

  • Maintain a safe distance – If the other driver is driving aggressively near you to get revenge, try to avoid them safely. Do not speed or weave in-and-out of traffic to get away from this person, but try to steer clear, if possible.
  • Do not stop (unless you are at a stop sign or red light) – This can be interpreted as an invitation for a face-to-face confrontation, potentially leading to violence.
  • Remain calm – Do not react to the other driver with rude gestures, explicit language, brake checking, or blocking them. Eventually, they will go away.

Overall, remember to be mindful of other drivers on the road and understand that it can be stressful. By remaining calm and patient, you will be able to navigate safely and avoid instances of road rage.

If you or a loved one have been the victim of a road rage incident, call the experienced personal injury attorneys at Potter Law, LLC today for a free consultation.