Last updated on February 14, 2019 at 12:49 pm
Keep Calm and Drive On: How to handle road rage (in yourself and others)
A split second is all it takes. We’re sad to see the slew of disturbing headlines about road rage incidents that have happened from New York to Kentucky over the past few days. None of us are perfect, and modern day life is filled with traffic tie-ups and distracted drivers that would make even a saint lose their cool. Try to imagine Gandhi driving around downtown Boston after work before a Red Sox game and you’ll get where we’re coming from. Let’s remember that those other drivers are people too—many of whom may have their children or other innocent (non-driving) passengers in the car with them.
Try to diffuse your short fuse. Don’t get in the car angry. Tell yourself before you start the ignition: “I’ll be calm driving today, no matter WHAT happens out there.” It will also help your state of mind if you give yourself some extra time before you take off. Leave some wiggle room for traffic, pedestrians, cyclists and slower traffic around you, especially if you’re driving in crowded urban areas or mall parking lots, for example.
Is someone road raging at you? Stay in your car and as far away as possible from the offending/offended driver. Stay in control. Don’t react in rage back at the road rager. Apologize (even if you don’t think it’s your fault!), don’t gesticulate or swear, and do your best to slowly back out of the situation—it’s not about you, it’s about them and whatever’s going on in their world.
Bumper cars. There’s something depersonalizing and dehumanizing about being stuck in a motorized metal box on wheels. Driving can be an isolating experience. So…don’t tailgate. Leave some space for the cars in front and behind you. Driving while under the influence of rage is dangerous for you and those around you—not to mention those in the car with you. Which brings us to ask…
What kind of driver are you? Are you a total cupcake in real life, but an (angry) Mario (or Maria) Andretti NASCAR wannabe once you get behind the wheel? If you know you have a quick temper in general, bear that in mind when you’re driving, and STOP and BREATHE before you fly off the handle and react in rage—especially if you have a “NAMASTE” bumper sticker on your rear fender. Seriously though, chances are good that the person you’re raging at is totally unaware of what they’ve done to make you lose it.
Click here for Drs. Leon James and Diane Nahl’s DrDriving.org’s tips on how to remake your driving personality…you might find that it positively influences you in the non-driving areas of your life as well.
Safe drivers save money. Road rage incidents are a major cause of accidents, which can make your insurance premium skyrocket. Your insurer may offer safe driving discounts; click here to see which discounts Plymouth Rock offers for good drivers.
Thumbs down: Boston is near the top of the U.S. road rage pack…are you surprised? We’re not.
Top 5 Road Raging Cities
2. New York City
4. Los Angeles
5. Washington, DC
Thumbs up: Interestingly, the city with America’s most courteous drivers is also one of the country’s most bike-friendly cities
1. Portland, Oregon, followed by:
4. St. Louis
5. Dallas/Fort Worth
Headquartered in Boston, Plymouth Rock Assurance Corporation provides auto insurance to personal and commercial auto insurance customers in Massachusetts and Connecticut. Plymouth Rock is a member of The Plymouth Rock Group of Companies, which together write and manage over $1 billion in auto and homeowners insurance throughout the northeast.