Have you heard about these recent road rage incidences in Tennessee? Four days ago, a man was shot in the hip in a road rage incident on I-24 in Nashville. On October 18th, a man in Sevierville got out of his car and started punching another driver and was then shot. On September 18th, a man was killed and children were injured in a car accident caused by road rage. A month earlier, in a Chattanooga road rage incident, a man followed a woman and her son home and has now been charged with assault, vandalism and disorderly conduct. And these are just the ones that made the news! Road rage problems are plaguing our roads and police are ramping up enforcement in an effort to curtail it. But do you know what to do to help prevent road rage and how to protect yourself if it occurs?
According to police, road rage occurs most often when there is traffic congestion, a driver is running late or when a driver perceives rude behavior from another driver. If you are easily frustrated behind the wheel, avoid traveling at peak times if you can or take less congested routes even if the drive time is somewhat increased. Leave yourself plenty of time to get to your destination so your worry about being late does not create additional stress.
As for other drivers, Psychology Today gave these five solid tips for how to cope with rude and reckless drivers:
- Accept that there will always be bad drivers on the road. This is not an isolated event so it is best to just resign yourself to this simple fact.
- Do not dwell on the bad drivers but instead turn your focus to something else such as the driver who let you into traffic or who waved in gratitude when you let them into traffic. Turn on a podcast or music to take your mind off of it.
- Do not take bad driving personal. It is not about you. Instead, it can help to consider reasons for why they might be driving that way such as a loved one was just rushed to the hospital or they were fired from their job or they have a terribly upset stomach and just need to get to a bathroom, etc.
- Remind yourself that you cannot control them but you can control your reaction to them, which means you should resist the urge to retaliate, teach them a lesson, etc. And, do not let their rude and unsafe driving make you so mad that then you become the person who is driving rudely and unsafe.
- If you know that you have a quick temper or a low threshold for anger, do not drive if you are already agitated. Instead, take some deep breaths and calm down before getting behind the wheel. And most importantly, do not keep a gun in your car. Anger and easy access to a weapon are a recipe for tragedy. Case in point: in Florida earlier this month, in a road rage incident, one driver fired into the other driver’s vehicle. The second driver returned fire. Neither driver hit the other but instead they hit their daughters sitting in the back seat. Now, both men face attempted murder charges and their daughters are recovering from gunshot wounds.
Now that we have covered ways to avoid being the person consumed by road rage, let’s look at what to do if you are the victim of someone who is engaging in road rage. Here are 3 safety tips:
- Do not engage or retaliate as it will only make the situation worse. Avoid eye contact and refrain from any type of gesture or horn honking, etc.
- If possible, get away from the bad actor. Let them go past you. Turn onto a different roadway. Pull into a parking lot. If the bad actor follows you, call the police.
- Never get out of the car to confront an angry driver. If the angry driver tries to confront you, lock your doors, honk the horn to draw attention to it and call the police.
If you or a loved one have been injured in a road rage accident or incident and would like to discuss your case, our award-winning lawyers are here to help. We offer a free, no-obligation consultation so you can understand your legal rights. If we think we can help, we handle all car accident cases on a contingency basis so we only get paid if we recover money for you. To get started, call us at one of our convenient office locations: