Road rage is on the increase. When there were fewer cars on the roads, it was unheard of. A journey could be enjoyed the without fear of angry motorists spoiling it with their uncontrollable tempers.
In recent years, outbursts of conflict between drivers have been widely publicised. It is natural to feel concerned about encountering aggression when driving. But we must all keep the risk in perspective, says Green Flag, the motoring assistance organisation.
Incidents of unprovoked rage on the road are still quite rare. The chances are that you will never experience anything really traumatic.
Tips on steering clear of road rage
Keep your own stress level low by allowing plenty of time and ensuring you know where you are going.
Always try to look confident and in control, not nervous and vulnerable, even if that’s how you feel.
Be polite and courteous, even when other drivers behave unreasonably.
Stay calm. Don’t allow yourself to be provoked or answer back. Avoid confrontation.
If you make an error of judgement, wave an apology to placate the other driver.
Drive with your doors locked at night in busy urban areas and keep them locked when stationary.
Keep the sunroof and windows closed if you’re forced to move slowly in areas where you feel uncomfortable.
Never give lifts to strangers.
Dealing with road rage
Be ready for rudeness or aggression from other drivers.
If you feel threatened, remember that your primary aim is to defuse the situation and get away.
If another car pulls up alongside or someone harasses you, avoid eye contact.
If you have to stop, stay in the car with the doors locked and engine running, ready to drive off or reverse away.
If you are followed, drive to the nearest police station or a busy place such as a garage forecourt.
Use the horn and hazard warning lights to attract attention.
If you have a mobile phone, call the police for help.
If you don’t have a mobile, keep a plastic toy phone handy. It could be enough to deter an aggressor.
Memorise the registration number of the other car, its make and colour and anything you can about the driver’s description.
If you see someone else being harassed, don’t be tempted to assist on your own.
Call the police, either on your mobile or from a public phone when it is safe to stop.
Music can help cool the situation
Music can calm the mind. Create a soothing atmosphere in the car with a non-aggressive choice of music.
Doctors recommend listening to something with a slower rhythmic rate than your heart beat, such as classical music.
Ideally, avoid dance music or anything with a really heavy bass beat. It could hype you up.