Handle Road Rage: The Art Of Anger Management

by IndianAuto Team | 29/11/2018
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Imagine that you are in a perfect mood when getting in your car, but not long after that, someone messes everything up by cutting you off on the road. That is when you need to handle road rage.

Most people have a tendency of turning aggressive when stepping out of their house and taking part in traffic. Some people may have good manner at home, but traffic woes will provoke the beasts inside them, just like Jekyll and Hyde. Consequently, their good images will be ruined in no time, or worse, they will commit illegal driving manoeuvres. As a result, people started to look for ways to control anger like mediation.

However, when you cannot overcome anger, you will have a chance to experience road rage. The aftermath of road rage is very dangerous to oneself and those around him or her because it may lead to serious legal sequences, physical harm, or a death penalty.

handle road rage: woman

This girl is likely to have experienced road rage 

1. What Is Road Rage?

Before learning how to handle road rage, you must know what it is because there is a saying that “He who sees through life and death will meet most success”. As defined in Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary,

“Road rage is a situation in which a driver becomes extremely angry or violent with the driver of another car because of the way they are driving.”

Below are  some examples for you to understand:

  • Bumping their vehicle with your car.

  • Running them off the road.

  • Engaging in a physical confrontation.

  • Provoking your passenger(s) to fight the other driver.

  • Using any kinds of weapon to harm another driver or vehicle.

handle road rage: drifting car

Aggressive driving can be really dangerous to people around you and yourself

Sometimes, aggressive driving can result in serious road rages. That is to say, you sequentially commit illegal driving manoeuvres without knowing that you are doing it, and the act often leads to emotional distress and hence road rage. How do you know you are unintentionally committing the manoeuvres? The answer is, if you find yourself getting upset or angry on the road, try your best to determine whether you are engaging in any of the below aggressive behaviours:

  • Tailgating

  • Making either a left or right turn from the wrong lane

  • Cutting others off

  • Driving the wrong way down a one-way road

  • Not using turn signals.

  • Mentally or verbally cursing other drivers

  • Making U-turns at where prohibited

  • Speeding

  • Honking

  • Illegal passing/overtaking where it is prohibited

  • Flashing your headlights

  • Making turns in prohibited areas

  • Brake checking

If it is true that you are driving aggressively, you need to urgently take the necessary steps to assure that it does NOT result in road rage.

handle road rage: aggressive man

Shouting at others is an expression of road 

2. How does road rage initiate and what amplifies it?

Some situations related to emotional control that can potentially result in road rage include:

  • Getting fired or into an argument at work

  • Arguing with your significant other

  • Rushing because you're running late to an appointment

  • Scolding your kids in the car

It seems like everyone has a tendency towards road rage; however, there are studies showing that younger male drivers and individuals with specific psychological disorders are most likely to engage in aggressive driving and thus road rage. If you are in one of these categories, it always better to have extra consciousness of your actions and emotions.

The ragers may be aggressive people in other parts of their lives, for example at home or within family members. The road rager may be aggravated by the absent-minded or stupid driving of people answering phone calls. Those aforementioned are popular among the causes that intensify road rage. An inability to manage anger or deflect it can also be at fault - hence the proliferation of handling road rage courses.

Note that anyone can experience road rage, and you should not discriminate against road ragers.

handle road rage: rushing man

This rushing man is about to experience road rage

3. Consequences of Road Rage

Remember that the inability of handling road rage can cost you a lot. It can lead to a high price tag even if no one is harmed or killed such as tickets, lawyers, court costs, insurance rates, damage to vehicles.

If a law enforcement officer catches you are having road rage, you can be charged with a criminal offence. This means that you will need to:

  • Pay legal fees

  • Go to court

  • Or worse, Possibly face jail/prison time

For all of the money and time that you'll consequently lose, road rage is not worth the cost.

Additionally, you will have the risk of:

  • Damage to your vehicle

  • Physical harm to yourself and your passengers

  • Death

Note that a few moments of anger are simply not worth a lifetime of sorrow.

handle road rage: crashing cars as a consequence of road rage

Crashing cars is one of the causes resulting in road rage

4. Preventing Road Rage

The followings are a few tips to put in your pocket before driving in order to ensure you and/or other drivers won't likely get into road rages:

  • Listening to soothing music that you like

  • Have a mindset that you are sharing the road, and nobody's perfect!

  • Keep a proper distance between yourself and other drivers

  • Do not using swear words or humiliating gestures towards other drivers

5. Avoiding Diffusing Road Rage

If you have been upset at another driver, it is crucial to defusing the circumstance as soon as possible. The best way to do this is by showing humility:

  • Waving to the other driver

  • Express your apologies

  • Reserving plenty of space for other drivers to pass you


handle road rage: a woman calms a driver down

If you are with a driver who is going to have road rage, try your best to calm him or her down

Be an open-minded person. This will keep everyone safe, including yourself. However, you should always call the police if you believe you're in imminent danger.

When another driver upsets you, try not to make the situation more complicated than it means to be. Before dealing with the circumstances, you should:

  • Move to a safe location, out of the way of traffic

  • Take a really deep breaths—to calm yourself

  • Remember you have the ultimate ability to control your own actions and thoughts

  • Consider the consequences of your actions, try not to revenge the other driver

  • Get sufficient rest because lack of sleep leads to loss of control

  • Limit alcohol consumption. Alcohol can make you rageful

  • Leave earlier for your destinations

Other tips:

Be aware of your driving. Leon James, Ph.D., author of Road Rage and Aggressive Driving: Steering Clear of Highway Warfare and professor of psychology at the University of Hawaii, recommends watching yourself by thinking of what makes you angry or how long your anger stays. Convince yourself that it was not their liability, but the guy before them.

Another method in the art of handling road rage is to put pictures of your beloved ones on the dashboard to remind yourself that you want to come home to see them.

Above all, by remaining calm, you can avoid legal accidents and repercussions. Understanding road rage and the aforementioned methods of dealing with it can help you a lot to gradually learn the art of handling road rage and control your emotions.

Read more tips and guides from IndianAuto

How To Keep Calm And Drive On

How To Ease Your Nervousness And Anxiety When Driving

Unwritten driving rules in India you should know

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