Avoiding Road Rage in the Heat of the Summer
Summer is the perfect time of year to hit the road and enjoy a much needed getaway. While many motorists assume that winter driving is the most dangerous season on our roadways, summer time can be just as dangerous. Not only do our roadways become congested with fellow summer travelers, but it is also the prime season for road construction which often delays slows, and reroutes traffic resulting in road rage.
While driving during the summer months requires a little more patience than usual, you may notice that some of your fellow motorists are downright angry and impatient behind the wheel, exhibiting signs of road rage. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that over 1,500 people have been killed in road rage accidents since 2008 and the incidences seem to increase during the warmer months. Here are some tips to staying safe and keeping your cool behind the wheel this summer:
Learn to Identify Road Rage
One of the best ways to avoid being involved in an road rage related accident is by steering clear of motorists exhibiting dangerous behaviors. Road rage is essentially extremely aggressive driving. While many aggressive drivers are fueled by anger, making them speed, run red lights, tailgate, and drive erratically, an aggressive driver may also be impatient, running late, be stressed out, or completely distracted by something other than driving. A raging driver is most likely to drive aggressively as well as gesturing, yelling, and intentionally crash into other cars or take action to put lives at risk (such as braking suddenly).
Steer Clear, Stay Safe
There are few things more unnerving, when driving, than being aggressively followed or threatened by a fellow motorist. While a raging driver can seemingly appear out of nowhere, there are ways to avoid being in their path. If you notice someone exhibiting road rage, get out of their way and avoid driving near him or her and don’t block or stay in the passing lane. Never challenge an aggressive motorist or make eye contact and ignore all rude gestures. The more you engage with an angry driver, the more likely you become a target or become the brunt of their rage.
Keeping Your Cool Behind the Wheel
Even the most level headed of drivers are prone to getting irritated from time to time, especially when the heat index is high and the traffic is at a standstill. Some of the best ways to keep your cool while driving is giving yourself enough time to get to where you need to go (allow for delays, etc.), pay attention to weather and traffic reports, run your car’s air conditioning, dress comfortably, and stay adequately hydrated. If you want to avoid aggressive drivers it’s best to stay off the roads during the busiest times of the day, such as Friday at 6 pm. Whenever possible, plan your trips during less congested times of day and get a head start during summer holiday weekends, when the roads are likely to have more travelers.