Five Tips to Help Prevent Road Rage

Although many drivers become frustrated on Missouri’s roads and highways, aggressive driving is never okay. Road rage incidents, such as tailgating or threatening another driver, can cause serious accidents and leave victims with debilitating injuries.

You have rights if you have been the victim of another driver’s road rage. The lawyers at Cofman Townsley can help you get the compensation you deserve.

Road rage is preventable and can be mitigated through stress management techniques. If you feel you are prone to road rage or you see a driver showing signs of road rage, you can use these five tips to de-escalate the situation.

What Is Road Rage?

Road rage is more than just aggressive driving. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) describes aggressive driving as operating a motor vehicle in a way that endangers others on the road and is considered a traffic violation.

Road rage is a violent form of aggressive driving that goes beyond rude words, reckless driving, and obscene gestures. Common behaviors identified as road rage are:

  • Speeding
  • Weaving through traffic
  • Threats of violence
  • Actual violence
  • Use of profane speech or gestures toward other drivers
  • Running traffic lights or stop signs
  • Tailgating
  • Failing to yield right of way

The NHTSA has identified several causes of road rage, including:

  • Drivers running late
  • Traffic delays
  • Disregard for the law
  • Lack of regard for others
  • Habitual or clinical anti-social behaviors

Road rage is common nationwide, with 82% of drivers self-reporting that they had committed an act of road rage in the past year in 2019. In 2021, an insurance industry survey found that:

  • 45.4% of road rage incidents involved a driver honking their horn
  • 38.9% of drivers witnessed rude hand gestures during road rage incidents
  • 30% of drivers said seeing other drivers on their phones was the most frustrating element of driving
  • Tailgating, distracted driving, and cutting other drivers off remain the most common causes of road rage

Missouri is a hotspot for road rage, with a Forbes analysis finding the Show-Me State is the second worst in the nation for road rage-associated behaviors. The study showed that in Missouri, 54% of drivers had been cut off on purpose by another driver, and 8% had been shot at or had a gun pointed at them. Nearly 54% of Missourians have experienced offensive gestures from other drivers, and 50% have been yelled at, insulted, or cursed at. 27% of Missouri drivers know someone injured in a road rage incident.

How to Prevent Road Rage

Road rage is a dangerous problem, but it can be prevented and mitigated when encountered. You can take the following steps to avoid problematic situations, de-escalate conflicts when they arise, and report any harmful or dangerous behaviors to the authorities to ensure roads are safe.

  1. Plan Ahead and Leave Early

One of the primary causes of road rage among drivers is the feeling of running late. To reduce feelings of pressure to be on time, check online resources like the Missouri Department of Transportation website or local news channels to see if there are any delays on the roads before you leave.

Also, give yourself plenty of extra time when commuting to work or an important event. Aim for 20 to 30 minutes, allowing you to arrive early or on time even with minor slowdowns. 

  1. Learn Ways to Calm Yourself and Destress

Even the best-planned trips can have unexpected issues or delays, so when the unexpected happens, it is essential to reduce your stress and anxiety level. Take steps in advance to prepare for such occasions.

Drivers can use podcasts or music to calm their nerves if they feel angry while driving. To create a relaxing atmosphere in your car, make a music playlist with calming, upbeat music, and have a supply of light, comforting snacks.

You can also practice mindfulness and deep breathing to reduce your stress levels. Practice circular breathing when stressed to calm yourself and increase focus for complicated driving situations.

  1. Call the Police When You Witness Dangerous Behavior; Do Not Respond to It

If you witness or are a victim of another driver’s road rage, Missouri law enforcement recommends that you do not respond to the driver’s behavior. If the driver tries to provoke you with erratic, aggressive driving or yelling, ignore their provocations and avoid confronting them.

Immediately remove yourself from the situation by whatever means necessary, including pulling off the road or pulling over and contacting law enforcement immediately.

Schedule a Free Consultation with Cofman Townsley

If another driver harassed you or caused an accident due to their road rage, the experienced attorneys at Cofman Townsley can help you get the compensation you deserve. Our legal team has been helping drivers in the St. Louis area since 1973, and we have successfully obtained over $300 million for our clients.

We will handle every part of your case, from filing paperwork and claims to negotiating with insurance companies so that you can get the maximum compensation possible with the least amount of stress. Contact us today for a free consultation.