Editorial – Defend against road rage

Published 5:29 pm Tuesday, August 16, 2022

Everyone has a bad day now and then, but how you choose to deal with it, especially behind the wheel, can be a life-and-death decision. That wise reminder comes from AAA Tidewater, which, sadly, sees the problem of “road rage” as so severe that the organization compiled some tips for motorists to keep themselves safe.

“Road rage is often confused with aggressive driving,” said Kate Wilson, AAA Tidewater traffic safety manager. “Aggressive driving can be characterized as excessive speeding, following too closely, failing to obey traffic laws and making improper turns and maneuvers. Road rage is characterized by motorists turning to violence – throwing objects at a vehicle or using their vehicle as a weapon.”

If you do find yourself near a driver who is angry, here are some tips from AAA:

  • Do not respond to that driver and avoid eye contact.
  • This one’s hard when dealing with fools, but be tolerant and forgiving; the other driver may just be having a really bad day.
  • Be sure to allow enough room around your vehicle so you can escape if you need to.
  • Do not get out of your vehicle.
  • If necessary, call 911 for assistance or dial #77 to call Virginia State Police.

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A motorist can only control his own behavior. But there are things drivers can do, and avoid doing, to prevent another motorist from becoming an aggressive or enraged driver, according to AAA:

  • Communicate early and clearly. Use your turn signals and turn them off when you are done.
  • Make sure the space you’re moving into is clear, and that nobody is about to enter that space.
  • Do not encroach on another driver’s space.
  • Dim your headlights down from high beam when oncoming traffic is approaching.
  • Stay to the right – do not block the left lane, so faster traffic can move by.
  • If you need to use your horn, a couple of quick taps is often better than one long blast.
  • Consider investing in a dash camera so that there are no discrepancies in case of an incident.