Don’t be that guy. Nobody likes that guy. You know the guy I’m talking about. He’s the antagonistic driver on the road, quick to lay on his horn when another driver does something that makes him angry, even if it’s because the offending driver made the correct decision to wait instead of stepping on the gas to cut off a pedestrian in the crosswalk. He’s the daredevil who always believes he has time to rip around a slower car even if it involves darting into oncoming highway traffic. He’s the guy who accelerates instead of allowing you to merge onto the freeway at a safe speed, because clearly being one car space ahead of you is going to get him to his destination light-years faster than if he’d allowed you to merge in front of him.
According to WebMD, tens of thousands of accidents occur every year due to aggressive driving. Ava Cadell, PhD, a psychologist and instructor at The Institute for the Advanced Study of Human Sexuality in San Francisco explains that, “The heavy metal of a car is a safe haven. Road ragers don’t think about the consequences or even about other people on the road as real people with real families.” The difference between being annoyed by a slow driver on the road or a slow person writing a check at the Post Office is that the metal of the car dehumanizes the person inside it. All an aggressive person sees is something that royally pisses him or her off. It doesn’t occur to the road rager to stop and think about how they would feel if another aggressive driver were to cause an accident involving a member of his or her own family.
There are several places to check in and learn more about road rage. If you are prone to aggression in everyday life, a quick glance at dmv.gov presents many different outcomes regarding how that aggression can come out while behind the wheel. Tailgating, excessive use of the horn, flashing headlights, as well as quickly and often changing lanes are only some of the ways aggression can manifest itself in a driver. If you find yourself exhibiting these types of behaviors, it’s time to seek help either through the DMV, or through supportive websites such as www.roarrinc.org that seek to humanize the other drivers on the road and work with aggressive drivers to change their driving habits. Anger management courses or therapy may be well worth the price if it saves a life, whether it is someone else’s or your own.
The sad truth is that there are road ragers who drive as though they believe they have the right to act the way they do because the other person has wronged them and therefore, those drivers deserve to be scared or “punished” by the aggressor’s intimidating driving practices. In these cases, it is imperative to use your defensive driving skills to help diffuse the situation. Dmv.gov says that, “If you are able to back off, take a deep breath, and remain calm, then you can defuse a potentially violent situation.” Responding to aggression with more aggression is never going to solve anything. If it does end up that you become involved in a collision due to an aggressive and angry driver, at least you know you’ve got SKS Insurance in your corner to help set things right. No one deserves to remain a victim of that guy.
-Andi Cornelius, Account Manager SKS Insurance