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What to do in a road rage incident


A staggering 88% of respondents claimed to have been a victim of road rage in a GIO survey, showing how common it is on our roads.

Experiencing road rage from another driver can be confronting. Your safety and the safety of your passengers is the priority, so keep these tips in mind about what to do in a road rage incident.

Examples of road rage

Road rage can appear in several different forms. Rude gestures and tailgating tend to be the most commonly experienced, however verbal abuse and being forced off the road do happen as well. More serious cases of road rage can involve car damage or physical assault.

What to do if you are the victim of road rage

If you are unfortunate enough to become the victim of road rage, there are some ways you can help defuse the situation. Check out our tips below.

  • Avoid eye contact: don’t engage with road rage behaviour by looking at the aggressive driver or returning rude gestures.
  • Stay in your car: don’t get out of your vehicle or retaliate when met with road rage. This could make the situation worse and may put you in danger.
  • Increase the gap when driving: slow down to increase the distance between your car and theirs if the road rage driver is in front of you.
  • Let them pass: pull over in a safe place to let the aggressive driver pass if you can, or maintain a steady speed if you’re being tailgated.
  • Don’t go home: if an aggravated driver is following you, it is safer to avoid going home at that time. Drive to the nearest police station or public place instead.

Avoid being the victim of road rage

Being courteous and driving safely is less likely to aggravate other road users who may already be stressed and short-tempered. You can help avoid road rage incidents by adopting driving behaviours such as:

  • Following the road rules
  • Giving way to people when merging or joining traffic
  • Using indicators to give plenty of notice when changing lanes
  • Allowing other drivers to overtake
  • Driving in a way that’s predictable to other road users

What causes road rage?

Road rage can be triggered for a variety of reasons and doesn’t just happen to highly strung or impatient people. Even mild mannered people can find themselves exhibiting road rage behaviour while driving.

Factors such as traffic congestion, stress levels, and problems in your personal life can make you prone to experiencing road rage more easily. Feeling a need for control and being territorial also contribute to aggressive behaviour on the road.

How to control road rage

While at the wheel, there are a number of ways you can control your own temper and emotions. Avoid experiencing road rage when driving by following these tips:

  • Plan out your journey and allow enough time to get there as rushing adds unneeded stress.
  • Leave your personal problems behind when getting into the driver’s seat.
  • Avoid caffeine or energy drinks that make you agitated.
  • Accept that other drivers make mistakes but try not to let it upset you.
  • Find a safe place to pull over and unwind if you’re struggling to control your emotions.

Shine Lawyers – we’re here to help

Our team of motor vehicle claim experts can help guide you through the legal process if you’ve been a victim of road rage and have suffered as a result. Contact us today for an obligation free consultation.

Written by Shine Lawyers. Last modified: August 25, 2020.

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