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How to Deal With Road Ragers

1.

Be aware that many drivers get angry if you follow them too closely. Allow at least a three-second time interval between your car and the car ahead.

2.

Don't slam on the brakes if someone's tailgating you. Instead, signal and pull over to let them pass.

3.

Clarify your intentions by using your turn signals and brake lights. If someone cuts you off, slow down and give the car plenty of room to merge into your lane.

4.

Don't offend other drivers. Make sure you have plenty of room when you want to merge.

5.

If you are in the left lane and someone wants to pass, move over to the right and let him or her by. Remember, you may be "right" because you're traveling at the speed limit, but you can also be putting yourself in danger by enraging someone behind you.

6.

Keep as much distance as possible between yourself and another driver who wants to pick a fight. Motorists you might have offended can "snap" at any time, and it's better to be a live chicken than a dead macho man.

7.

Give the other motorist the benefit of the doubt. A driver who's speeding or constantly changing lanes may be a volunteer fireman responding to a call, a physician rushing to a hospital or an undercover cop.

8.

Allow more time for your trip. Instead of trying to "make good time," try to "make time good." Listen to soothing music or a book on tape. Adjust your attitude and forget about winning. For too many motorists, driving becomes a contest.

9.

Ask for help if you have a problem with aggressive drivers or if you yourself are getting angrier behind the wheel. Courses in anger management have been shown to reduce heart attacks.

Tips and Warnings

  • "The best way to handle aggressive drivers is to not be an aggressive driver yourself," says California Highway Patrol spokesman Steve Kohler. "And the second thing is to avoid those who are behaving aggressively by not reacting to them."
  • Although many drivers involved in road rage incidents are men between the ages of 18 and 26, anyone can get aggressive if they let their anger take control. Studies show that anyone can drive aggressively if they're in the wrong mood or circumstances.
  • Get help if you think an aggressive driver is stalking you or trying to start a fight. If you have a cellular phone, call the police or drive to a safe, populated place, such as a police station, shopping center, or hospital parking lot. If you don't have a cell phone, use your horn to get the attention of a Good Samaritan who may help. Do not get out of your car, and do not go home.

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