People speak about road rage as though it is a disease with its own genuine symptoms. In many ways it is. You will notice it only in certain circumstances and you will know it by a set of distinct characteristics. But in many other ways it can be far more dangerous. You are not going to be looking out for something so supposedly mythical as road rage when you are out and about. But it does actually speak to a specific phenomenon whereby people are more likely to explode with rage while behind the wheel.
Wherever you are a driver, you should be keeping an eye out for road rage. It can do many things to normal drivers, causing them to behave in an erratic fashion with little to no predictability. It can change the way their car behaves on the road, and it can certainly change the way they act as individuals.
So what exactly is road rage? Well, the short answer is that it is exactly like any other episode of anger. But in many ways it is completely different. Driving is a thoroughly different experience to most of the other experiences in your life. It can be hugely stressful, inciting claustrophobia and anxiety like nothing else. As a result you could expect it to induce particularly potent fits of rage in those who find it stressful.
Add to this the fact that any individual in question will also be in charge of a vehicle. As any driving instructor or police officer will tell you, a vehicle has the potential to turn into a weapon in the blink of an eye. So what you have is a situation that induces rage whilst also providing an individual with a dangerous and powerful piece of equipment.
This is why road rage is so dangerous in comparison to regular anger issues. Out in the world when someone becomes angry it is easy to walk away or avoid them. On the road you are trapped in a smaller shared space, where the stress is compounding and you both have dangerous vehicles. It’s a recipe for disaster if there ever was one.
Basically, when it comes to recognising road rage, there are no right answers. It is essentially a fit of uncontrollable rage whilst engaging in the act of driving. The general rule of the thumb will be to avoid any person that seems as though they are out of control of their emotions, as their car may soon follow suit.
If you are stationary and they approach you, there are plenty of things that you can do. You shouldn’t be afraid of talking to them, as there may be a chance that they can be talked down. But you should also recognise that engaging with them may present you with a personal risk. If it seems like they are being provoked by your presence then you should remain in your car, with a closed door between you.
You may be stationary for any number of reasons. There may be traffic or an accident may have occurred. In both of these cases the individual with road rage will be being provoked further, so it is a good idea to remain distant. If you are both still at the wheel, and you can tell that another driver is angry with you then there are also a number of things that can be done.
You should think about trying to put some space between yourself and this driver. You should try to achieve this with some measure of subtlety, as you don’t want to inspire an impromptu road race. The person you are getting away from is likely to be making rash decisions that are based on their emotions rather than a regard for anyone’s safety. As a result it will be up to you to think about everyone else’s safety.
If they keep catching up to you then you might want to stay at a regular speed to prevent them from driving erratically. If they are egging you on to drive like them then you may want to pull off the road. If you are the owner of any of the specialist cars in Harrogate, then you may be able to safely and legally outstrip them on the road. If they are in a lorry and you are the owner of a high-performance sports car then you should be able to put an appropriate amount of distance between you at a moment’s notice.
You should also be getting the police involved. This may escalate the situation, but it will do so whilst putting it in capable hands. The police will be able to deal with the other driver and take him off the road if necessary. They will also make you feel safe, removing the threat to your journey and day. In a more general sense they will also be able to judge how suitable the driver is to be on the road. Maybe they have anger issues that should be addressed before they get back behind the wheel. Or maybe they were so angry on this occasion because they were under the influence. By contacting the police, you will be doing a service to the public in this regard.
If you ever feel as though you are in danger through the fault of another driver’s anger then there are plenty of things you should be doing. You should try to disengage from the situation first. If that fails, then you should try to de-escalate the situation. And if that fails then you should be trying to stop the situation with outside intervention.
At every juncture, you should be thinking about your own personal safety, as well as that of those around you. Any person suffering from road rage will be trying to drag you into their situation. They will want you to reach the same boiling point for your emotions as they have, making you a part of their world. They key thing is always to remain level headed and disinterested.
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