Regardless of where you live, road rage incidents occur somewhat regularly. This is especially true throughout California as our roadways are notoriously congested.
Is it really that bad of a problem?
Yes. A survey was conducted by the AAA Foundation. Of all the respondents to that survey, AAA found that almost 90% believed aggressive drivers were a threat to personal safety. Surprisingly, a substantial number of those very same respondents admitted to engaging in aggressive driving practices. This included speeding, running red lights, etc., and these aggressive driving practices were a factor in more than 50% of fatal crashes, according to another AAA study.
Given this, here are a few ways you can avoid road rage incidents:
Do not cut drivers off
One of the most cited instigators of road rage incidents through AAA research was being cut off by another driver. As such, when merging, make sure there is plenty of room and use your turn signal. If an accidental cut-off occurs, try to make an apologetic gesture. Conversely, if one is cut off, do not engage, slow down and give the other vehicle space.
Stay out of the left lane, except when passing
Another commonly cited aggravating factor is driving slow in the far-left lane (the passing lane). Even if one is driving the speed limit, the passing lane should only be used for passing other vehicles. If someone is trying to pass, let them pass.
Do not tailgate
Maintain at least a two-second space between cars. What is a two-second space? This is a space where at least one car could safely fit between the forward and following car. Even if one is trapped behind that slow driver though, tailgating does not help. This could aggravate the slow driver, and if something unexpected occurs, the tailgater will not have sufficient space to avoid disaster.
Keep hands on the wheel
Another significant aggravating or escalating factor is obscene hand gestures. Even if one feels like they have been wronged, keep hands on the wheel. Californians never know the stress level of one’s day and what it will take to set them off. And, while a hand gesture is not an excuse or a defense to causing an accident, not using it, could help avoid a road rage incident.