Another type of risky behavior that has emerged in recent years is known as “road rage.” It is estimated that as many as 1,500 people are killed or injured on American highways each year as a result of aggressive driving. No single proﬁle ﬁts all aggressive drivers, but they are three times more likely to be male than female, generally between ages 18 and 26, and usually have no record of crime, violence, or illegal drug use.
Although the risks of becoming a victim of road rage are small, if you encounter a threatening driver, the most important thing you can do is defuse the situation by not reacting. Staying safe on the road is a two-part process. Avoid behaviors that could be interpreted as confrontational, such as:
• sudden acceleration
• blocking the passing lane
• braking or swerving, which could cause you to lose control of your car
• cutting off another driver or failing to signal when changing lanes
• making obscene gestures
• failing to dim high beams for oncoming trafﬁc
• taking up multiple parking spaces or damaging another vehicle while parking
All drivers need to control their stress to avoid situations in which they become angry with discourteous or aggressive drivers. A few simple changes in the way you approach driving can signiﬁcantly reduce stress, including:
• altering your schedule to avoid congestion
• improving the comfort of your vehicle
• concentrating on being relaxed (but not to the point of being distracted)
• not driving when you are angry, upset, or overtired
As a driver, you cannot control trafﬁc, only your reaction to it. Give the other driver the beneﬁt of the doubt. Assume that other drivers’ mistakes are not inten- tional or aimed at you personally.