Preventing Road Rage: A
Q&A with Liberty Mutual’s Dave Melton
day, thousands of drivers experience some form of road rage or aggressive driving,”
says Dave Melton, Transportation Safety Specialist at the Liberty Mutual
Research Institute for Safety.
Melton offers steps for avoiding a road rage
situation—or getting away from it safely.
You’re being tailgated by
someone who is wildly gesticulating and honking the horn. What do you do?
Put on your turn signal, pull over in a safe
place and let the other car pass. Do it quickly, before the angry driver has time to
become even more upset. Give a courteous "I’m sorry” wave—even if you feel you’re not at
fault. An apology can often help defuse anger.
What should you do if the
other driver continues to follow?
Stay calm. Don’t make any rude hand gestures. Avoid eye
contact. And don’t speed up to try to get away. Quickly find a busy gas station
to turn into or, better still, a police station—anywhere with people around to
help. Above all, don’t go home (you don’t want the other driver to know where
you live), and don’t get out of your car until it’s safe.
How do you avoid enraging
Signal your intentions early. When you merge, make
sure you have plenty of room. Don’t cut people off. Use the left lane for
passing, and then pull back into the right lane. Driving slowly in the left
lane on the freeway is a sure way to anger other drivers and compromise your
safety. Stay focused, which means not making phone calls or texting. And never
pull out into traffic expecting that other drivers will slow down or swerve to
How do you avoid becoming a
"road rager "yourself?
Don’t take it personally. If someone cuts you
off, let it go. Driving is not a contest. Turn down the loud music. And avoid
raising your heart rate by giving yourself more time to get to your destination.
VISIT www.nhtsa.gov/people/injury/enforce/aggdrv.html for additional tips on
preventing and dealing
with road rage.
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