A national survey shows that nearly half of drivers engage in some sort of angry behavior.
According to the survey, 30 percent of adult drivers complain about other drivers; 17 percent yell at other motorists; 3 percent chase them or prevent them from passing.
Another 1 percent to 2 percent had gotten out of their cars to hurt or argue with other drivers, deliberately hit other drivers’ cars, or carried a weapon.
Experts say these are the symptoms of road rage. It begins with one person, then another person is drawn into it, and that’s a problem.
In their seminar “Road Rage: How to Keep Your Cool,” sponsored by Caritas Peace Center, a nonprofit psychiatric hospital, one focus is on how to keep other drivers from “going off on you.”
* Get into your “travel mode.” Know that problems with other drivers may come up, but you are prepared for whatever may happen, and you can handle it. Allow enough time to reach your destination. Know that unexpected traffic problems could make you late, but you can handle that as well.
* Assume that the other driver’s actions are not directed at you. The person could be distracted or under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
* Don’t challenge aggressive drivers, avoid eye contact, ignore gestures.
* Validate an angered driver’s feelings. If you offended him, apologize.
* Pause for six seconds so you can think. A short break is important, but you have to take it early on.
Many states have passed laws against offensive behaviors such as speeding, tailgating, reckless driving, illegal lane changes, repeatedly flashing headlights, and running another vehicle off the road. Penalties often include a large fine and jail time.