How to Avoid Road Rage So You Don’t Get in an Accident
In Florida in 2015, Robert Doyle called the police to report an angry driver who attempted to force him off the road. Cathy Gonzalez had followed him home, also calling police in the process, and then blocked him in as he pulled in his driveway. Doyle, who had a firearm on his person, opened fire on Gonzalez as soon as he left his vehicle. She was killed.
Most road rage stories don’t end that tragically. But this does show you that both parties can feel that they were right, regardless of the true cause of the problem. And it also reveals what can happen when anger gets out of control.
In most cases, road rage causes far less harmful behavior. However, road rage still caused 12,610 injuries and led to 218 over a seven-year period, according to AAA data reported at Bankrate.
How Does Road Rage Affect Insurance Rates?
Obviously, road rage can only make your insurance rates go one way. But what can you expect to happen?
It depends on the extent of legal consequences you experience. Fines, license suspension, and even criminal charges can result, depending on your state’s laws. If you have a long history of such consequences, insurers may categorize you as a “high-risk” driver. That means they can legally charge you massively higher rates — or refuse you any coverage at all.
Verbal threats, physical intimidation, and causing damage to other vehicles can be criminally prosecuted. And repeat offenses can result in you being sued. Road rage quickly makes your car insurance quite expensive if you don’t get it under control.
What Can You Do If You’re an Angry Driver?
If you find yourself frequently getting angry while driving, what can you do about it so you don’t find yourself causing serious harm to someone else? Fortunately, there’s quite a bit you can do.
Everyone knows how to drive safely, but road rage continues to happen. So, the real problem isn’t knowledge of driving. It lies between your ears and learning how to keep your emotions in check. An article by the American Psychological Association recommends a combination of cognitive and relaxation techniques for “high-anger drivers.” High-anger drivers engage in serious threats or violent actions. However, you might consider these techniques even if you have minor difficulty staying calm while on the road.
A series of studies revealed that high-anger drivers who attended eight sessions where they practiced these cognitive and relaxation techniques reduced the frequency and intensity of their anger to manageable levels. They also maintained their newfound calmness to similar levels roughly a year later.
Road Rage Doesn’t Benefit You
The bottom line to remember is that no matter how angry and justified you feel while driving, it doesn’t help you any. In fact, your anger only puts you, and others, at risk. You could merely cause some minor disruption to traffic flow. You might cause an accident. You could cause an injury. And you might even kill someone.
At the end of the day, it’s not worth it to get worked up — for you or anyone else. So, if you have trouble with road rage, do what you need to get yourself in check. You’ll feel happier. You’ll be safer. And your auto insurance rates will remain affordable.