Does your commute make you angry? No one likes getting stuck in traffic or being cut off by someone who doesn’t seem to know how to drive. How you respond matters, though. Aggressive driving and road rage are serious problems – and they can lead to serious jail time. Learn how to keep your calm behind the wheel.

Road Rage vs. Aggressive Driving

Road rage and aggressive driving are similar concepts, but they’re differentiated by degree.

The NHTSA describes aggressive driving as dangerous driving behaviors that may include following too closely, speeding, running stop signs and weaving in and out of traffic. When aggressive driving escalates to angry and violent behavior, it becomes road rage.

According to the NHTSA, “An important distinction is that aggressive driving is a traffic violation, while road rage, aside from the yelling and gesticulating, is a criminal offense.”

Road Rage Offenders

The news headlines are littered with stories of drivers behaving badly. Here are just a few recent examples of road rage ruining – and sometimes ending – lives.

  • Over the summer, a man was shot during a road rage incident in Alabama. According to CNN, the person who shot him was his wife, although she was aiming for someone else. She has been changed with attempted murder, second-degree assault and reckless endangerment.
  • A man in Texas was arrested for an incident of road rage that involved trying to run a vehicle off the road. According to ABC News, both cars were carrying children. The man is being charged with felony assault with a deadly weapon and child endangerment. The incident was caught on tape, too. If you indulge in road rage, expect that someone might record it on their phone.
  • A man in Florida was shot after he got out of his car to confront a driver for following too closely. According to NBC 6 South Florida, the driver he confronted shot and killed him.

Don’t be like these drivers. Avoid road rage.

  • Give yourself plenty of time. If you’re in a hurry, you’re more likely to be annoyed by anything that slows you down.
  • Give other cars plenty of space. Give cars room to change lanes and slow down.
  • Don’t escalate bad behavior. You may feel like the other driver started it, but that’s no excuse for road rage. Remember the old adage – two wrongs don’t make a right.
  • Remove yourself from dangerous situations. If another driver is exhibiting signs of aggressive driving and road rage, put as must distance between yourself and that driver as possible. Report the driver to the authorities if you can do so safely.
  • Don’t do anything dangerous. Brake checking a driver, tapping the bumper of another vehicle and other dangerous maneuvers are never warranted.
  • Don’t get out of your car to confront a driver. Stay in your vehicle – even if the other driver gets out. If you’re being followed by a road rage driver, head somewhere safe, like a police station.

The bottom line: Take a deep breath and stay calm – no matter what happens. You never know if the other driver is armed, under the influence or mentally ill. The number one goal is to keep you and your family safe.

Also, be sure to carry great auto insurance. Jupiter Auto Insurance can help with that – get a quote here!