Those are two words that, when placed together, project some very scary images: roadside confrontations, hit-and-runs, shootings, etc. The term “road rage” covers a wide range of offenses, making it difficult to quantify, but it’s often included in the category of “aggressive driving.” More common offenses, such as speeding, failing to observe signs and regulations, and tailgating fall into this category, as well, and according to the AAA Foundation, aggressive driving accounts for more than half of all traffic fatalities. That’s right: more than half.
Though you can’t predict — or control — the behavior of others, you can have a game plan for dealing with it. With that in mind, here are a couple of important things to consider when it comes to the topic of road rage.
Simply the fact that you’re driving an RV can make you a target of road rage.
Through no fault of your own, you may be the recipient of more road rage than the average driver. “Why me?” you ask. Well, it’s simple: You have the nerve to be behind the wheel of an RV. (How dare you?)
No, it’s not fair, but it’s just the way it is. Your RV’s size keeps it from being as maneuverable as smaller vehicles. You can’t weave in and out of traffic with the ease that drivers of more compact vehicles can (You shouldn’t be weaving about willy-nilly anyway, but you catch my drift.) You can’t accelerate as quickly as other drivers, so if someone is in a hurry to pass, they’re more likely to get frustrated with you than they would if you were driving, say, a Ford Focus.
No, it’s not rational, but hear this: There’s nothing rational about road rage. Which leads us to our next point…
Control what you can and be prepared for what you can’t.
What can you control? Well, you can control two things: your behavior and your response to the behavior of others.
The most personally responsible thing you can do to reduce road rage is to make sure that you’re not a perpetrator of it. Abide by the rules of the road, and be considerate of others. Following those two guidelines religiously can greatly reduce the odds of doing something that will set off another driver. Simple steps like using your blinker before you change lanes — and doing so with plenty of notice — can help prevent the kind of frustration from which road rage stems.
If another driver does something that frustrates you, take a deep breath and remember that responding in kind does not help the situation. It’s completely understandable to become frustrated behind the wheel, but how you deal with that frustration can be the difference between a minor annoyance that’s forgotten in no time to a potentially tragic situation resulting in injury or loss of life.
When another motorist exhibits signs of road rage, whether due to a mistake you’ve made or to something that’s not your fault, do not engage them. While you’re behind the wheel is not the time to indulge your ego. Let it go and move on. Accident prevention trumps any momentary satisfaction you receive in “showing them.” It’s not your job to teach anybody a lesson; it’s your job to be a safe and responsible driver.
Check out this article for more suggestions on how to prevent road rage — as well as defuse it when necessary.
How serious of a problem do you consider road rage, as it relates to RV safety?
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