5 Ways to Diffuse a Road Rage Incident

In September 2013, the internet was rocked by a viral video that appeared to show a black range rover running over several motorcycles and at least one rider. But what was actually happening was much scarier. In what has come to be known as the Hollywood Stuntz Gang Assault, Alexian Lien was attacked by a gang of motorcyclists after he bumped into one of them who had cut in front of him and slowed down dramatically. The video shows part of the initial altercation, where Lien tries to drive away to avoid getting dragged out of his car. The motorcycles chased Lien, eventually dragging him out of his car and beating him severely until a bystander stepped in. Because of the viral video, the memory of this incident has stuck around, reminding people of the consequences of road rage.

While most of us aren’t going to experience any road rage incidents that come anywhere near this level of violence, road rage is nothing to sniff at. Because most of us commute to work, it is likely that we will encounter aggressive drivers fairly often. In fact, Alpert Schreyer reports that, in a recent survey, 30% of respondents had felt threatened by another driver in the last month and that 67% of respondents had felt threatened by another driver in the last year. So what are you supposed to do if you are confronted by an aggressive driver who seems to have it out for you?

You Don’t Have to Be Right

If the other driver is angry or yelling at you, it is not the time to assert your right of way or to try and show them that they are wrong. Not only will this not teach the other driver anything, it has a high likelihood of escalating the situation even more. While you are trying to “teach” the other driver what they did wrong, you could even make a dangerous mistake that could cause an accident. The more confrontation, the more trouble you are going to have. Just let your pride go and stay safe.

Don’t Make Eye Contact

The last thing you want to do in a road rage incident is escalate the situation, so don’t make eye contact with the driver. They may be trying to get you to look at them so they can yell at you or communicate through gestures, but this won’t help. Eye contact can be seen as an act of mutual aggression and you may be tempted to say something back. Just keep your eyes on the road.

Let the Driver Pass

Regardless if the other driver is riding your bumper, cutting you off, or verbally assaulting your driving skills, slow down and safely pull over to let them pass. You don’t have to stop, just get out of their way. The more distance you put between your cars, the better off you will be. If you do decide to stop, keep your doors locked and windows closed in case the other driver decides to stop and confront you.

Stay Calm

If the road rage situation escalates, take a deep breath and try to stay calm. If you get angry, then everything is going to get worse. If the other driver won’t leave you alone or attempts to confront you after you pull over, call the police. They are more equipped to handle these situations and they can keep you safe.

Road rage is never a fun thing to deal with, whether it is a crazy situation like the one Alexian Lien had or just the average angry commuter. Just keep your head down, move away, and stay safe.

Written by Heffe Nootenboom

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