How to Deal with Road Rage in Florida
Though the month of April has been designated as Stress Awareness Month, if you’re a driver in Florida, stressful commutes are a year-round ordeal.
One of the many causes of distress among Florida residents—along with work, finances, and lifestyle—is driving. Ever notice that stressed drivers are prone to road rage? That’s because stress impairs the ability to use the cognitive techniques necessary to control fear and anxiety. In other words, stress makes one do crazy things.
Aggressive Drivers in Florida
Many feel that fellow commuters pose a threat to their personal safety, while an increased amount of U.S. motorists have reported that they take part in angry and aggressive driving behaviors themselves. Statistics show that those more likely to engage in aggressive behaviors are males and drivers aged 19-39.
Though anger could be understandable under certain circumstances, “unchecked emotions could lead to destructive behavior,” said Jake Nelson, AAA’s Director of Traffic Safety Advocacy & Research.
According to a 2016 study, some of these behaviors include:
- Yelling at other drivers
- Honking angrily
- Making angry or obscene gestures
- Blocking other vehicles from changing lanes
- Cutting off other vehicles
- Confronting another vehicle
- Bumping or ramming another vehicle on purpose
- Weaving in and out of traffic impatiently
- Braking suddenly to test others, AKA “brake-checking”
These behaviors are prone to cause vehicle accidents and altercations. With these behaviors becoming a common occurrence on our roads, it’s no wonder driving causes elevated levels of stress among Floridians.
“You never know what the other driver might do. Maintain a cool head, focus on reaching your destination safely,” added Nelson.
If you have been the victim of an auto or motorcycle accident because of the behavior of a negligent driver, call us at 1-800-FL-LEGAL. As experienced Florida accident attorneys our number one goal is to bring you justice.
How to Avoid Road Rage:
Angry driving culture has a domino effect. Anger never helps the situation, as irate drivers only worsen matters. It's never worth the risk to endanger yourself or others by reacting inappropriately.
While road ragers stress and irritate others, a calm, sympathetic driver could be a positive influence to those around them. Sometimes an act of kindness may go a long way. Even if it does not directly affect the other drivers around you, it will help you overcome the effects of stress.
- Cultivate Peacefulness: If you're prone to stress-induced anger, play calming music, sign up for relaxing exercises and practice mindfulness. The American Psychological Association also recommends social outlets. However, keep in mind that alcohol, tobacco and drugs keep the body in a state of stress.
- Give yourself extra time: Leave earlier to avoid the stress of unexpected delays. Feeling rushed or running late lead to bad driving behaviors.
- Stay level-headed: Take a deep breath--or as many as you need. Calming breaths and self-talk such as, “It’s Ok, it’s not a big deal,” help in letting anger go.
- Fix Your Face: Do you drive with a scowl or angry face? Try smiling to change your mood. Within seconds of smiling a person’s mood and perspective change.
- Don’t Upset Other Drivers: Do nothing that would provoke another driver. Use your turning signals. Avoid tailgating or “brake checking.” Don’t drive at a snail-pace to irritate a tailgater. Don’t speed up to prevent someone from merging into your lane.
- Be Understanding and Forgiving: Never take things personally. The other driver may be having a bad day, may have received bad news that is affecting their mood, may be on their way to the hospital, or may have a screaming infant in their backseat.
- Don’t Escalate the Situation: Don’t respond by making eye contact, yelling back, or making gestures. Don't step out of your vehicle or approach the other vehicle. Keep a distance from them.
DISCLAIMER: This post is intended to provide general information to our readers. None of the information contained in this post should be construed to constitute legal or medical advice. Laws vary by jurisdiction and cases often turn on minor differences in fact. Do not rely exclusively on any of the information contained in this post. Always seek further assistance from a legal or medical professional where necessary.
Sources: aaa.com, geturgently.com, webmd.com