Have you ever been a recipient of "road rage"? It can happen to the best of us. A lane change that cuts someone off can turn your regular commute into a dangerous situation in an instant. I try to find the good in people, but, when someone goes nuts because they have to yield to another driver, it becomes difficult to find anything good during a profanity-laced explosion. Sure, maybe they had a rough morning and are just letting off some steam, but maybe they have some deep-seated psychological disturbance and you just triggered a psychotic rage. The foundation of a richer life lies in feeling safe and secure, and I'm going to show you how to protect yourself if you are ever involved in a road rage incident.
Many years ago, I experienced someone's road rage, and this event has had a powerful impact on me ever since. While approaching my exit on the freeway one day, I signaled and changed lanes. There wasn't a lot of room but certainly enough for me to squeeze in and not cause any problem. Of course, that was my interpretation. Let's just say the other driver had a whole different perspective. He became enraged, so much so that he followed me off my exit and for several more miles all the way to school. He was yelling and cursing the entire way. At a stoplight he pulled beside me and quite literally threatened my life. Fortunately, I've had years of automobile defensive maneuvering training (thank you, "Dukes of Hazard," "Starsky & Hutch" and "Knight Rider") and was able to cross a couple of lanes and leave him stuck at the light.
But if that happened to you today, what would you do? Here are several tips to keep in mind the next time you encounter a maniac on the road.
Whether it's your fault or not, show some grace and class by giving them a friendly wave (ideally with all five fingers) to acknowledge the situation. Most of the time this works just fine to diffuse the situation.
If said maniac driver won't let it go, consider offering a sincere apology and yet another wave of the hand. Of course, never get out of your car.
3. Call police.
If you sense that the driver is on a downward spiral (e.g., yelling, cursing, threatening), tell the driver you are calling the police.
If calling the police doesn't get them to stop following or harassing you, stop all communication with them. Roll up the windows, look straight ahead and drive to the nearest police or fire station.
Simple enough, but there's something else you need to do to protect yourself and your family. Maybe I've seen "Silence of the Lambs" or "Criminal Minds" too many times, but if you are the proverbial package that causes the postal worker to snap, you certainly wouldn't want to lead the psycho driver to your home or to your children's school, would you? Well that may be precisely what you are doing.
Most people have turned their car into their personal billboard -- exposing far too many personal details to strangers on the street. Have a look at the cars on the road, and you'll often see bumper stickers or license plate frames announcing where their kids go to school, their church, clubs they belong to or hobbies that they have. Some go so far as to display little stick figure stickers of their family -- dogs included. If someone was motivated, they wouldn't have to be a detective to figure out how to find you again. It's lovely that your kid was student of the month at their school, but keep the bumper sticker off your car. Same goes for all of the other stickers, logos and decals that could reveal personal information.
So, strip your car, drive carefully and follow the tips above to survive your next road-rage incident.
Recent Auto News, Events & Reviews
- Road Rage: What You Need to Do to Protect Yourself
- Best Chevy of All Time
- Car Market Going Electric
- Ford Explorer: Changing Direction
- Ford and Toyota to Develop New Hybrids
- New 2013 GS Marks Bold Step for Lexus
- Chevrolet Tahoe Hybrid: Big Bang Theory
- 2012 Audi R8 GT: The Collector's Supercar
- 2012 Toyota Yaris: Sized for the Times
- Mercedes-Benz F125 Makes Loud Case for the Future
- Bad News for Detroit
- GM Enters Electric Car Joint Venture With Chinese Automaker
- Cars Talking to Cars Is Next Safety Wave
- 100 Years of Chevrolet
- 2012 Scion iQ: Great Expectations
- Heat Can Be Deadly
- Remembering the Cars of Yesteryear
- New Economy Standards Provoke Controversy
- Did You Deserve That Speeding Ticket?
- 2012 Mercedes-Benz SLK350
- Buying a Car This Summer
- Best Summer Rides
- BMW 1 Series M Coupe: Furiously Fast
- Mass Transit Cleans up Its Act
- Putting $4 Gas In Perspective
- The Real Cost of Ethanol
- Auto Industry Weathers High Fuel Prices
- Solar-powered Race Cars
- 2013 Ford Taurus: Tomorrow's Car Today
- The Dangers of Running on Empty
- Ethanol Needs Boost From Feds
- Is Propane the Fuel of the Future?
- Look Beyond Sticker Price for a Car's True Costs
- As Fuel Prices Rise, Small Cars Get Hotter
- Chevrolet Camaro ZL1: The Thrill is Back
- Top 5 Vehicles for Ski Week
- Ford's Mulally Wins Automotive Executive of the Year Award
- Giving the Red Light to Red-light Runners
- Electric Bikes Get Cranked Up
- Seniors Call on President Obama to Stem Gas Costs
- A Warning on Warning Lights
- Avoiding RV Disasters
- Young Drivers Play With Fire
- Obama Should Challenge Country to Make a Clean Energy Automobile
- Ford C-Max: A Mini Minivan
- Can Toyota Rise Again?
- 11 Coolest Scooters to Help You Spring Into 2011
- In-car Gadget Market Grows
- Audi A6: Sibling Rivalry
- Consumers More Aware of Alt-fuel Vehicles
- Ford Vertrek: An Escape From the Escape
- Get Your Armor on
- Controversy Over Ethanol
- Aging Drivers Cause Concern
- Our 5 Favorite Must-haves for Car Geeks
- Smart Phone Apps Help Stop Distracted Driving
- Time to Buy a New Car?
- Cadillac Eyes Smaller Cars
- 2011 Chevrolet Camaro Convertible Debuts
- Greatest Cars - Triumph TR-2
- Greatest Cars - Porsche 911
- Greatest Cars - Lamborghini Countach
- Are Green Vehicles Overhyped?
- Is Propane Fuel Getting a Fair Shake?
- Negotiating Car Price Still Saves Big Bucks
- Auto Leasers Remorse on the Rise
- Tailgating Goes Upscale
- Chevrolet Volt Becomes a Political Issue
- 4 Steps to Fix Your Car for Fall
- Kicking Off a 'Hydrogen Highway'
- Get Ready to Plug in Your Car
- Making Cars Safer
- Putting the Brakes on Ethanol
- Toyota Lost Its Way
- The Most Anticipated 2011 Cars
- Battle of the Greenest: Electrics vs. Hybrid Cars
- Don't Write Off Gasoline Engines Yet
- American Car Buyers Think Small
- Prepay Your Traffic Tickets?
- Buy or Lease: Is There a Simple Answer
- Will Hybrids See a Resurgence?
- Detroit Tops Auto Industry Customer Satisfaction
- Steps to Finding the Right Mechanic
- Men Seeking Cars Increase
- 2011 Model Year Holds Great Suspense
- Danger From GPS?
- Carbon Dioxide Emissions: Epoch-Changing Decision from the EPA
- Tracking Device Saves You Money on Car Insurance
- Electric Cars May Not Make the World Greener
- 10 Ways to Exercise Your Driving Muscles
- When Should You Buy Gas?
- American Carmakers Cry Foul
- Breathe Easier With 5 Cost-saving Clean Air Tips
- Chrysler Tries to Kick up Incentives in July
- Austin 7
- Benz Patent Motor Wagen
- Continental Mark II
- Cadillac V-16
- Chevrolet 409
- Chevrolet Chevelle SS 454
- Stutz Bearcat
- 1959 Chevrolet El Camino
- Porsche 356
Copyright © 2011 CBS INTERACTIVE INC. DISTRIBUTED BY TRIBUNE MEDIA SERVICES INC.