My favorite example of Dallas traffic happened several years ago during Texas/OU weekend. We were in college, driving on I35 (no doubt with the radio blaring), and I saw a driver four lanes over start screaming because he thought someone cut him off. But he was screaming so loud that we could hear him, through four lanes of traffic, and over our radio.
Thankfully, few of us are that bad, but I’m sure we all get annoyed a bit when driving. And that’s dangerous for us and all those around us.
Recently, I received an email from AAA that had some tips for avoiding road rage, and I thought I’d share them here. They are as follows:
- Cutting people off. When you merge into traffic, use your turn signal and make sure you have plenty of room to enter traffic without cutting someone off. If you accidentally do cut someone off, try to apologize with an appropriate gesture, such as a hand wave. If someone cuts you off, take the high road: Slow down and give them plenty of room.
- Driving slowly in the left lane. Even if you’re driving the speed limit, if you’re in the left lane and someone wants to pass, be courteous; move over and let them pass so you don’t anger drivers behind you. The left lane is actually intended as a passing-only lane. Otherwise, you’re expected to move to the right. You might be familiar with the signs that read: keep right except to pass. Besides, if the car behind you is speeding, it just might receive some unwanted but justified attention from law enforcement. Also, if you notice a long string of cars behind you on a two-lane mountain road, find an appropriate turnout and let them pass.
- Tailgating. Drivers can really get angry when another car follows them too closely, so allow adequate room between you and the car in front of you. Follow the two-second rule: when the vehicle in front of you passes a landmark, it should take you at least two seconds to reach the same point. If you’re being tailgated, put on your turn signal and pull over to allow the vehicle to pass.
- Making obscene or provocative gestures. Never flip off another driver. Almost nothing makes other drivers angrier than an obscene gesture. Even shaking your head may anger some drivers. So be cautious and courteous—signal every time you merge or change lanes, as well as when you turn.
Most of this is common sense, but it’s always good to get a little reminder to help us keep our cool while driving.