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5 tips to defuse road rage before someone gets hurt

Avoid roadside violence and serious crashes by keeping your cool.

As New Yorkers, we know that getting around the city takes a certain level of boldness and assertiveness. We’re no strangers to the chorus of honking cars and shouting motorists ringing down busy streets. Road rage is a part of life for many drivers.

Too often, however, unchecked road rage can result in fender benders or worse. It’s not unheard of for disagreements on the road to turn violent. According to the American Automobile Association, up to 56 percent of fatal crashes involve aggressive driving. In some cases, this behavior can even lead to assault or murder.

How can you prevent this frustration from turning dangerous?

Use these 5 simple tips to avoid contributing to road rage:

  1. Keep your distance – If someone is tailgating you, try to move into another lane or simply control your own speed until they pass. Do not retaliate by cutting them off, shaking your fist or yelling profanities.
  2. Stay humble – Everyone makes mistakes on the road. If you’ve done something to upset another driver, an “I’m sorry” gesture such as a wave can help de-escalate the situation and keep everyone safe.
  3. Leave enough time – Delays happen. It’s a fact of life, but it can be particularly stressful when you’re running late. Plan ahead and allow ample time for the unexpected.
  4. Lay off the horn – Horns are meant to alert drivers to danger. Honking your horn to warn other drivers that your brakes are failing is appropriate; honking to express your dissatisfaction with someone else’s driving usually isn’t.
  5. Stay clear of angry drivers – Yelling at or making eye contact with an angry driver only escalate a bad situation. Focus on your own behavior, do your best to get to safety, and congratulate yourself on avoiding drama.

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