Last week, another road rage incident in Chattanooga, TN made national headlines. A driver and her son were confronted, threatened, and verbally assaulted by another driver. Incidents like this can happen anywhere at any time.
As mothers, we are often out driving during odd hours of the day and night, usually solo with just our children. Like the mother mentioned above, the aggressor can be incredibly threatening and things can escalate rather quickly.
If you find yourself in the middle of a road rage situation, here are ten ways to stay safe:
1. Stay calm and don’t react.
The most important thing is to stay calm and avoid escalating the situation. Don’t make any sudden moves or respond to provocations. Hand gestures may also escalate the situation inadvertently.
2. Get out of the way and hang back.
If possible, get out of the way of the other car. This will help minimize the risk of an accident. Try slowing your speed to allow them to continue ahead of you. This may give you an opportunity to exit a dangerous highway if needed.
3. Keep your doors locked.
Keep your doors locked and windows up until you feel safe exiting the car.
4. Avoid eye contact.
Don’t make any eye contact with the other driver; this can be seen as challenging and escalate the situation.
5. Put on your hazards.
If it’s safe to do so, put on your hazards to indicate that you want to get out of the situation. It can also alert other drivers to the problem.
6. Drive to a police station or another public place.
If you feel like you’re in immediate danger, drive to a police station or another public place where there will be people around. This may deter the aggressor from exiting their car.
7. Call someone you know to listen and help if necessary.
If your car is equipped with hands-free calling, you can call a friend to help calm you down and be an audible witness if anything were to happen. You can also relay license plate information as well as a description of the other driver and car.
8. Call 911 if necessary.
If things start to get really dangerous, call 911 and ask for help. You can even ask the friend you have on the line to do this for you so you can concentrate on driving safely.
9. Be aware of your surroundings.
Keep an eye out for potential weapons either in the other car or on the road itself (like broken glass).
10. Make sure kids are properly restrained.
You never know how far a situation will escalate. Take the time to ensure your children are all properly restrained.
While road rage can be a frightening experience, there are several things you can do to increase the chance you’ll stay safe. Remember that the other driver is unlikely able to reason, so try to remain calm to keep the situation as diffused as possible. If you have a child entering driving age, be sure to talk to them about safety regarding aggressive drivers and go over some of the tips above. By following them, you can increase your chances of leaving the incident with little to no violence.