According to a recent study published in the journal Accident Analysis and Prevention and authored by researchers led by Christine Wickens, about half of all road collisions are caused at least in part by road rage. According to the researchers from the Center for Addiction and Mental Health, motorists are especially likely to react with rage in cases where another motorist is weaving in and out of traffic. So what can be done to prevent road-rage-related car collisions in Miami and across South Florida? According to experts, there are several things every motorist can do:
1) Get plenty of sleep. According to the National Sleep Foundation, sleepiness and lack of sleep can contribute to irritability and can lead to road rage. Fatigued driving has also been linked to traffic and truck accidents in Miami and across the country.
2) Plan ahead. Leaving yourself with just enough time to get to your destination increases your stress level and makes you more likely to take risks – risks that could lead to a pedestrian accident in Miami or in your community. Give yourself plenty of time and have a plan to get to your destination so that you are not frazzled as you drive.
3) Learn to recognize the signs of road rage. Even very aggressive drivers tend to see themselves as good and courteous drivers. Signs of road rage can include speeding, yelling, making aggressive gestures, weaving in and out of traffic, ignoring traffic signals, and gesturing at other drivers. Motorists affected by road rage may also find their hearts racing or may find themselves gripping the steering wheel very tightly.
4) Set aside time to relax in the car. Make it a habit to evaluate your mental state as you drive. For example, you can decide to self-evaluate at every red light you stop at or whenever a song ends on the radio. Check to see whether you are angry, stressed, yelling, or gripping the steering wheel tight. If you exhibit signs of road rage, switch to soothing music, count to ten, and breathe deeply. If you are very angry, pull over until you have a handle on your emotions.
5) Talk yourself down when someone makes you angry. If you find yourself getting furious on the road, talk to yourself to calm yourself down. Explain out loud what made you angry and what a productive way to deal with that might be. Controlling your road rage rather than acting on it can help you avert a traffic accident in Miami or your community.
6) Learn more about road rage. Organizations such as Reaching Out Against Road Rage (R.O.A.R.R) have plenty of resources. You can volunteer to help stop accidents caused by road rage or just learn how to be a calmer driver.
7) Drive sober. Drunk driving accidents in Miami and other communities already cost far too many lives. Alcohol and drugs can also lower inhibitions and can therefore make it harder for you to control your emotions if another motorist does something that makes you irritable.