How to not go to prison for road rage
Stay cool. Stay safe. Stay out of prison
Ugh, other people. They’re the worst, right? And especially when they’re in cars. Going too fast. Going too slow. Not indicating. Tailgating. SITTING IN THE MIDDLE LANE. AAAARGH.
Driving would be a much less stressful experience if it wasn’t for all the other drivers on the road. But the dream of empty roads and no one annoying crossing your path is highly likely to remain just that.
It can be all too tempting, especially with all the other stresses and strains of modern life, to lose one’s rag at other drivers’ muppetry. Most of the time you can passive aggressively mutter “YOU’RE WELCOME, DINGBAT” under your breath and that’ll be the end of it. But when aggression overtakes passivity, which it can all-too-easily do, things can spiral. And before you know it, a careless gesture, a wound down window, a mouthful of abuse becomes a court case and a prison sentence. And that’s not good.
"HOOOOOOOOONK also why is my door open?"
A UK survey by Zurich Insurance saw 66% of drivers admit using threatening behaviour of some kind towards another road user. An RAC report found 43% of UK drivers had been on the receiving end. In 2018, some 28% of motorists say it’s the number one issue on the roads.
So what can do you to chill the heck out and avoid a lengthy spell at Her Majesty’s pleasure?
Start your journey before you need to
Many cases of road rage arise from frustration at being kept waiting. If you’re in a hurry, you’re more likely to be stressed and even if it’s not you driving like a plum, someone else doing so and holding you up can really up the nark factor. Give yourself extra time, and then if you end up losing a few minutes to someone doing 35 in a 60 zone, it’s not going to make you late.
Remember that we’re all only human
"WHAT ARE YOU DOING also look I have a Tesla" (Photo: NeONBRAND on Unsplash)
If someone in front of you has messed up and done something silly, ask yourself; have you ever made a mistake? Yes. The answer is yes. We’ve all done it. Just roll your eyes and be thankful it wasn’t you this time.
Turn the other cheek
If someone has a go at you, whether justified or not, don’t be tempted to stick up a middle finger or PIT manoeuvre them into the central reservation. Instead, remember what Elsa says in Frozen. No, not the thing about the snowman. LET IT GOOO, LET IT GOOOOOO.
Apologise if it was your fault
Made a booboo? Be the bigger person and admit you’re wrong. Raise your hand, mouth an apology, and chances are whoever you’ve just inadvertently cut up will LET IT GOOO, LET IT GOOOOO (sorry).
Dob them in
"I have you now, Captain Aggressive Pants"
Snitches get stitches? No, nuts to that. If you spot someone doing something particularly stupid, you need to let the authorities know before they hurt someone. Obviously if they’ve just done something relatively minor then don’t call 999 and demand an Armed Response Unit, but for something seriously aggressive or dangerous, let the plod know. This is where it’s very useful to have a dashcam recording as evidence.
Turn to technology
Road rage? There’s an app for that. The Carma app connects to your car’s Bluetooth system and will respond to preset vocal phrases in a manner that should help defuse the situation. For example, when someone cuts you up, yell “EXTERMINATE” and the app will play amusing sounds of destruction, negating the need for you to actually exterminate them. No extermination, no prison! It’s available for both Apple and Android devices, costs £3.99 and is ad-free. There's no monthly subscription either. Check it out here.