In Los Angeles, there has been an increase in accidents relating to road rage incidents. According to the crime dataset of the Los Angeles Police Department, 280 road rage reports have been made in the first four months of this year, a significant increase from last year’s 198. The alarming rise in angry drivers have been thought to be a side effect of the country’s mental health crisis, stemming from the onslaught of the COVID-19 pandemic. As a matter of fact, it’s gotten to the point where gun-related road rage incidents have also spiked. Everytown Research & Policy reported in their study that within five years (2016-2021), not only have gun-related incidents of road rage increased from 610 to 728, the percentage of those that resulted in injury or death also have. In 2016, only 34% of these instances resulted in any physical harm. Compare this to 2021’s 62%.
As a Los Angeles personal injury firm, the team at Omega Law Group has grown increasingly concerned about the sudden spike of car accidents that have resulted from the actions of road ragers. But it’s all important to avoid engaging in the blame game. Fact of the matter is that we are all susceptible to becoming one ourselves. But there are some things you can do to quell the angry driver within.
You can avoid becoming a contributor to road rage by doing the following:
TAKE A DEEP BREATH BEFORE DRIVING
Taking a deep breath before going on the road helps ease the rage that you may feel later on. This helps put you in a calm mental state, easing the anger you could have towards other drivers on the road. Keeping your cool on the road is important as it will bar you from making any rash driving decisions that would only affect you in the long run.
DON’T DRIVE WHEN YOU’RE AGITATED
There’s only so much your breathing exercises can do. In the heat of the moment, you may feel compelled to storm out elsewhere due to an argument and drive far far away to calm down.
This is not a good idea. If you’re not in a head space to focus on driving because you’re feeling agitated, you could end up engaging in a cognitive distraction, one of the three main types of distracted driving. Driving like this could land you in the hospital or six feet underground.
LET GO OF THINGS OUT OF YOUR CONTROL
If you spot a driver not following traffic rules and has inconvenienced you on the road as a result, the best course of action is to let it go. You cannot help the way other people drive on the road. What you can control, however, is your reaction. Understand that these types of people will be behind the wheel regardless of how careful you are. Acting on the driver’s recklessness will only endanger your life and escalate the situation. Let. Go.
LISTEN TO MUSIC THAT CALMS YOU DOWN
To further establish a calming driving ambiance, listening to music that calms you down helps ease any slight irritation you may feel towards other drivers. A lot of people listen to classical music or LO-FI music to achieve this. The key is to figure out what music calms YOU down personally.
DON’T BE IN A RUSH
When you’re anxious to get from one place to another, you will probably have heightened feelings of negativity when you encounter slow or reckless drivers. The key to avoiding road rage is to quell such feelings first and foremost, and one way you can ensure that is to not be in a rush. When you make a commitment to show up on time to a certain event, aim to be there 15 minutes before it starts. Doing so allows you the leeway to take your time on the road, and also eases the pressure you feel to get there on time. This allows you to be more receptive to whatever drivers around you are doing.
ONLY USE YOUR HORNS WHEN NECESSARY
Using your horns is an excellent way to communicate with other drivers, and may even avoid accidents from happening. But you should only do so when it’s appropriate and when it’s necessary. For example, when a driver is merging in your lane and you’re in the blindspot, chances are they probably didn’t check before switching lanes. Honking your horns will signal your presence, and compel the driver to stop. On the other hand, if you’re using it to spite a driver on the road, this may further escalate the situation and will increase the likelihood of an accident.
INSTALL A DASH CAM
Installing a dash cam may help ease road rage as it could lift the worries that you may have about a potential accident. You’ll be comforted knowing that if something were to happen to you due to the actions of a careless driver, you have something at your disposal that proves their recklessness. A dash cam also holds you accountable to practice safe driving.
TAKE A BREAK
When you’re feeling bouts of rage, taking a break could do wonders for your safety as well as the drivers around you. This is especially beneficial when the rage becomes too all-encompassing. Taking a break allows you to redirect your focus to the task at hand: driving. You could do this by pulling over to the side of the road, and allowing yourself the moment to let it all out before proceeding to drive again.
ASK YOUR PASSENGER IF THEY CAN DRIVE INSTEAD
Sometimes, you may go behind the wheel thinking you are well-equipped mentally to take on the task of driving. But the road is an unpredictable place and you may encounter people or things that trigger your rage. When you are unable to let this feeling subside, ask the passenger you’re with if they can drive instead. It’s in their best interest to get out of the car alive. Explain to them where you are at mentally, and they will probably be more than happy to drive for you.
SEEK PROFESSIONAL HELP
If all else fails, seeking professional help could do wonders for you. Road rage may be a sign of a deep seething issue that, if left unaddressed, may impact not only your quality of life, but of those on the road as well. The past few years have been incredibly hard for a lot of people, and taking care of your mental health should be at an utmost priority as your failure to do so could lead you to make decisions that you may regret.
CALL OMEGA LAW GROUP
Despite being well-equipped with all the proper tools necessary to alleviate feelings of rage on the road, there’s a good chance that a road rager is driving amok in these Los Angeles streets. Driving in LA is an arduous task, and there’s a chance you could be in contact with such drivers. If this happens, you will need the best personal injury law firm in the city: Omega Law Group, PC.