You may not know that giving in to road rage or avoiding road rage can make a big difference in what you pay for car insurance. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, road rage is somewhat different than aggressive driving. Aggressive driving violates traffic laws, but road rage involves more serious criminal actions that knowingly endanger other drivers and passengers. Running a red light to make a date is aggressive driving — running that light to tailgate a car you think cut you off is road rage.
Some of the most common expressions of road rage are aggressive tailgating, headlight flashing, and deliberately blocking other cars. And if you haven’t experienced it, then in all probability you’ve seen it on the highway. Maybe it was a red tinge to your vision, some “idiot” cut you off, someone in the left lane going more slowly than you wanted to go. There can be any number of triggers.
The primary reasons to avoid road rage are safety and general decency. Important, but somewhat further down the list is what you pay for car insurance. A big part of an individual’s car insurance rate is driving history. Because a road rage event shows up as a criminal offense, it’s a serious red flag. And most insurers restrict coverage for deliberate or reckless acts like road rage.
If you recognize symptoms of road rage in yourself, you can act to overcome it. Here are a few of the actions you can take. 1) Consider the cost of this behavior to yourself and your family; the danger it brings to you and other drivers (even if no one is injured or killed), the cost of tickets, lawyers, court costs, damage to vehicles and your insurance rates. 2) Be aware of your driving – what makes you angry and how long you stay angry. 3) Leave earlier for your destination – then a few second wait or minor inconvenience shouldn’t bug you as much.
Road ragers, men or women, do crazy things – they bump you, they run people off the road, they get a weapon, they yell, make hand gestures – they go out of control. So if you feel threatened, here is what you can do: 1) when tailgated, change lanes, 2) if someone wants to pass, slow down and let them, 3) don’t return gestures, 4) stay behind a person who is angry (they can do less damage if you’re behind them), 5) if necessary pull off the road or take an exit and let them go by, and 6) if one follows you, stay in your car, stop in a populated area, lock you doors, and call the police.
Bottom line – have a positive attitude and enjoy the drive. And, don’t be a jerk!