Motorists on the roadway can be calm, cool and collected or on edge with tempers ready to flare. Unfortunately, it seems to be more commonplace for tempers to boil over on the roadway. When drivers get angry and irritated as they are driving down the road the resulting behavior is road rage.
There is no true definition for road rage. It is more of a term used to characterize the attitudes exhibited when a motorist loses their temper as a reaction to a traffic incident. The incident can be something as slight as a person moving into their lane or driving slowly in the fast lane. Road rage seems to be more common as the volume of traffic on the road continues to rise.
Road rage is more typical of aggressive drivers. These are the drivers that tend to drive faster and change lanes more often. They like to be the first one off the line at the traffic light and want the whole fast lane to themselves. The United States Safety Office has calculated that tens of thousands of accidents each year can be linked directly to aggressive driving. They include road rage as an attribute of aggressive drivers.
It is hard to predict what can send a driver spinning out of control. You might not even know you upset a fellow motorist till they are tailgating you, cutting you off while showing you hand gestures or yelling at you out their window. That can be a very uncomfortable or potentially dangerous situation you should get out of at once.
To stop the road rage incident from continuing, try to get away from the other motorist as soon as possible. This might mean backing off the gas or changing lanes. Also calm yourself down. You want to get back into the rhythm of driving.
Road rage is becoming commonplace as roadways continue to become overcrowded with cars. Though you might not even know what you did to upset another driver you can try to diffuse the situation. The best way might be a simple sorry said either verbally or through a gesture.
Most motorists showing road rage will drop the matter if they believe the other driver is apologetic for their "bad" driving. They will stop trying to teach you a lesson and continue on their merry way. Others might not like any gesture so you might decide it is better not to make any eye contact or make any gestures and just move away from the other car.
Use common sense when driving. If an aggressive motorist is showing signs of road rage towards you, try to apologize and move out of the way. This will hopefully diffuse the situation and allow the both of you to continue driving with calm, cooler heads concentrating on the road ahead.