De-Escalate Road Rage with These 4 Tips

If you’ve ever encountered a driver who became aggressive toward you, you may have been a victim of road rage. This can include behaviors like following you too closely, cursing or making rude gestures, or trying to force you off the road. Unfortunately, this kind of behavior is more common than you may think, with 80% of drivers admitting to having aggression, significant anger, or road rage while behind the wheel.

From distracted driving to unexpected driving situations, there are many things that can trigger road rage. When this results in aggressive driving behaviors, it can quickly become dangerous. If you encounter this situation, it’s important to know the best and safest ways to deal with it. Start with these four tips.

1. Move to the Right and Decrease Your Speed

If you’ve made a driving mistake that has triggered someone to get aggressive toward you, try to de-escalate the situation by using your turn signal, slowing down, and moving to the right. By moving out of the way, you’re communicating that you did not mean to make the error and are attempting to remove yourself from the situation. 

No matter what the other driver does, do not stop your car and engage with them. Doing so can put you, your passengers, and others on the road in danger.

2. Apologetically Wave and Nod at the Driver

Once you move your vehicle out of the driver’s way, there’s a chance they may continue to behave aggressively, attempting to pass you or cut you off. If they look your way, nod and give an apologetic wave. This is a way to acknowledge that you made a mistake and apologize to the driver. Just be careful not to give a thumbs-up or make any other gesture that could be misunderstood as being aggressive, rude, or spiteful.

3. Avoid Eye Contact and Drive Defensively

Making direct eye contact with the other driver can be seen as an aggressive move, so avoid this if you can. Instead, keep your pace a bit slower and try to create some space between you and the driver.

If the driver continues to behave aggressively, you need to be prepared to use your defensive driving skills. Keep your hands on the steering wheel at 10 and 2 so you can maintain control of your vehicle and make quick movements if necessary. Stay alert and be ready to brake swiftly, yet gently, if the other driver swerves in front of you or cuts you off and slams on their brakes. 

4. Temper Your Own Reactions

When it comes to a potential road rage situation, the way you react can go a long way toward either escalating or diffusing it. This is the time to tap into your inner patience and avoid reacting aggressively to the other driver’s behavior.

Keep in mind that safety is always the top priority, and nothing is worth risking your life or the lives of your passengers. If you feel yourself wanting to react aggressively, practice deep breathing, count down from 100, or play some calming music. Do whatever you need to settle your emotions so you can respond to the situation in a calm, rational manner.

Prepare Yourself for Road Rage Incidents

Following these tips can help you safely get out of a potential road rage situation. If you’ve done everything you can and the other driver is still acting aggressively, use your hands-free mobile device to call 9-11 and report the incident.

Since you never know when you’ll find yourself in a situation like this, taking an online defensive driving course can help you prepare. offers Traffic School courses that can help you learn the best defensive driving methods. Check them out now to see how easy it is to sharpen your driving skills so you can make sure you're ready for whatever comes your way.

Take your Traffic School or Defensive Driving Course Online Today!

Learn More