I’ve been an instructor for many years now and I’ve seen some rather interesting behaviors from my fellow road users, and I’ve often wondered why drivers behave the way they do on our roads. I’m sure most of us have been there where some guy cuts you off, or you’re waiting for the guy in front to finish their text before going on the green light in front of them. In those situations we can get filled with anger. The fascinating part about all of this is how if the same things were to happen in the lineup at the grocery store, we would likely behave differently. It’s not often you see someone pull a horn out of their pocket, or give the person in front the middle finger salute. How can ¼” of windshield and a bunch of plastic and an engine, change the way we behave in public? I am not a qualified psychiatrist nor do I have all the answers, but I would offer some advice that you may or may not choose to heed.
Firstly and most importantly, have a good attitude before you get into the vehicle. Chances are you will be less likely to get too upset if someone does something they perhaps should not have done. You will be more likely to shrug it off and forgive the driver for being human. The next most important thing you can do is give yourself plenty of time to get to your destination. I know we’ve all been late for something, and that can greatly affect our driving and behaviour as a fellow road user. If we were in less of a rush, we’re probably less likely to be eating, shaving, texting or engaging in other distracting behaviours, and as a result, less likely to induce road rage from others. With the right attitude and ample time to get to our destination we would be a more focused driver and more likely to adhere to the rules of the road and avoid crashing or near misses for that matter.
Finally - and this is the difficult part - try and understand why the other drivers are behaving they way they are.Perhaps they just spent the last 3 hours on the 400 northbound sitting in traffic just wanting nothing else than to get home to their family and have some dinner. Maybe their boss just chewed them out, or their kid’s university wants more money, or maybe they just don’t enjoy driving. So how about the next time someone cuts you off or fails to signal - to try and not take it personally. Chances are it really isn’t aimed at you; they are just another human trying to cope with life’s realities. Conversely, let’s do our best not to trigger someone else’s anger and accept the fact that we all need to somehow get along. Let’s accept that we’re all human prone to make mistakes and play nice in the pool by sharing the road safely!