Thursday, March 30, 2023


How common is RV drivers’ road rage, and what can be done about it?

Dear RV Shrink:
I have an ongoing problem with road rage. He sits right next to me in the motorhome and swears a blue streak at the outside world as we drive down the road. If we are in rural areas he seems like a perfectly normal, compassionate human being. When we get into heavy traffic congestion, construction zones, or have to turn around because of a missed turn, he goes nutso!

I think he needs a course in anger management but he tells me he is working on a home remedy to “just say no” to spells of frustration and the rage that follows. Can you help us? Is this a normal RV symptom? I see rigs much larger than our Class C with a toad, but I can’t hear into the cockpit of those rigs. Maybe everyone is raging on down the road. Let me know what you think and what I should do to combat my husband’s road hostilities. —Blue Streak in Biloxi

Dear B S:
I think this is more common than many people like to admit. You don’t hear this often in campground conversation, but you can bet it is more common than people let you believe.

Many drivers are capable but not comfortable towing a large rig. I know a retired tour bus driver that spent his career driving 40-foot tour buses into New York City and Boston but couldn’t get used to pulling a 30-foot fifth wheel. I met a woman who couldn’t stand to listen to her husband swear and talk to other drivers that irritated him. She bought him a sound device that made various weapon sounds. He would use his machine gun or rocket launcher sounds to vent his frustrations.

Om symbol

It is no different from trying to kick a smoking habit. You have to want to quit and work hard at keeping your wits about you. Another thought would be to have your husband pull off to the side of the road immediately and do some deep breathing, yoga relaxation poses and make various meditative sounds to connect his RV spirit to the primordial Om sounds resonating throughout the universe.

Relaxing and building mental capacity for patience is the key. Rage can ruin a trip, cause unhealthy stress, become a safety issue and ruin a traveling relationship. You may want to do some of the driving when you see your husband going off the deep end. That will be his signal that he is going too far. It may help him put his actions into perspective and mellow him out a bit. —Keep Smilin’, Richard Mallery a.k.a. Dr. R.V. Shrink

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2 years ago

Well what can I say. I also help with the driving and my blue streak can be just as bad as his or worse. I do it in the car all the time and know it disturbed my mother, but I feel so much better afterward and can then relax. So now she ignores us. In the defense of men, I don’t think that women who don’t drive understand the stress and how blowing off steam helps. When we use to go to Oklahoma a lot we would run the gantlet in Dallas rather than driving miles out of the way on just as equally congested loops. To the ladies just let them talk, shout, curse and then worry if they pull out a gun. Be the best copilot you can be and watch out your side window and mirror to let them know of a possible problem.

Gene Bjerke
3 years ago

Don’t worry about his rude comments. It doesn’t make much difference what one says, what counts is what one does. Both me and my wife make rude comments to stupid (other) drivers, it helps blow off some steam. What I do, is drive as calmly and conservatively as I can.

3 years ago

Yep you can’t fix stupid. I wonder how many RV drivers act the same as all the “stupid “ drivers when they are not in their RV. I recently followed a truck towing a fifth wheel in storage lot. He used his turn signals and left space in front for stopping. We both dropped off our RVs and when he left he became one of the “stupid drivers”. He pulled out in front of a Fed X truck that had to hit the brakes and didn’t use his turn signals at any point that I saw.

3 years ago

Get him some vitamin “B” Stress tabs:)

3 years ago

I try hard to be in a “mellow” mood whenever I hitch up. Sometimes family or mechanical issues interfere with that, but I remind myself that this is a vacation, we’re in no *real* rush despite my (insanely long?) 12-hr drive days, etc. I’m pretty good leaving my little town, but then I encounter IDIOTS, who literally tailgate below my tailgate, draft behind/inside my trailer’s profile, or swerve across my nose again UNDER my hoodline. There’s no excuse, and they ARE putting my family in danger with their stupidity. I drive quite defensively, looking out for the idiots, creating space FOR them when I can. I pull over periodically to choose where to ‘drain’ any line of cars behind me.

3 years ago
Reply to  Wolfe

Equipment wise, I also aid myself with cameras and sonar surrounding the trailer, so I will know cars are in bad places. I’m currently debating a sonar-activated “BACK OFF” sign for my trailer, but I suspect “you can’t fix stupid” and the target audience wouldn’t respect the reminder.

3 years ago

Boy is this a touchy subject. Being a retired truck driver, I had a saying ” Ya can’t fix stupid” It’s how some people drive – no use of turn signals, following to close ( might as well hooked up to our RV), or the lane change to gain one car length, high beams on all the time, the NJ (sorry NJ) must be in high speed lane to make a right hand exit, when entering multi lane highway merging with traffic at the posted speed, or just stopping at top of entrance ramp ??? The list could go on.

3 years ago

Before we set off on a trip, my husband ‘drives’ the route on Google Earth so that he can be as prepared as possible. We are planning a cross-country trip this summer, and we are specifically planning our route to avoid some of the worst big city traffic. I will say that he just gets into a ‘mellow’ mindset when he gets behind the wheel of our RV—much different than when he drives our regular vehicle.

Tom Fitch
3 years ago
Reply to  Linda

Excellent advice! I too find that it’s the unexpected disappointments that causes the most angst. If I can have a good idea of what I will be encountering and make adjustments beforehand, it’s easier to stay in my happy place!

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