Mr. and Mrs. RVer happily start out on a trip they’ve planned for months. The rig is packed, fueled up, and ready to hit the highway. As the excited couple merges into traffic, it happens. A guy in a beat-up SUV honks and gestures angrily at the RVers as he passes them. Then, the SUV abruptly pulls in front of the RVer’s Class B. He stomps on his brakes and slows to a crawl right in front of the would-be vacationers.
And so, it begins… Mr. RVer has two choices. If he decides to ignore the road rage, the trip may continue as planned. However, if Mr. RVer decides to return the SUV guy’s honks along with some hand gestures of his own, this trip could take an unplanned detour.
The statistics are sobering. According to DriversEd.com: Road rage is the cause of nearly 1 in 3 crashes. About a third of crashes can be linked to road rage behaviors such as speeding, changing lanes without signaling, tailgating and illegal maneuvers.
Adding to the danger is that more than one-third of road rage incidents involve at least one driver with a firearm in their vehicle. (Source: DriversEd.com) Yipes! Can RVers prevent road rage in others? Maybe.
Here are some road rage tips for you:
- Obey traffic rules. This includes using your turn signals when required. And remember to turn off the signal after you change lanes!
- Allow plenty of time and space to turn onto a highway. The same goes as you merge into moving traffic. Safely accelerate to the speed limit (if possible) before you merge.
- Drive in the right lane except to pass in the left lane. This is especially important if you travel at or below the posted speed limit. (Exception: When you must exit from the left lane.)
- Be extra cautious when traffic is merging/turning into your lane. Many folks like to “get ahead” of RVs. Be ready for cars to try and squeeze in ahead of you. Slow down and let them, if you safely can.
- Know your route in advance. That way, you won’t need to make sudden lane changes, which can frighten or irritate other drivers.
- If you’re uncomfortable driving at higher speeds on interstates, consider taking state highways. (Bonus: You’ll experience the local folks, hometown diners, and attractions.)
What to do if someone rages at you:
- Avoid eye contact. Focus on the road ahead and take deep, calming breaths.
- Forget it. Drive on. (F.I.D.O.) The only person you can control is yourself. Choose to ignore bad behavior.
- Avoid honking or retaliating in any other way (even when you really want to!).
- Give the road-rager plenty of space, if possible.
- Relax your grip on the steering wheel. Unclench your jaw muscles, too.
- If someone is tailgating, move over (if you safely can) and let them pass.
- Call 9-1-1 or the local emergency number if the road-rager poses an imminent threat.
- If you’re followed by the road-rager, drive to the police station. Do not go home or stop somewhere to work things out.
Be sure you are road ready
- Get good rest before starting your trip. Tired folks are more easily agitated and angered.
- Give yourself plenty of time to reach your destination. Feeling pressure to “get there in time” can cause you to make poor driving choices and possibly instigate your own road rage.
- Avoid trigger foods – those that make you jittery or anxious.
- Listen to an audiobook or music you enjoy. Keep your vehicle temperature comfortable, too.
- Talk or think about the fun things you’ll do on vacation. Stay upbeat, relaxed, and happy.
Have you experienced road rage while RVing? Tell us about it in the comments below, please.