Alberta Cancer Foundation

Rage in the Machine

While you can’t control the weather, you can take steps to make your commute less stressful.

“Road rage is basically aggressive driving,” says Rick Lang, an Edmonton-based manager of personal operations and AMA driver education. We’ve all seen those drivers and know what the warning signs are – tailgating, honking and changing lanes erratically – and Lang says your best defense is predictability. For example, he says, “If you’re in the curb lane, stay in the curb lane unless you have a reason to go into the left lane or vice versa.” The more lane changes you do, the more spontaneous you appear to other drivers, making them wary or frustrated.

Following the basics of road safety also sets drivers up for success. Shoulder checking and signalling will prevent you from cutting anyone off. Keeping your headlights on, especially at this time of year when daylight is minimal, makes your car more visible to others.

There will always be drivers who have aggressive habits and it’s best not to make eye contact with them. “That could be like lighting of the fuse,” Lang says. He suggests letting the other driver go first and just get to your destination a few seconds later than planned. “I would rather have someone who is driving aggressively in front of me than behind me,” he says. Above all, avoid retaliating with your car horn or with rude gestures. It isn’t worth it.