There are many theories about the causes of road rage. Some blame it on unbalanced drivers, who have emotional or psychological issues. Others say it’s caused by the stress of modern society and by crowded roads. In any case, it’s important for safety’s sake to avoid doing it or triggering it in others.

One way you can accomplish this is by recognizing common road rage scenarios in advance before they automatically trigger anger in you, or avoid them so that you don’t trigger it in others. Three of these scenarios are:

Failing to Pass in the Passing Lane

Sometimes motorists in the passing lane match the speed of cars in the adjacent lane to their right. When doing this, they block the flow of faster traffic who have little choice but to slow down. Sometimes people aren’t aware that they’re doing this, or don’t want to exceed the speed limit. If this is you, move into the lane to your right as soon as you can, whether or not someone behind you wants to get by. If you’re trying to pass someone in front who is doing this, flash your headlights a few times without tailgating. Hopefully the person will change lanes. If not, relax, be patient, and don’t engage in aggressive behavior of any kind.

Being Cut Off

When someone cuts dangerously close in front of you, the temptation may be strong to get angry, and perhaps teach the person a lesson. However, this act of getting even is considered road rage and can escalate further, especially if the other person is prone to road rage. In addition, if a patrol car witnesses you doing this, the penalties can be quite severe. Instead, slow down and maintain a safe following distance. Avoid eye contact and angry gestures.

Being Tailgated

Some people tailgate to express anger or to signal you to speed up or move out of their way. Others do it habitually as a matter of course. When this happens, move to the right when you can without making gestures of any kind. Hitting the brakes is a dangerous act of road rage. This can cause a rear-end car accident or cause the tailgater to over-react and lose control of their car. This is not something you want.

In addition, don’t play passive-aggressive games with the person by gradually slowing down and then speeding up when the tailgater tries to pass you on the right side. Safely move out of the person’s way when you can.

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