You’re not quite sure what just happened, but you certainly know what that one finger means. What is this driver’s problem? Before you react out of anger yourself, keep in mind that road rage escalates quickly and can end badly. The best way for you to defuse the situation is to stay calm yourself. Here are a few helpful tips:


It might sound elementary, but focusing on taking a deep, slow breath in the heat of the moment can do a lot to clear your thoughts and help you calm down.

Take a Time Out

Do whatever you need to do to calm down and keep from getting further involved in the volatile situation. This may mean that you avoid looking directly at the driver or that you turn up your music to get your attention on something else.

Flee the Scene

When you’re near another driver who is obviously acting out of anger, the best thing you can do to protect yourself is to get away from the driver as quickly—and as safely—as possible. Take the next exit off the Beltway or turn onto another road. Avoid rural roads just in case the driver attempts to follow you.

Call the Cops

We’re not suggesting you antagonize the other driver by pointing to your phone and mouthing the word “cops.” That will only make the situation worse. Get away from the driver first and then call the police to inform them of a potentially dangerous driver.

The more you can do to keep from getting further involved in a road rage incident, the more likely it is that the other driver may be able to calm down as well. Check out our library section for more helpful tips on avoiding a serious accident.

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