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Road Rage: Sports Parents Victims Too

Do you ever feel like the dad inthe Volvo television commercial racing from his son's swim meet to his daughter's soccer game? Or feel like the mother who is driving the SUV to and from her daughter's soccer game with a pile of her teammates in the back?
Do you occasionally feel like your head is going to explode when you are racing from one event to the next? Winter brings aditional challenges unlike the summer  challenges. Weather conditions can be as tricky (snow, ice, lightning, hail, flooding, wind and summer cloudbursts).Driving to the additional games, practices and lessons on top of all ofthe other summer activities with nervous or cranky kids can make you feel like screaming.
It doesn't matter whether you're racing against the clock to get to a game or practice, with the car full of kids, stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic, emotions can get the best of us. What we do with our anger and how we deal with other drivers will make all the difference in how we act once we get to the event we are going to and whether we get there safely.
Road rage and "aggressive driving" claims thousands of lives a year. The National HighwayTransportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that aggressive driving has been responsible for 2.28 million crashes and 27,935 traffic fatalities in the past five years. Interactions that might have involved non-violent gestures a few years back now may involve golf clubs or weapons. And, the deadliest weapons of all are vehicles themselves.

Safe driving strategies

A driver cuts wildly in and out of traffic, rides your back bumper, flashes lights and honks at you, cuts you off, yells and makes an obscene gesture. What should you do when you are the victim of someone else's aggressive driving and road rage?

According to a public information by Dr. Jerry Deffenbacher, here are some tips on dealing with road rage:

  • Take road rage seriously: You could be dealing with a volatile, unstable person with a gun, or a person who, at the slightest provocation, may ram your car or attack you. It pays to be cautious: Treat every situation as potentially dangerous and explosive.

  • Do not inflame the situation: The situation must be handled in a calm, safe manner that gets you away from the conflict. DO NOT make eye contact, make faces or gestures, yell, flash your lights, or honk your horn.

  • Do not be manipulated: It is natural for you not to want to be pushed around. However, reacting that way will only inflame the other person. Cool heads prevail in these situations. If other drivers want to get the best of you in dangerous and childish ways, let them have the road; you and your family will be the winner.

  • Disengage: Life is too valuable to let someone with road rage affect you. Do whatever you reasonably can to avoid the person, making it harder for them to assault you. Back away, focus on safe driving and disengage. Do not pull over or get out of your car.

  • Seek Help: If the situation merits, pull over and use your cell phone to call for help. Do not hesitate to report the driver, providing as much information as possible. This may avoid a violent situation, and may eliminate other incidents of road rage.