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You are traveling down the interstate according to the posted speed limit. Everyone around you is doing the same. Suddenly, the traffic comes to a grinding halt. The more you are stopped, the more impatient you become. Cars start using the shoulder to get a little further ahead or off at the next exit. You become irritated with them. Why can’t they wait like everyone else? Eventually, you decide to use the shoulder as well. An exit is within sight, so you will get off and take a different rout to your destination. As you approach the end of the exit ramp, you get stuck again. As you try to merge onto the road a car quickly approaches and prevents you from entering the lane. You both keep driving; both determine to win. Does this situation sound similar?

Increasingly congested roadways are a growing source of driver frustration, but the real problem is our natural instincts to be territorial. We are always in a hurry to get to the next place. Some drivers see traffic jams as an obstacle they need to overcome no matter what the cost. We are becoming accustomed to instantaneous results in everything we do, even behind the wheel. This attitude can put us and others in dangerous situations on the roadways.

We can lose our temper once in a while, but losing it in a driving situation is potentially life threatening, and it is easily preventable. How can you avoid being the victim of an aggressive driver and road rage? Here are a few tips that can help.

1. Get plenty of rest. Sleep keeps you calm and focused on your driving. Lack of sleep makes you prone to irritable, becoming annoyed, resentful, and angry.

  1. Plan ahead. Leave plenty of time to reach your destination.
  2. Try to de-stress. If you notice you are clenching the steering wheel in a death grip, try flexing your fingers and loosening your hold.
  3. If you’re on a prolonged road trip, take frequent breaks to avoid fatigue.
  4. Don’t view a driver’s actions as a personal attack on you. Maybe the driver made a mistake or was not paying attention. Perhaps there was a crying child or a bee got in the car.
  5. Do not give into anger. It will not resolve the situation and it could put you in danger.
  6. Be Aware: Be alert to road and traffic changes. Recognize potential hazards. Watch for unexpected lane changes or other signals from other drivers.

An angry driver can’t start a fight unless another is willing to join in. Don’t be tempted to retaliate. It could be a decision you regret later. Instead, give the angry driver plenty of space. Isn’t that better than finding yourself in a potentially dangerous situation? Avoid eye contact and if necessary, seek help. Remember, the most important thing when it comes to protecting yourself is that there is nothing to gain from willfully engaging in a physical confrontation with an angry person. The so-called winner can face legal ramifications and the so-called loser may face permanent injuries or death.

Mark Bello has thirty-three years experience as a trial lawyer and twelve years as an underwriter and situational analyst in the lawsuit funding industry. He is the owner and founder of Lawsuit Financial Corporation which helps provide cash flow solutions and consulting when necessities of life funding is needed during litigation. Bello is a Justice Pac member of the American Association for Justice, Sustaining and Justice Pac member of the Michigan Association for Justice, Business Associate of the Florida, Tennessee, and Colorado Associations for Justice, a member of the American Bar Association, the State Bar of Michigan and the Injury Board.

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