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3 easy tips on how to deal with road rage as a truck driver

Cars on highway in bumper to bumper traffic.
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March 1, 2021

Truck drivers face aggressive drivers and experience road rage daily. Whether it’s caused by drivers tailgating, getting cut off, or indecisive motorists on the highway, these situations can be upsetting and extremely dangerous, especially when a semi-truck is involved.

So, what should truck drivers do when confronted with an angry or aggressive driver and how do you deal with road rage?

How to deal with road rage

Semi-trucks are especially difficult to maneuver and stop due to their large size and the additional weight of the freight being hauled. This means that truck drivers must always practice safe driving and avoid road rage situations.

The next time you start to feel road rage, try following these three tips:

1. Back off

Do not engage with an aggressive driver, as this will only lead to an increase in danger or even violence. Drivers should avoid gesturing, honking and even making eye contact with the other driver, as these behaviors often lead to more extreme road rage. Try to resist the urge to speed past the driver and give them more space instead.

Remember: Getting home safely is more important than teaching another driver a lesson. Instead of acting on road rage, try to back off from the aggressive driver.

2. Take a breath and relax

Try taking a few deep breaths and trying to relax. Turn on some tunes to take you out of the rage filled moment. Focus on something other than the anger and try to calm down.

Drivers should do their best to avoid getting emotionally caught up in a situation that causes road rage. It is easy to replay the scenario or continue to think about the dangerous situation, but this can be distracting and potentially lead to more dangerous situations.

If you are struggling to calm down on the road, it may be more helpful to safely pull over at a gas station or rest stop and take a minute or two to relax before getting back on the road again.

3. Imagine yourself in their situation

We all know that empathy can be a difficult thing to have after someone has just cut you off, but this step is vital when trying to keep calm.

Take a moment to consider that the aggressive driver that has been tailgating or cutting other motorists off may be emotional due to something else that happened that day. They may be running late for work or driving to attend to an urgent situation. The other driver may be distressed and responding negatively to their reckless driving may lead to a more violent or dangerous situation.

Don’t take their actions personally. Keep in mind that their actions may have been a mistake and that you are more than likely not the root of their anger or distress.

A frustrated driver dealing with road rage sits at the wheel of his truck.

Preventing future road rage

While it is helpful to know how to manage road rage in the moment, it is also important for driving professionals to know how to prevent future road rage situations. Drivers can also take the following steps to help limit future road rage:

  • Expect that there will be aggressive drivers on the road and stay calm: An easy way to avoid dangerous road rage situations is by driving defensively and being considerate and aware on the roads.
  • Commit to practicing safe driving techniques: Checking mirrors frequently, maintaining safe distances from other vehicles and using signal lights will help you, and those around you, stay safe on the roads. Drivers can also take advantage of courses offered by truck driving schools that explore the topic of road rage.
  • Spread the word about safe driving: Truck drivers can promote road safety and road rage awareness by educating family and friends about the dangers of road rage and the impact it can have when a truck is involved.

Want to learn more helpful safety tips?

Safety is Schneider’s top core value, which is why we are dedicated to educating drivers about the best safety practices. Check out all our safety related blogs to learn hundreds of helpful tips.
About the author
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Schneider Guy loves the "Big Orange." He's passionate about the trucking industry and connecting people to rewarding careers within it. He's been the eyes and ears of our company since our founding in 1935, and he's excited to interact with prospective and current Schneider associates through "A Slice of Orange."

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