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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883


Refrain from rage

News reports remind us that road rage is an impetus for collisions, fights and even death.  Stress can escalate during current conditions — refraining from letting it escalate to rage is paramount.

Other drivers may be as angry with you as you are with them.  Here are ten tips for avoiding becoming enraged or inciting it:

1.  Adopt a courteous, calm state of mind while at the wheel.  Be forgiving of others’ mistakes and poor driving.  Just because you have legal right of way does not mean every driver will give it to you.

2.  Don’t routinely honk your horn.  Blasting the horn to point out a driver’s error is not proper use of the device.  Using it as a warning to avoid a collision is its intended purpose.

3.  Don’t block the passing lane.  Stay right except to pass, just as the law and signs indicate.  It’s an easy rule; if you are in the left hand lane and you are not overtaking another vehicle (or positioning to turn left, or moving left to allow a merge), you are in error.

4.  Don’t change lanes or turn without signaling.  Using turn signals is simple and should be automatic; not using them is unsafe and a sure way to aggravate other drivers.

5.  Don’t take up more than one parking spot.  Whether you are parking sloppily or doing it on purpose to protect your special car, the practice tends to raise the ire of adjacent parkers.

6.  Don’t let your door hit the car parked next to you.  This is one of my pet peeves.  Every door ding reduces the value of a nice vehicle.  Whether on purpose or by mistake, the damage done is the same.  Use care when exiting a vehicle, especially when a tail wind is present.

7.  Don’t tailgate.  When the front of a trailing car or truck obliterates the view of everything else in your rear view mirrors, it’s intimidating and threatening.  Maintaining a two-second “distance” behind others is prudent at lower speeds, with a three to four second interval preferable for higher speeds.  Observe the vehicle ahead as it passes an object and note the time it takes you to reach that same point.

8.  Avoid unnecessary use of high beam headlights.  By all means, use you high beams when no traffic is present, but remember to dim them within 500 feet of oncoming traffic and within 300 feet when following a vehicle.

9.  Don’t inflict your loud music on nearby cars.  We have probably all been next to a vehicle playing some form of music with abundant low-end notes booming through high powered woofers.  Experiencing it should be enough to make one realize it’s not pleasant.  Seldom have I been sitting at a stop light just hoping that certain song would be blasting from the adjacent car; in fact, never.

10.  Allow plenty of time for each trip.  Roadway aggravation often arises over time issues.  If you are not in a hurry, it’s easier to forgive those who hinder your progress.

The old adage — treat others as you would want to be treated — applies well to driving and curtailing road rage.  We all make mistakes while driving — hopefully they are small, don’t cause collisions or rage, don’t cause others’ rage and we learn from them.

Readers may contact Bill Love via e-mail at