Every truck driver has been there before. Minding your own business in the right lane, when a car races up from behind you, gets right in front of you then slows down to 5 below the speed limit. These situations, along with countless others can lead to the all-too-common problem of truck driver road rage.
Road rage causes a number of problems on its own, but for truck drivers, these problems get amplified due to the nature of their work. We love trucks for their size and beauty, but that truck becomes 10 tons of danger when you add in a frustrated driver and a congested highway. Here’s what truck drivers should know about road rage and how to avoid it.
What is Road Rage?
Road rage is any angry or overly aggressive act performed by a driver while on the road. It can take a number of forms, but road rage is most commonly yelling, tailgating, matching speeds with the offending party, and honking.
Surprisingly, road rage among drivers is much more common than you would think. It’s not just a small group of angry drivers who are honking their horns, making rude gestures, and cutting people off. A recent study found that 82% of respondents admitted to committing an act of road rage at some point over the past year.
Consequences of Road Rage
Being a truck driver can be an exhausting profession even when a driver is in the best of moods. When they’re not, it can make that 10 hours of driving feel like 20. Anger and other intense emotions have been shown to lead to exhaustion, meaning you’ll be burnt out much quicker and not at your sharpest while on the road.
Being pulled over is another possible consequence of road rage. If you’re letting it get the better of you on a regular basis, expect to eventually be pulled over and given a traffic violation because of it. Enough traffic violations on your CDL and it could eventually get suspended anywhere from two to four months. This might not seem like a lot at first, but that’s two to four months where truck driving won’t be a source of income.
But the biggest consequence of truck driver road rage is the chance of accident and injury. Driving angry means you’re not thinking rationally. You’re more likely to drive faster and do risky maneuvers that could put you or other drivers in serious danger.
How to Deal with Road Rage
The first step in dealing with road rage is to recognize when it’s coming on. Once you start to feel those emotions begin to surface, don’t fall into the same routine of acting on them. After you’ve recognized it, you can do a few different things to help keep your cool.
The first is to think about how much you have to lose. Aside from your truck and your job, your life and the lives of others could be at risk. Nothing in the world is worth that.
The second thing to think about is that in the grand scheme of things, this moment really doesn’t matter. Odds are that in a few minutes you won’t even be able to remember the color of the vehicle that offended you. Even if you’re completely justified in your anger, the best thing you can do is move on.
All drivers are at their best when they’re not overly emotional, and that’s especially true for truck drivers. Every day you’re on the road, you’ll likely encounter something that you could get angry about. You’ll be cut off, beeped at, or tailgated by an impatient driver for not going 80 in the right lane.
These things are bound to happen, and there’s not much you can do to control them. The only thing you can control is your reaction to them. Once you’ve mastered that, road rage won’t be a problem in your career as a professional truck driver.