Recently I was asked to discuss personal security, more specifically how to deal with road rage. I think before we can discuss personal security you have to have personal tenets or an organized belief in self-preservation. How can you protect others if you can’t even protect yourself? First you must understand and develop your attitude and beliefs about real world survival. What is your psychological make-up? Do you really know yourself? How will you react under fire or under attack? Can you make critical decisions under stress? We all have our norms, but those norms change in a fraction of a second under fire if you are not prepared and have not done some level of training. Remember what you think, say and do, ultimately you will become. Don’t be one of the many victims running around all day believing it can’t happen to me. Knowledge is the key to success and survival. Like it or not we do live in an animal kingdom.
Have you ever heard of the term purposeful action? If for nothing else, have a plan before you get out on the road. A lot of things can go wrong from the time you leave your house to the time you get to your destination and back. You are probably closer to danger all the time and don’t even have a clue. Even if you try to drive the speed limit and follow the rules, someone out there is getting pissed at you, judging you and your driving habits. Even if you don’t think that way, it’s happening. Most of us automatically want to do something stupid, thinking we are making some asshole’s life miserable while they are trying to pass you, slow you down, and ride your bumper and more. You don’t even know it but you have already engaged in a disagreement, thinking the car you are in will protect you. It’s nothing but metal wrap unless you have taken a defensive driving course. So let’s move forward to what you can do once a road rage situation begins to escalate. Like any other situation, you first want to try and deescalate the situation before it becomes violent. If you are not armed and a natural bad-ass you might want to get humble and wave instead of flipping the guy off.
From the on-set of what you think might be a situation where someone is starting to get hot and angry at you, first attempt giving yourself a cushion and adequate space between you and the other vehicle. Look for ways to escape from the situation, but don’t drive into a dangerous urban neighborhood. This could actually be a set-up from the start, someone trying to get you to pull over or take the next exit. They may not be acting alone. When you are driving keep an eye out for cars that may be following you or vehicles that get in front of you and slow down. They could be doing this for a number of reasons, but this is when you need to keep a cooler head, avoid tunnel vision. Tunnel vision and anger will cause you to lose track of your surroundings and lose control of the situation. Remember to always leave room for an escape route. Listen there are so many factors that motivate criminals and crazies you may never know the real deal of what reasons or why someone is getting into it with you on the road. In some areas like Obama’s home of Chicago and Detroit there are actually organized gangs out on the road carjacking. This is a very sophisticated craft and crime; so much in fact the government has task forces reacting to this. So if confronted with something that seems like simple road rage never lose site of the bigger picture. Big picture thinking can save your life and help you avoid reacting from tunnel vision, fear or your own anger. Don’t get baited into a losing situation. There are very limited winning versions of road rage.
The winning version is that you are doing everything 100% right, someone gets road rage at you, and the police happen to drive up next to you. How often are the police there when you need them? Maybe they do some stupid driving act just to get at you, possible endangering you, flip you the finger, you wave back and they drive off. Suppose you have your kid in the car or you are driving in a secluded area at night with no lighting. Then you have to resort back to big picture thinking. Dial 911 keep driving until you get to a well-lit location or populated store or parking lot. You can give yourself a chance, but don’t think for a minute by-standers will help you out if you are assaulted in a parking lot. In these days they are more likely to make a YouTube video of the attack. You are on your own baby. SO what do you do?