I can still remember like it was yesterday, driving along minding my own business when I looked into my rear-view mirror only to see a man in a white SUV sticking his middle finger up at me. Somehow I made it through 16 years of driving and briefly living in Long Island (where I was introduced to my horn) without being the recipient of "the finger" from an aggressive driver.
How would you react to this situation? Would you give the finger right back? Would questions start flooding your head? If you were driving too slowly? If you did something wrong? Wonder why was he so angry? It would be rare to find answers to these questions because you don't know the person in the "other car". You don't know what is going on in their life, or what has set them off. Hence, I'll never know exactly what happened to the man in the white SUV except that he had ROAD RAGE. He made a rude gesture to intimidate or relieve frustration.
Many drivers experience "the finger" or similar situations every day. Have you ever been caught off guard while a driver held down their horn to remind you that the light turned green? Have you ever been cutoff or tailgated? You never know who you will come across on the road. One thing to remember is that YOU control yourself and how YOU react (safety first). Giving somebody "the finger" or reciprocating their anger does not change or make the situation better.
We can't predict events in life that will test our anger management or coping skills, but we can be prepared. When road rage strikes, whether you are the aggressor or the victim it's important to know how to handle the situation.
Remember that when your children are in the car they are observing your actions, be the driver you want them to become. And on another note, pay attention to the kind person who lets you in their lane or waves you to make your turn! It's easy to get caught up with the bad but don’t let it outweigh the good!