Everyone has dealt with an aggressive driver at some point in their driving life. Aggressive driving is dangerous for everyone on the road, and it can quickly escalate into road rage. You must not play into other drivers’ anger or try to match them with your own aggression. You run the risk of injuring yourself and everyone else on the road by increasing the probability of an auto accident taking place.
Aggressive driving is one the biggest hazards on the road. While other drivers may do things that irritate or upset you, the best course of action you can take is to remain calm and go about your driving safely. 44% of drivers report that aggressive behavior is their biggest concern with driving and that the problem seems to be getting worse. Here are a few tips for handling aggressive driving situations.
Avoid Aggressive Drivers
Safe driving requires you to be mindful of your vehicle and your surroundings at all times. Be aware of changes in traffic and the speed of other vehicles near you. If you notice an aggressive driver, do your best to stay clear of them. If are traveling on the highway, stay in the right lane unless you are passing slower traffic.
The absolute worst thing you can do when facing an aggressive driver is engage him or her. Do not acknowledge his or her behavior or respond to any rude gestures – keep your focus on getting to your destination safely. There is always an unfortunate possibility of someone following you or driving dangerously to scare you after you have maneuvered in a way they did not like. Try to stay calm, and drive somewhere heavily populated or toward a police station if you think the other driver may be following you. Never drive directly to your home if you are being followed.
Limit Your Own Aggressive Driving Habits
If you think your own driving habits could use some refinement, focus on safety first. Eliminate driving distractions, such as your cell phone or fiddling with the stereo, and concentrate on the road. Give yourself extra time to get where you are going so you do not feel rushed, and try to move with the flow of traffic rather than hurrying to your destination.
Running yellow lights is hardly worth the risk, and you also need to make sure you come to a complete stop. As you move with the flow of traffic, allow other vehicles to merge in front of you when possible without causing unnecessary congestion.
Tailgating is another factor that often causes contention among drivers. Most drivers cannot stand having people “ride their bumper.” Do not follow other vehicles too closely. A good rule of thumb is to keep other drivers two seconds ahead of you. If another driver is tailgating you and it is causing you to feel unsafe or angry, use your turn signal to pull over. Let him or her go past you, and continue your journey.
Aggression Leads to Anger
One of the biggest temptations of aggressive driving is to show up other aggressive drivers or “teach them a lesson.” Thoughts such as these often lead to poor choices and dangerous driving maneuvers. If someone does something discourteous or dangerous, stay focused on your own vehicle and your surroundings, and be on your way. Do not let other people’s negative actions affect your behavior.
Aggressive driving is infectious. One aggressive driver can infuriate other drivers, and those drivers may then vent their frustrations with unsafe driving of their own. The best thing a reasonable driver can do is to stay focused on his or her own vehicle and driving. Do not try to match aggression with more aggression. That only makes the road more dangerous for everyone.
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