How to Avoid Aggressive Driving
Road rage is regularly the result of aggressive driving, a phenomenon that has been on the rise in recent years and makes driving a more unpleasant experience. It is estimated that around 66% of traffic fatalities are caused by aggressive driving, which includes all sorts of behaviours such as: tailgating, weaving in and out of traffic, making obscene gestures and more.
Over half the victims of aggressive driving admit to responding in an aggressive manner themselves, which makes things even worse and more dangerous for others on the roads. There are a number of methods to avoid aggressive driving and drivers when on the road.
Avoid Provocative Behaviour
You may not realise it but a number of driving behaviours can enrage aggressive drivers and cause them to flip out. Avoid doing the following:
- Blocking the turning road
- Speeding up when others attempt to overtake
- Driving slowly in the fast lane
- Parking over two spaces
In the same way that these instances may annoy you, they will cause those with a tendency to engage in road rage to drive aggressively. Try not to do any of these and aggressive drivers shouldn’t have anything to set them off.
An aggressive driver can often be easily spotted, as they will be the one speeding, constantly changing lanes, tailgating and possibly beeping their horn. Do your best to stay out of their way where possible, by changing lanes to let them past. Don’t engage with them through eye contact, gestures or by slowing down to talk or shout at them. This will only make the circumstance worse and rile them up even more.
As mentioned, a lot of drivers respond negatively to aggressive driving which escalates the situation. If you’re at the receiving end of an obscene gesture, do your best to ignore it. Keep your hands firmly on the wheel and attempt to contain your anger, as even the slightest shake of the head could set them off. The rest of the time, be courteous, always signalling when changing lanes and letting others in when they appear extra keen to change lanes.
Sticking to the rules of the road is the perfect way to avoid antagonising aggressive drivers and staying out of their way. Don’t speed or cut off other drivers, even if you are in a rush, as this increases the chance of dangerous driving and causing an accident. Set off in plenty of time, especially when heading to work, so that you won’t need to rush and possibly engage in aggressive driving techniques. A lot of people change when behind the wheel and take on an aggressive driving persona, don’t let this be you by remembering it’s not a race.
If you find it hard to ignore aggressive drivers or think you may have anger management issues, there are ways to remain relaxed in the car. Put on some relaxing music, nothing too loud or fast, or an audio book which can provide soothing background noise. This should take your mind off any aggressive driving while staying focused on the road. Ensure you are comfortable, by changing the temperature, opening a window and taking deep breaths.
Report Aggressive Driving
Aggressive driving is on the rise, along with drivers acknowledging and working on their own issues, the only other way to cut it down is for it to be reported. Pull over to call the police if there is a dangerous driver on the road, as for some people the only way they’ll learn is through disciplinary action. Getting as many aggressive drivers off the road as possible will make it safer for everyone else.
Images courtesy of iStock.