Chinese philosopher Confucius once mused, “Wherever you go, go with all your heart.” However, if you’re sharing the highway with an aggressive driver then wherever you’re going could involve driving down a treacherous strip of highway – even if there aren’t any obvious signs of danger on the pavement itself.
What Is Aggressive Driving?
Before knowing how to avoid conflict with an aggressive driver, it’s important to know what one is so that you can easily recognize them. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration defines aggressive driving as “an individual commits a combination of moving traffic offenses so as to endanger other persons or property.”
If you’ve ever had another driver pass you on the wrong side of the road, tailgate by following too closely behind you, or threaten you with verbal language or obscene gestures, then the person you encountered was an aggressive driver. These types of drivers can be downright frightening but it is possible to avoid conflict with them. Here are some popular tips from a Missouri police department.
- Avoid eye contact with the aggressive driver whenever possible. This indicates that you’re issuing some kind of unspoken challenge.
- Ignore all rude gestures and resist making any of your own in way of response. That only incites the aggressor to act out on your retaliation.
- Try to move out of the way of an aggressive driver, even if it means slowing to a speed that is a few miles per hour beneath the posted limit.
- If someone else is in the car with you, have them call the police and report the driver with a description of their vehicle, their license number, and where you are on the highway.
- If no one else is in the car with you, pull over at a safe location and report the information yourself. Never try to use your cellphone and drive as it could cause an accident.
- Wear your seatbelt. You should be wearing it anyway, but if the aggressive driver causes an accident in which your vehicle is involved, then a seat belt could be the difference in walking away from the scene or being driven away in an ambulance.
Why Aggressive Driving Is On the Rise
Aggressive drivers are everywhere. As teens get cellphones at younger ages, they develop bad habits with their gadgets that follow them after they get their driver’s licenses. These bad habits cause them to switch lanes frequently, drive over the speed limit, run stoplights or stop signs, or tailgate other drivers.
But it’s not just teens that have these bad habits and irresponsible behavior. Sadly adults are just as offensive if not worse. And people are spending more time on the highway. The United States Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration reports that in the past three decades, Americans are spending 38% more miles on the road.
When Aggression Turns to Rage
Aggressive driving that gets out of hand can quickly turn to something called road rage. Road rage is when someone driving a vehicle uses it with the intent to harm another person or their property. Whether you are a victim of road rage or the person who chose to use this form of physical assault, you could find yourself looking into the services of personal injury attorneys to represent you in court.
The National Safety Council explains Road Rage as “a physical assault of a person or vehicle as a result of a traffic incident—this is a criminal offense where you can go to jail.” It is not worth going to jail over something trivial, which is often the cause of incidents involving road rage. But more importantly, it is not worth someone being injured or killed because of it.
When You’re Feeling Aggressive
If you are behind the wheel and find yourself thinking or saying aggressive thoughts about another driver to the point where you are taking actions such as no longer obeying traffic signs or laws, start weaving in and out of traffic, and blowing your horn or flashing your lights then it’s time to take a break.
Pull over at the nearest exit or rest area. If you can safely get out of your car, walk around for a bit. If you can’t leave your car, turn on some soothing music. Take this time to call someone who will listen as you vent your frustrations. Grab something to drink and use the rest room. By the time you get back onto the road, you’ll feel like a more relaxed driver and will be more likely to safely arrive at your destination.
Author Rick Mercado has found success working online as both a writer and a marketer. He loves to learn new things when researching information for new articles. For example when reading blog posts at www.bgs.com he learned added dangers about texting while driving. When this avid outdoorsman isn’t working he is usually found kayaking or hiking his native eastern Canada. Although Rick grew up on the water around fishing boats, his dream is to explore the air by piloting a helicopter.