According to National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration, 37,133 lives were lost on U.S. roadways in 2017. That is more people than a lot of towns and cities in our county. This number represents only the deaths, and there are thousands more people who were injured.
There are many factors of why crashes happen — drunken driving, distracted driving, aggressive driving, etc. In this article we will focus on aggressive drivers and how to handle ourselves when we encounter an aggressive driver.
If you drive on Highway 288, then you have most likely seen or been part of an aggressive-driver situation. Although most aggressive drivers are young males, successful men and women of all types have been known to snap and commit violence with their vehicles. These actions usually stem from another stressful situation in a person’s life, such as job loss or divorce.
Aggressive driving occurs when “an individual commits a combination of moving traffic offenses so as to endanger other persons or property,” according to the NHTSA. Aggressive driving is often associated with “road rage.” Road rage, however, is often used “in the most extreme acts of aggression, such as physical assault, that occurs as a direct result of a disagreement between drivers,” AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety states.
Any motorist can be harmed by aggressive driving, whether they are the aggressor or just another driver on the road. It is important to identify aggressive driving behaviors and to know how to react to them.
Reducing Aggressive Driving
“Keep it cool.” Taking out frustrations on fellow motorists can lead to violence or a crash.
Pay attention while driving. Reading, eating or talking on a cellphone can also lead to crashes.
Don’t tailgate. This is a major cause of crashes that can result in deaths or serious injuries.
Stay in your lane. Don’t block the passing lane or whip in and out of lanes. If someone wants to pass, let them do so.
Don’t run red lights. Do not enter an intersection on a yellow light.
Maintain speed. Avoid going faster than the speed limit, being a “road racer” or going too fast in unsafe conditions.
Use your signal. Don’t switch lanes without signaling, and make sure you don’t cut someone off.
Always look twice in your mirrors before you make a move to another lane.
Reduce Traffic-Related Stress
Consider altering your schedule. Moving your schedule can help you avoid traffic congestion.
See if there is an additional route you can take to your destination. It might be a few more miles but have less traffic and be less stressful.
Don’t drive when you are angry, upset or tired.
Relax. Turn the radio to your favorite relaxing music, loosen your grip on the wheel and take a deep breath.
Improve the comfort of your vehicle. Use your air conditioner or get a pillow or seat cover to make your ride more comfortable.
Dealing with Aggressive Drivers
Get out of the way. Make every attempt to get out of the way of an aggressive driver.
Put your pride aside. Do not challenge an aggressive driver by speeding up or attempting to “hold your own” in the lane you are in.
Avoid eye contact. Eye contact can enrage an aggressive driver.
Don’t use gestures or honk the horn excessively. Both actions have been known to enrage aggressive drivers.
Report serious aggressive driving. You or a passenger can call the police. But if you use a cellphone, pull over to a safe location.
Aggressive Driving and the Law
Drivers can be fined up to $200 for each moving violation associated with aggressive driving. In addition, car insurance companies often raise rates for drivers with multiple moving violations, the Texas Department of Transportation reports.
Understand you can’t control traffic, but you can control your reaction to it.
As a motorist, you should keep your cool in traffic; be patient and courteous to other drivers and correct unsafe driving habits that are likely to endanger or infuriate other drivers.