Speeding, following too closely behind another vehicle, unnecessary horn honking and verbal assaults. They’re all aggressive driving behaviors.
Unfortunately, aggressive driving is a common occurrence and can be a significant safety hazard for fellow drivers on the road. A recent study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found that nearly 80 percent of drivers expressed significant anger, aggression or road rage behind the wheel at least once in the previous year.
Experts say there a number of strategies drivers can use to ensure their own safety when they encounter an aggressive driver. Here is some advice offered by law enforcement experts and AAA:
- Stay away from aggressive drivers—the minute you see one on the road, pull over and let the aggressive driver pass your vehicle. If you can’t completely pull over, find a way to maintain space around your vehicle.
- Avoid eye contact and negative gestures—Keep your eyes on the road, avoid direct eye contact with hostile drivers, and do not motion or yell at the angry driver.
- Never bait an aggressive driver—Don't respond by tailgating or cutting them off. The last thing you want to do is turn the encounter into a dangerous competition.
- Stay calm and stay put—Even if the aggressive driver causes an accident, remain calm. Stay in your car and wait for police to arrive.
- If you are confronted, stay as calm and courteous as possible. Your positive attitude could help diffuse the situation.
- If you feel threatened, call 911 or drive to a public place such as a police station, hospital or fire station.
To learn more tactics for coping with aggressive drivers, watch this video and hear what a police officer has to say.