At some time or another, you’ve likely encountered an aggressive driver on the road. Perhaps you were the aggressive one in a moment of anger and weakness.
While feeling road rage is certainly understandable, acting on it is incredibly dangerous. Each year, aggressive driving causes 6.8 million accidents.
With this in mind, you need to understand what to do whenever you encounter an aggressive driver. It’s easy to get overwhelmed and frightened, which can cause you to hesitate or make a mistake.
Aggressive drivers make your commute more difficult while increasing your risk of getting into an accident. To help you avoid this, we’ll explain how you can handle aggressive drivers below.
One of the best things you can do is to avoid responding.
When someone else is driving aggressively, it is usually in response to something. Drivers typically don’t decide to be aggressive for no reason. That said, they might be upset at something they misperceived or something that you did by accident.
Regardless of why another driver is being aggressive, they’re doing it to get a response out of you. Say that you accidentally cut another driver off, they might begin to act aggressively to make you react.
With this in mind, simply choosing not to respond has a powerful effect. When you don’t cave in and give an aggressive driver what they’re looking for, it’s like their fuel for aggression disappears.
When an aggressive driver realizes that you won’t respond, they’ll get bored and move on. This is perfect for you because it means that you won’t need to deal with them anymore.
Leave the Situation
If not responding isn’t working, then you could also leave the situation altogether.
Whenever you’re dealing with an aggressive driver, your goal should be to get away from them. You don’t have any idea who they are, what they’re capable of, and what their intentions are.
Because of this, you need to avoid any conflict with them. The best way of doing this is by removing yourself from the situation.
There are a few ways that you might do this. Consider pulling over to the side of the road and letting the aggressive driver pass on to continue about their day. Be sure that you’re watching for them and ready to leave should they choose to come back around.
You can also take an exit on the freeway, make a turn onto a different street, or just slow down so that there is physical distance between you and the aggressive driver. Make sure that you aren’t being followed and be ready to seek help if they do.
You can’t be impacted by an aggressive driver if you aren’t near them, so leaving the situation is an excellent way of handling it.
You should also demonstrate tolerance while driving.
Some situations of aggressive driving are preventable. For example, a driver may choose to become aggressive as a result of an exchange that you have with them.
Say that you cut them off by accident, they slammed on their horn, and you flipped them off in response. In this scenario, they might drive aggressively because you made a mistake and showed no tolerance for their frustration.
Tolerance and patience are critical skills to develop while driving because they make you more understanding. Minor mistakes and sleights that other drivers make won’t bother you as much and you can work toward de-escalating situations rather than escalating them.
This will also help you avoid driving aggressively as you’ll have more patience for the mistakes of others.
Focus on Yourself
Lastly, you should focus on yourself to handle aggressive drivers.
This may seem counterintuitive, but there’s a chance that your actions are influencing how other people are driving. It’s never your fault if someone drives aggressively, but you may be doing things that trigger it.
In the examples we mentioned above, cutting someone off is a blatant mistake. However, you might not see it as a big deal and think that the other driver was in the wrong for blasting their horn at you.
With this in mind, focusing on yourself helps you see if you are doing anything wrong. If you’re making a mistake, then you can easily correct it and help reduce the risk of encountering an aggressive driver again.
Focusing on yourself is also useful because it will discourage you from engaging with an aggressive driver. You’ll be too busy figuring out what you’re doing and won’t care to interact with them.
Aggressive drivers are menaces of the road and make it unsafe for anyone else around. If you’re the unfortunate target of an aggressive driver, then this can be a scary situation that you probably don’t know how to handle.
You need to de-escalate situations with an aggressive driver to ensure your safety. A few tips for doing this include avoiding responding, leaving the situation, demonstrating tolerance, and focusing on yourself.
As difficult as aggressive drivers are, they don’t need to be a reason for an accident. It doesn’t matter who is right and who is wrong, put your safety first and do whatever it takes to prevent an encounter with an aggressive driver.