Everyone at some point in time has been riled up because they feel a driver has violated them while driving. There are several million cars on the roadways and aggression coupled with impatience can spell disaster, so it’s only fitting to pinpoint ways to deal with this combativeness. Follow these seven steps and learn how to do just that.
One of AAA’s Findings
Driving is a necessity for most, because it makes our lives a lot easier. So, it’s par for the course that we sometimes may come into contact with those who become overly zealous on the road.
Would you believe that eight out of 10 drivers surveyed in AAA Foundation’s Annual Traffic Safety Culture Index ranked aggressive driving as an extremely serious or serious risk that compromises their well-being? Yes, you read correctly.
What exactly is aggressive driving? A clear example is while driving, you glance over to the car next to you, only to see a driver ‘flipping the bird’ for an offense perceived to be done by another driver.
Aggressive driving also can be considered as flashing those blinding high beams, swearing at other drivers, tailgating, racing, failing to yield to specified regulations and signs and driving slowly in the passing lane. We can’t forget to add speeding to the list because it plays a role in one-third of all fatal crash incidents. Instigating conformations with other drivers is deemed as aggressive behavior, too.
Hitting a Few Bumps Along the Way
1. One way to deal with aggressive driving is by controlling your stress level. Give yourself ample time to reach your destination, all the while listening to calming music or other communications, such as books on CD. Now is the perfect time to use those Rosetta Stone CDs you’ve been holding on to.
2. By noticing your comfort level, you can take some of the edge off driving. Be sure that both the temperature in your car, as well as your seat is properly adjusted. The last thing you want to do is ride in a car while you are uncomfortable the whole time, because this can make for one very long trip. It also can cause you to become irritable in the process.
3. Sometimes this can be easier said than done, but try to be courteous, regardless of whether or not the other driver is. By diffusing a situation and avoiding as much conflict as possible while behind the wheel, you undoubtedly will feel safer than if you had done the opposite. Just think about it, when you are not driving and somebody upsets you, you are affected by it and are likely to react. The same holds true for driving.
4. When a driver shows himself or herself to be challenging, it’s recommended that you remove yourself from the situation as quickly as possible because you can never predict how another driver is capable of reacting.
5. Protect yourself at all costs when in the midst of an aggressive driver. One way to do this is to make sure that all doors are locked and windows are raised up. While it is not uncommon to come into contact with aggressive drivers while you are stuck in traffic, you can leave enough space to pull out just incase you have to. If you sense that trouble may be brewing, it probably is. Err on the side of caution if you are approached by an aggressive driver.
6. Try to avoid making eye contact with an aggressive driver, especially if your fellow driver is showing noticeable signs that he or she is angry. By not gazing in the other direction, you can stop the situation from escalating; sometimes to the point of no return.
7. While you may not want to, reporting an aggressive driver to authorities is another option. Just go to the closest police station or dial 911, immediately. And, there are various states that have a phone number where you can report driving to the appropriate law enforcement agency. Key information will be needed such as the vehicle license plate number, the description of the vehicle in question and in which direction the vehicle is headed. By doing your part and reporting an aggressive driver, you may just save a fellow motorist from being harmed later on down the line.
Staying in Your Lane
Can aggressive driving progress to something even worse? Absolutely, aggressive driving can lead to “road rage,” which is a violent criminal act involving an intention to cause physical or bodily harm. But, it’s how you deal with this anger that counts.
Know that you can’t control the flow of traffic or anyone else’s aggression, but you do have 100 percent control over your reaction to it. There doesn’t have to a be fiery exchange of words or gestures and as long as you are aware of certain situations, there won’t be.
Are We There Yet?
When all is said and done, you need to arrive at your destination safely, which means that you definitely have to be on the look out and drive for the next person, figuratively speaking. Relax, try taking a deep breath and giving the other driver the benefit of the doubt.