How to Deal with an Aggressive Driver

Encountering an aggressive driver on the road can be a nerve-wracking and dangerous experience. It’s important to remember that road rage incidents can happen to anyone, anywhere, at any time. Knowing how to handle these types of situations safely is crucial. In this post, we’ll delve into five tips on how to handle an aggressive driver.

Why Do People Become Aggressive on the Road?

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) defines aggressive driving as when “an individual commits a combination of moving traffic offenses so as to endanger other persons or property.”

Aggressive driving has become a rampant issue on roads, posing a threat to the lives of drivers and pedestrians alike. External factors such as running late or heavy traffic can often trigger aggressive behavior in a driver, leading to dangerous consequences. Traffic jams can also be an aggravating factor, especially during rush hour when a driver’s patience is tested.

In some cases, aggressive driving can lead to road rage, which can be extremely dangerous for all parties involved. There are many psychological factors that can contribute to road rage, including displaced anger and high levels of stress in a person’s life. Counseling psychologist Jerry Deffenbacher, PhD, of Colorado State University found that self-identified high-anger drivers have the following in common:

  • Engaging in hostile and aggressive thinking.
  • Taking more risks on the road such as speeding, tailgating, and rapidly switching lanes.
  • Have twice as many car accidents in driving simulations.
  • Experience more anger and impulsiveness.

Encountering an aggressive driver on the road can quickly escalate into a dangerous situation. Here are a few tips on how to handle this scenario.

5 Tips on How to Handle an Aggressive Driver

1. Focus on Driving

Driving safely requires focus and attentiveness on the road. With so many distractions, it can be easy to miss an aggressive driver who may be putting you and other drivers in danger. That’s why it’s important to always be aware of your surroundings, especially while on the road. Keep your eyes open for drivers who aren’t following the rules of the road, who may be swerving in and out of lanes, tailgating, or exhibiting other aggressive driving behaviors.

Knowing that an aggressive driver is present is the first step in taking the necessary precautions to keep you safe on the road. Stay vigilant and remember that your safety is a top priority when you’re behind the wheel.

2. Avoid Tailgating

When it comes to dealing with an aggressive driver, it’s important to maintain your composure and avoid reacting impulsively. If an aggressive driver decides to cut in front of you, resist the urge to ride their bumper or make any other sudden movements. Doing so could put you into a dangerous situation and result in serious consequences. If the driver suddenly slams on their brakes, you could be charged with following too closely and be held responsible for any resulting damage.

3. Avoid Making Eye Contact

If you encounter an aggressive driver on the road, it is important to know what actions to take to keep yourself safe. One of the key strategies is to avoid making eye contact with the driver. While it might seem like an assertive or harmless thing to do, making eye contact can actually escalate the situation and provoke the driver further.

In their agitated state, the aggressive driver may interpret eye contact as a challenge or sign of disrespect, leading to more aggressive behavior. Instead, try to focus on your own driving and stay calm.

4. Keep a Safe Distance

It can be tempting to match the other driver’s aggression or retaliate in some way, but putting as much distance between you and the other vehicle is the wisest choice. Switching lanes or getting off at the nearest exit may seem like an inconvenience, but it’s a small price to pay for avoiding potential collisions or worse. No matter how frustrating the other driver’s behavior may be, nothing is worth putting your life and the lives of other drivers at risk.

5. Contact the Authorities

If you witness someone driving dangerously, it is crucial to alert the authorities immediately. Dial 911 to report the incident and provide the dispatcher with as much information as possible. This information could include:

  • Your location
  • The aggressive driver’s license plate number
  • The aggressive driver’s car model

Remember, you should never engage in a chase with the reckless driver, as this can put you and other drivers in harm’s way. By reporting the incident, you can help the responding officers take the necessary steps to ensure the safety of everyone on the road.

Navigating the roads can be a daunting task, especially when faced with an aggressive driver. Staying clear of a driver who is driving aggressively can help prevent a potential accident. However, if you do find yourself involved in a car accident, seeking legal representation can help you receive the aid and compensation that you deserve for your injuries, car repairs, time off work, and more.

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