We've all seen it, and unfortunately we've probably all been guilty of it: aggressive driving. In the U.S. alone, an average of 1,500 people are injured or killed each year as a direct result of aggressive driving. And the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that crashes caused by aggressive driving cost society more than $40 billion per year.
Don't Make Yourself a Target
You know the signs: honking repeatedly, weaving in and out of traffic, cutting off other cars, speeding, and yelling or gesturing at other drivers. So what can you do to help avoid provoking the ire of an aggressive driver?Don't linger in the passing lane. The far left lane on highways is for passing.
Avoid tailgating. A good rule of thumb is to allow 3 seconds after someone passes an object before you do. If someone is tailgating you, safely pull over and let them pass.
Ignore curses or rude gestures. As hard as it can be, "being the better person" can help you avoid an ugly confrontation.
Don't block the turning lane. When pulling up to a red light, make sure you're not in a right-turn-only lane that allows drivers to turn right on red.
Park in one space. And inside the lines too. You run the risk of provoking an angry driver if you take up multiple spots.
Don't stop in the middle of the road. If you see a friend walking or driving, safely pull over to the side to talk. Don't make people wait behind you.
Allow cars to pass. It's not a race. If other drivers wants to pass you, let them.
Stay away from erratic drivers. If you see someone driving aggressively, remain a safe distance away and call the police.
Worried About Your Own Aggressive Driving?
There are some things you can try to rein it in.
Leave early. You're busy, but leave yourself plenty of time to make the trip so you don't have to rush. Ten or fifteen extra minutes can make a big difference.
Take a deep breath. If you feel yourself getting flustered, take some deep breaths and repeat. You may be surprised how much it helps.
Get comfortable. Roll down your window for a breath of fresh air, or turn on the A/C or heat as necessary.
Listen to relaxing radio music.
Recognize that it's not personal. When another driver does something unsafe, it was probably just a mistake and wasn't directed at you.
Remember that it's not a race. It's not worth jeopardizing your safety.
If you are commenting using a Facebook account, your profile information may be displayed with your comment depending your privacy settings. By leaving the 'Post to Facebook' box selected, your comment will be published to your Facebook profile in addition to the space below.