Road rage is seizing control of America. At least 80% of drivers report experiencing road rage at least once a year. You should expect to deal with an angry driver sooner rather than later. But not every road rage incident has to lead to a fistfight. You can avoid problems with other drivers through a few simple steps.
What should you always do when you are driving? How can you respond to an aggressive driver without escalating the situation? What should you do if a driver is following you?
Answer these questions and you can find a pathway through road rage incidents.
Table of Contents
- Here is your quick guide
- 1. Be a Good Defensive Driver
- 2. Check your Mirrors
- 3. Avoid Being Distracted
- 4. Do Not React to Aggressive Moves
- 5. Get Out of the Driver’s Way
- 6. Do Not Stop
- 7. Notice if You are Being Followed
- 8. Monitor Your Rearview
- 9. Call for Emergency
- 10. Get Vehicle Details if Possible
- 11. Get Legal Help
- 12. Handle an Angry Driver the Right Way
Here is your quick guide
1. Be a Good Defensive Driver
One of the most important things you can do as a driver is to be a good defensive driver. This means being aware of your surroundings and being prepared for the worst. When you’re on the road, you never know when an angry driver is going to cut you off or tailgate you.
If this happens, don’t take it personally. Just stay calm and focus on getting to your destination safely. If you can, try to avoid eye contact with the other driver and don’t make any sudden moves. Remember, safety is always the top priority when you’re behind the wheel.
Many drivers develop road rage and start driving angry because someone uses an aggressive tactic against them. If you use defensive driving techniques, you can avoid a road rage incident entirely.
2. Check your Mirrors
Check your mirrors regularly, especially when you are on a fast-moving road. If you need to stop, ease into the stop instead of jamming on the brakes. Jamming on your brakes can result in a rear-end collision.
3. Avoid Being Distracted
Never drive when you are intoxicated or distracted. Do not fiddle with the radio, talk on your phone, or eat food. Keep conversations with your passengers to a minimum and do not look away from the road to make eye contact with them.
4. Do Not React to Aggressive Moves
Road rage can lead to many different aggressive moves. A driver may cut you off or come close to crashing into your car. They may tailgate or speed in front of you, and they may honk their horn or yell at you. These moves can irritate you, but you should not escalate the situation. Do not respond in any way to the moves, even by making eye contact with the other driver. Eye contact can come off as threatening, leading the aggressive driver to get angry with you.
Never use your horn in response to another driver. If you are trying to alert a driver about something, use hand signals.
Do not shout at the other driver, as they may find this intimidating. If the other driver rolls down their window, you should not roll down yours, as they may start yelling at you.
5. Get Out of the Driver’s Way
Do not stay on a road where a driver is being reckless as they may collide with you or another vehicle. Get off at the nearest exit and find an alternate route to your destination. You can use a GPS device or a map to plot where you should go. If you cannot get off the road, you should change lanes. Signal left or right and make the lane change once it is safe to do so. Let the driver pass you in their original lane.
You can also slow down to put more distance between yourself and the other driver. They will likely change lanes and pass you after you’ve driven slowly for a few minutes.
6. Do Not Stop
Stopping to confront the other driver can create a dangerous road rage incident. The driver may insult or assault you. If the driver collides with your car, you are not required to stop right away if you feel unsafe.
Keep going until you get to a police station, then stop and inspect your vehicle. You can also go to a store like a Walmart if a police station is not near you.
If you stop your car and the aggressive driver is near you, remain in your vehicle and lock your doors. Do not roll down the window or engage with the driver in any way. If they come near your car, you should drive away so they cannot follow you.
7. Notice if You are Being Followed
Most drivers who commit road rage stop being angry after a few moments. However, some drivers may get so angry that they follow you, even after you’ve gotten off the road.
8. Monitor Your Rearview
Monitor your rearview and side mirrors for the aggressive driver. Change lanes, get off the road, and take sudden turns. If the driver stays with you, you are being followed.
9. Call for Emergency
Do not go home or go on roads away from other people. Drive to a public location where there are other people and remain there. Call 911 and describe the other driver and their vehicle.
10. Get Vehicle Details if Possible
Be as clear as possible about what the vehicle looks like. Name the make and model and read the license plate number off. You should talk about any distinguishing features, including scrapes or bumper stickers.
11. Get Legal Help
You can get legal help if another driver assaults you. Talk to a lawyer and find out more about the laws that affect you before opening a civil or criminal case.
12. Handle an Angry Driver the Right Way
An angry driver should not derail your journey. Follow good defensive driving tips and stay out of the way of anyone who is driving angry. Do not perform aggressive tactics like honking the horn.
Never stop your car if a driver is getting angry at you. If you are being followed, go to a police station or a store and lock your doors. Call 911 and wait for the driver to leave or for the authorities to arrive.
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Also read: Top Tips on What to Do After a Car Accident