On today’s roads where many people are in a hurry, the road can become a place that is fraught frustrations and problems. Aspects of aggressive or unsafe driving can become regular things you see every day. If you find yourself in a situation where someone close by is driving dangerously, has taken exception to the way you are driving, or is behaving in an aggressive manner towards you, it may well come down to how you respond and the actions you take that make all the difference between a pleasant or unpleasant outcome.
Time to take a look at yourself: You are an aggressive/unsafe driver if you regularly do any one or more of these.
- Run stop signs and red lights
- Fail to signal (not just at roundabouts but anywhere a signal is necessary)
- Race other vehicles.
- Move off at traffic lights before the green signal
- Make improper U-turns.
- Do not obey all speed limits
- Speed up before you reach a change of speed limit sign indicating a faster limit. (Example: when entering a dual carriageway from a 30mph you speed up immediately rather than wait for the limit to change where the new speed limit sign is located a further 100yds up the dual carriageway.)
- Do not slow down to a new speed limit until you pass the sign rather than making sure you are at the limit when you reach the sign.
- Do not give way and let buses pull out
- Inconvenience other road users and pedestrians
- Fail to stop and give way to pedestrians when ordered to by a school crossing patrol
- Ignore traffic signs and signals
- Fail to not return to the correct lane of travel on the left or deliberately stay to the right because they lack the driver skill of assessing a safe return back to the left: Hog the middle lane of a motorway or outside lane of a dual carriageway
- Speed regularly, Driving too fast for conditions or in excess of sign posted speed limit
- Operate the vehicle in an erratic, reckless, careless, or negligent manner or suddenly changing speeds.
- Tailgate. (Following too closely)
- Fail to give way (example: overtaking a parked car forcing oncoming traffic to slow or stop)
- Weave in and out of traffic, Improper or erratic lane changing
- Overtake with insufficient gap between other vehicles or inadequate visibility, or failing to give way to other vehicles.
- Fail to observe speed controlled zones (e.g. 20 mph limits) and traffic calming measures.
- Drive over mini roundabouts without attempting to drive around them or driving around them the wrong way.
- Weave between lanes
- Undertake on the left
- Illegally drive or park on a pavement or corner of a road causing obstructions to other road users.
- Make inappropriate hand and facial gestures
- Scream, sound the horn, and flash headlights at other drivers.
- Drive distracted: Use the mobile phone whilst driving texting, checking Facebook or talking on the phone. Fiddle with Satnav and the music system controls.
It’s important that you try not to create a situation yourself. One key to preventing situations on the road is to avoid engaging in the behaviours yourself and trying not to give other road users cause to become aggressive towards you. This way you avoid conflict.
It is best to assume that other drivers’ mistakes are not personal. You can show off your driver skill by not responding to aggressive behaviour and driving correctly. Never respond to aggressive behaviour with some of your own. Never attempt to take the right of way make sure it is safe to take your right of way. Right of way must give given to you by other drivers. Think about your actions and how they might themselves lead to other drivers being aggressive towards you. Be as polite on the road as you would be in any other social situation. You cannot control traffic, but you can control your response to it. Always try and give other drivers plenty of room. If you do make a mistake, immediately raise your hand and acknowledge to the other driver that it was your fault – this will hopefully pacify them and can help avoid any problems.
Top 10 Tips For Dealing With An Aggressive Driver:
- Stay calm — reaching your destination safely is your number one priority.
- Avoid eye contact.
- Do not respond to the other driver. Avoid any escalation of conflict.
- Be tolerant and forgiving. The other driver may be having a really bad day and be looking for a way to vent anger.
- Get out of their way as soon as you can safely but be sure to allow enough room around your vehicle so that you can pull out of their way.
- Do not challenge an aggressive driver by speeding up or attempting to "hold your own" in the lane of travel.
- Ignore gestures and don’t return them.
- Do not sound your horn to ‘tell off’ the driver for his behaviour as this may lead to retaliation. Only sound your horn to warn another of your presence and their proximity to your vehicle in case they have not seen that you are there.
- Report aggressive driving to the police (vehicle description, license number, location and the direction of travel).
- If an aggressive driver is involved in a crash farther down the road, stop at a safe distance from the crash scene, wait for the police to arrive, and report the driving behaviour that you witnessed.
Finally, show off who is the best driver on the road by acting correctly. Your actions show the aggressive driver and all others around you who really knows what skilful driving is.
If you do recognise yourself here. Remember it’s never too late to change. You owe it to yourself and your passengers.
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Drive safe, keep safe.
Ray Seagrave ADI
DSA Fleet, IAM member, RoSpa member, DIA member, MSA member,
Complete Driver Training
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