Being overtaken on the wrong side, tailgated, cut off or hemmed in by another driver is enraging and it can quickly escalate to violence. But the reality is that angry drivers are more likely to make mistakes and cause accidents that drag other innocent motorists into the fray. Even when the other driver is clearly in the wrong, put safety ahead of principle and remove yourself, your passengers and your vehicle from potential harm.
Here are some tips on how to cope in a road rage situation:
Attitude. One driver cannot fight alone. Don’t get drawn into a confrontation because it will only end badly.
Forgiveness. We all make silly mistakes. Give the other driver the benefit of the doubt – as tomorrow it may be you at fault.
Keep out the fast lane. Driving slowly in the right lane is asking for trouble. Even if you are travelling at the speed limit, move over to the left if someone wants to pass.
Don’t push in. Don’t cut off other drivers and make sure you have plenty of room when you merge onto a highway or change lanes.
Tailgating is highly dangerous. It reduces reaction time, braking response time and it endangers other drivers around you. Keep a safe following distance at all times.
Pull back. It’s easy to see if a driver is displaying signs of aggression. Take an off-ramp or reduce your speed slightly and let them get away, freeing you from potential danger.
Get help. Should an angry driver follow you, or you think you’re in serious danger, use your cell phone to call the police or drive to a heavily populated area. Do not drive home and do not get out of the car until it is safe to do so.
Apologise. If you make a mistake, try to apologise with an appropriate gesture, such as a smile and a wave of the hand.
Lead by example. The way you react to aggressive drivers sets an example for your passengers, especially children. Courteous drivers make safer drivers.