There’s something about getting behind the wheel of a car or truck that turns some people into monsters. Their antics can involve tailgating other drivers, rushing red lights, swerving around any vehicle they perceive as “too slow” and angrily swearing and gesturing at other motorists or honking their horns.
Aggressive drivers aren’t just scary, however. They’re also dangerous. It’s estimated that guns are involved in 37% of aggressive driving encounters and in 66% of all traffic fatalities. Somewhat unsurprisingly, their anger and aggression tend to provoke more anger. About half of all drivers who have been on the receiving end of aggressive tactics admit that they have “fired back” with angry gestures and rude behavior of their own.
That’s not a good way to handle the situation. When you encounter someone with road rage, retaliating might help you blow off steam, but it can also turn an encounter deadly. Instead:
- Lock your car doors, so that the other driver can’t pull your door open if they decide to get out of their car at the next light and come after you.
- Let the other driver get ahead of you. Slide over to the right and slow down or pull off the road (if necessary) to let them by. That will most likely shift their attention away from you.
- Avoid eye contact. Normally, making eye contact with other drivers is a good thing, but an aggressive driver may take it as a challenge.
- Call 911. If an aggressive driver is putting people in danger and driving erratically, let the police handle the situation.
If you end up in an accident with an aggressive driver, a serious injury can leave you laid up for weeks or months. Find out more about your right to compensation for your losses.