How to deal with aggressive drivers

Chances are, you have encountered aggressive drivers. If you were lucky, you got away with nothing more than a short period of feeling irritated or frightened. However, aggressive driving often results in far more serious consequences, causing 66 percent of traffic fatalities on the nation's roads.

Knowing how to handle aggressive drivers can help you leave the situation safely and avoid escalating the incident.

Identify and avoid

Sometimes, you may spot the aggressive driver from afar. He weaves in and out of traffic, cuts off other vehicles and starts honking before the light even turns green. Continuing to keep your distance from this driver is the best way for you to stay safe.

Do not respond in kind

If you find yourself the target of aggressive behavior such as cutting, tailgating or rude gestures, do not respond in kind. While it may be tempting to react aggressively yourself, yielding to this impulse can only escalate the situation and may lead to serious consequences. In extreme cases, road-raging drivers have tried to run others off the road or pulled out a gun. The best course of action for you is to swallow your pride and try to get away from the aggressive driver as soon as you can. Avoid reacting in any way, including making eye contact.

Do not lead an aggressive driver to your home

If you notice a driver tailgating you, do not go to your home, school or workplace. You do not know if this person is engaging in empty intimidation or intends to attack you. Your best option is to head to a police station or, failing that, a public place with plenty of people.

Improve your driving

Examine your own driving habits to ensure you do not unintentionally annoy or even endanger other motorists. Drivers who engage in distracted driving may be slow to start when the light changes or not realize when it is time to merge and thus cut off other drivers. If you have your high beams on, be sure to avoid shining them at oncoming traffic. Finally, while you may see honking or gesturing at other drivers as harmless venting of your irritation, a driver similarly on edge may respond by escalating the aggression.

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