The peak holiday driving season is getting underway, which often means clogged roads and traffic jams.
Road rage is a driving danger, along with drunk driving and distracted driving such as texting while driving.
Despite high gas prices, this year could be worse than normal, since so many of us are itching to get on the road again now that local lockdown restrictions have eased, and our frustration tolerance is already low.
These tips will help you avoid aggressive drivers, or become one yourself.
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All of us have gotten frustrated behind the wheel, even acted out by giving another driver the finger or tailgaiting a too-slow driver.
A recent study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found that half of all drivers had purposely tailgated another vehicle, yelled at another driver, or honked a horn “to show annoyance or anger” at least once in year the study was taken.
Twelve percent of drivers reported that they had cut someone off on purpose, and nearly 4 percent said they had gotten out of their vehicle to confront another driver.
A survey by The Trace indicates that road rage incidents have increased at an alarming rate in recent years, especially incidents where somebody pulls a gun.
There have been several recent front-page headline events in which an innocent child or a famous sports celebrity is killed or injured in a road rage incident.
Common Aggressive Driving Behaviors
- Speeding up when someone tries to pass you
- Tailgating drivers going slower than you
- Weaving in and out of traffic
- Passing cars on the right
- Flashing your headlights at vehicles
- Overusing your horn
- Making obscene gestures
- Yelling out of your window at other drivers or pedestrians
Be sure to avoid these behaviors if you find yourself in an aggressive driving situation. Also, to stay safe on the road, you should learn how to avoid encounters with aggressive drivers.
By practicing defensive driving and steering clear of aggressive drivers, you can avoid accidents and dangerous situations.
How to Avoid Aggressive Drivers
- Don’t block passing lanes.
- Avoid blocking right-hand turn lanes.
- Don’t take more than one parking space.
- Don’t tailgate.
- Don’t stop in the road to talk with pedestrians or drivers.
- If you travel slowly, pull over and allow traffic to pass you.
- Avoid eye contact with aggressive drivers.
- Keep your eyes on the road.
- Keep away from erratic drivers.
- Don’t challenge other drivers by speeding up to hold your own in your travel lane.
- Ignore gestures and do not return them.
Find more tips on avoiding road rage on Edmunds.com, one of my top go-to sites for automotive information.
Stay safe on the road – avoid aggressive drivers, and don’t become one yourself.
This article was published originally in 2017,
and is updated annually, including for 2023,
and republished for summer and holiday driving
Copyright (C) Evelyn Kanter
ecoXplorer Evelyn Kanter is an award-winning journalist with 20+ years of experience as a newspaper and magazine writer, radio & TV news producer & reporter, and guidebook and smartphone app author – all focusing on travel, automotive, the environment and your rights as a consumer.
ecoXplorer Evelyn Kanter currently serves as the president of the International Motor Press Assn. (IMPA) and is a member of the North American Travel Journalists Assn. (NATJA)
Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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