How To Be Safe Around Aggressive Drivers


How to be safe around aggressive drivers featured image

Unfortunately, you can only really control yourself and your vehicle while you’re on the road, and aggressive drivers will be there regardless of how safe you are.

You’ll need to know a few tips on staying safe around aggressive drivers, and our best tips are:

  • Let them pass and leave you alone – Especially in cases of intense tailgating, the best thing you can do is allow the aggressive driver to pass and get on his or her way. If you’re on a multi-lane highway, simply change lanes and let them go, or pull over if you can while traveling down a smaller single lane road.
  • Stay relaxed and focus – If the aggressive driver is close to you due to traffic, and you can’t get away, the best thing you can do is to stay put, relax, and focus on your driving. Relaxing yourself will allow you to think clearly if a close-call occurs, as panicking will only worsen the situation.
  • Avoid eye contact – If eye contact is made at any point, aggressive drivers could experience some type of road rage, and this puts you in a dangerous driving situation as well as a dangerous social situation. Should they give you any “hand gestures”, or try to egg you on, it’s best to stay looking forward and ignore them altogether.
  • Notify the police – In extreme circumstances, like when road rage is concerned or you see the driver’s aggression causing really risky situations, you may want to notify the local police. This can save you and other drivers if the person is taken off of the road, but only make the call after pulling over to a safe area and allowing the aggressive driver to create some distance if you can.

Aggressive Driving And Road Rage

One particularly dangerous form of aggressive driving involves road rage. Hearing stories about road range in the news is scary, but one cannot imagine how much scarier it is to experience it in person until it happens. The term “road rage” is a fairly new one, and it has only popped up in the last couple of decades after a Los Angeles news reporter used the term to describe a series of shootings on the local freeway.

Since that time, it’s been categorized as an official term by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration defined as when a driver commits aggressive moving traffic violations with the intent of endangering another driver, or assaults another driver with a motor vehicle or dangerous weapon.

It’s due to cases of road rage that it’s recommended that drivers never “get back at”, glare at, give rude hand gestures to, or otherwise interact with aggressive drivers. In instances of aggressive driving, you never know who may be behind the wheel of the car causing a hazard, and you don’t want to take the risk of a bad situation becoming even worse.

Aggressive Driving And Road Rage Statistics

Aggressive driving is a big hazard on America’s roadways, and whether you’re on the east coast, the west coast, or somewhere in the middle, it’s safe to say that you’ve seen aggressive driving, or even partook in aggressive driving, at some point or another. To show the dangers of aggressive driving, a few statistics outlined by

  • 37% of aggressive driving road rage incidents involve a firearm of some kind
  • 66% of traffic fatalities are traced back to incidents of aggressive driving
  • Over the course of 7 years, 218 murders and 12,610 injuries were caused in road rage situations
  • Half of drivers who are on the receiving end of aggressive driving behaviors retaliate to “give back” the same behaviors to the other motorist
  • 2% of drivers have tried to retaliate by running an aggressive driver off the road

It’s these statistics that show why avoiding aggressive drivers in the best way possible is the way to go. When encountering aggressive driving on the road, stay back or get away, and don’t try to answer the aggressive driving with aggressive driving of your own.

In incidents of road rage, you may try to get away, but find that an aggressive driver seems to be following you, waiting to meet you at your destination. While these instances are fairly rare, they do happen, and you should know what to do if this occurs to you.

If you find an aggressive driver following you, the first thing you should do is notify the police. If you have a passenger in the car with a cell phone, have the passenger call the police for you and describe the situation you’re experiencing.

Another option is to simply drive to the nearest police station, and only stop the car there. Chances are, the aggressive driver will drive on by, and you’ll then need to go into the station and file a report.

Staying Safe With Aggressive Drivers On The Road

The way to stay safe with aggressive drivers on the road is to approach the situation in a calm, clear, and safe manner. It’s never a good idea to retaliate, or to drive aggressively back, as you’re placing yourself and those around you on the road at risk.

What aggressive drivers are doing isn’t only unsafe, it’s illegal, and it’s your job to stay away and reduce the risk of harm to yourself.

Aggressive driving is an unfortunately reality, and it’s one you’re bound to encounter at one point or another. Not all aggressive driving instances turn to road rage incidents, but all aggressive driving situations are dangerous, and you need to do what you can to keep the road safe!

What Causes Aggressive Driving?

There have been several theoretical approaches to aggressive behavior, but unfortunately,  none of these can be considered as complete explanations. 

Some theories consider the behavior innate, with specific responses being modified by individual experience. Some identify external factors such as frustrating situations to act as a catalyst for aggressive behavior. 

Other theories hypothesize that it’s a social response, an act that is learned by imitation, put into action to be socially accepted by a certain group. 

In this view, media portrayals of aggressive driving as something fun or cool can influence this “learned” behavior, while children can learn about aggressive driving from their parents or guardians.

Feeling threatened by other vehicles, meanwhile, can be one of the reasons why a driver will respond aggressively, his behavior justified by an instinct of self-protection.

Some say that driving may also lead some drivers to feel a sense of power behind the wheel, especially in individuals who are unable to practice authority in their jobs or families – these drivers are often polite when not driving.

There are even some theories that attribute the behavior to the increasingly crowded and congested roads in modern cities. This type of environment often leads to feelings of frustration, especially if one encounters an unrespectful driver who changes lanes without warning, or those who prevent other vehicles from entering a traffic lane. Slow drivers can also add to this stress.

And yes, driving while intoxicated with alcohol and drugs may also increase the likelihood of aggressive driving.