Every driver must conduct himself or herself with care on the road. Even a minor, unintentional mistake could snowball into a catastrophic car accident. When a driver engages in reckless behaviors such as aggressive driving or road rage, the results can be disastrous. Aggressive drivers are more likely to speed, make unsafe lane changes, cut other drivers off and tailgate. Southern California is infamous for its dangerous, reckless and aggressive drivers. If you encounter an aggressive driver on the road, handle the situation safely to avoid a serious accident.
Be a Courteous Driver
Although it is the other driver’s duty to keep a cool head while driving, you can do your part to prevent road rage by being a courteous driver. Watch the road and obey traffic laws. Signal your intent to turn, follow the rules and do not cut other drivers off. Breaking traffic rules could make you unpredictable on the road, potentially sparking fear or rage in the drivers around you. Practice careful and courteous driving to reduce the risk of encountering an aggressive driver.
Do Not Engage With the Aggressive Driver
An aggressive driver may take out his or her frustrations on other people on the road. Do not take it personally if an aggressive driver targets you. The driver could be going through something completely unrelated to the driving task. Do not let someone else’s anger or aggression change the way you feel. Instead of reacting with anger, be calm, polite and courteous – even if the aggressive driver tries to instigate an altercation with rude remarks or hand gestures. Do your best to avoid conflict. You never know what the aggressive driver is capable of; for example, he or she may carry a dangerous weapon in the vehicle. Diffuse the situation by ignoring the aggressive driver’s behaviors and staying out of the way.
Avoid the Left Lane
Driving too slow in the left lane, or fast lane, is often a trigger for aggressive drivers. It is also against the law in California. Drivers in California can receive traffic tickets for going too slow in the passing lane on freeways. This rule is important for preventing traffic buildup. If an aggressive driver gets stuck behind you in the fast lane or carpool lane, he or she may escalate the situation by tailgating you, honking or flashing his or her headlights. This could cause a collision.
If you have an aggressive driver riding behind you in the left lane, politely remove yourself from the lane when it is safe to do so. Let the other driver pass you. Do not instigate further aggression by brake-checking the driver or slowing down further. These actions could make you liable should the driver rear-end your vehicle. It could also make the driver even angrier, creating a more dangerous and unpredictable situation.
Let the Driver Pass
Keep your distance from a driver that is exhibiting aggressive or dangerous behaviors. The farther you are from the driver, the lower your odds are of getting into an accident. Carefully get out of the way of a driver who is weaving between lanes, speeding, racing, making angry gestures or otherwise showing signs of road rage. Carefully change lanes, drive close to the right-hand side of the road or pull over to let the aggressive driver pass you. Getting out of the way could help you prevent an accident.
Call the Police
If you are near a driver who appears angry or dangerous enough to cause a car accident, report the driver to law enforcement. Call 911 if it is an emergency, or dial your county’s nonemergency police number to report the driver. Give the agent the aggressive driver’s vehicle description and license plate numbers while keeping a safe distance. Never try to confront an aggressive driver yourself. Reporting an aggressive driver to the police could help you prevent a tragedy. If an aggressive driver appears to be following you to your destination, drive directly to a police station for assistance.