What is Aggressive Driving?
Aggressive driving is often demonstrated by drivers who take their anger, resentment and frustration with them behind the wheel. These attitudes can lead to crashes and nasty confrontations. Many instances of this aggressive behaviour involve drivers who cut you off, make unsafe lane changes, speed, follow too closely, run red lights, and disobey traffic signs and signals. Add to that less than ideal picture, the blaring of a horn, angry voices shouting and rude hand gestures. All of these driving patterns can lead to road rage or the kind of highway madness that has drivers engaging in physical fights or using their vehicles to ram other drivers, sometimes forcing them off the road.
How to avoid aggressive driving?
When you find yourself in a stressful driving environment or when your mood makes you irritable and impatient, calm down, take a deep breath and relax. An aggressive state of mind will come through in your driving behaviour and affects your safety and the safety of others. Be courteous, content and considerate. Accept the fact that you're bound to meet all sorts of different drivers on the road. Don't take things personally. Try to follow some simple courteous driving practices:
- When you merge, make sure you have plenty of room. Always use your turn signal to show your intentions before making a move. If someone cuts you off, slow down and give them room to merge into your lane.
- If you are in the right lane and someone wants to pass, move over and let them by. You may be "in the left" because you are traveling at the speed limit - but you may also be putting yourself in danger by making drivers behind you angry.
- Allow at least a two-second space between your car and the car ahead. Drivers may get angry when they are followed too closely. If you feel you are being followed too closely, signal and pull over when safe to do so, allowing the other driver to pass.
- Use your horn rarely, if ever.
- Keep your hands on the wheel and avoid making any gestures that might anger another driver. That includes "harmless" expressions of irritation like shaking your head.
- If another driver is acting angry, don't make eye contact.
- Give angry drivers lots of room. If another driver tries to pick a fight, put as much distance between you as possible. And, remember "it takes two to tango". One angry driver can't start a fight unless another driver is willing to join in.
Advice provided by the Road Accident Fund [www.raf.co.za]