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V. Dealing with particular situations
Aggressive driving and road rage

Aggressive-driving behaviours, such as tailgating, speeding, failing to yield the right-of-way and cutting in front of someone too closely, may cause other drivers to become frustrated and angry, and lead to a road-rage conflict between drivers. An angry driver may attempt dangerous retaliatory action. Avoid becoming angry on the road by following these tips:

  • Know the warning signs of stress, and combat them by getting fresh air, breathing deeply and slowly, and listening to relaxing music.
  • Make a conscious decision not to take your problems with you when driving.
  • If you are on a long trip, take a break from driving every few hours.
  • Don’t compete with another driver, or retaliate for what you believe to be inconsiderate behaviour.
  • If someone else’s driving annoys you, don’t try to “educate” the person. Leave traffic enforcement to the police.
  • Don’t take other drivers’ mistakes or behaviours personally.
  • Avoid honking your horn at other drivers, unless absolutely necessary. A light tap on the horn is usually sufficient.

Remember that, if you drive responsibly and courteously, you are less likely to spark a road- rage situation.

  • Plan your route in advance. Some of the most erratic and inconsiderate driving occurs when a driver is lost.
  • Drive in a courteous and considerate manner.
  • Yield the right-of-way when it is courteous to do so.
  • Be polite and let other drivers in front of you when they are signalling that they would like to do so.
  • If you make a mistake while driving, indicate that you are sorry. An apology can greatly reduce the risk of conflict.
  • Don’t return aggression. Avoid eye contact and do not gesture back. Keep away from erratic drivers.

If you are in a situation in which you feel threatened by another driver, do the following:

  • Stay in your vehicle and lock the doors.
  • If you have a cell phone, call police.
  • Use your horn and signals to attract attention.
  • If you believe you are being followed, do not drive home. Drive to a police station or a busy public place.