Aggressive driving: How to prevent, respond to it

  • Published
  • By Eric T. Hoehn
  • 88th Air Base Wing Safety Office

We have all dealt with aggressive drivers from time to time, and sometimes, we’re the guilty party.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recommends the following:

To avoid engaging in aggressive driving behavior, plan ahead and allow yourself extra time. Also:

Concentrate. Don’t allow yourself to become distracted by talking on your cellphone, eating, drinking or putting on makeup.
Relax. Tune the radio to your favorite relaxing music. Music can calm your nerves and help you enjoy time in the car.
Drive the posted speed limit. Fewer crashes occur when vehicles are traveling at or about the same speed.
Identify alternate routes. Try mapping out an alternate route. Even if it looks longer on paper, you may find it’s less congested.
Use public transportation. Public transportation can give you some much-needed relief from life behind the wheel.
Just be late. If all else fails, just be late.

When confronted by an aggressive driver:

Get out of the way. First and foremost, make every attempt to get out of their way.
• Put your pride aside. Do not challenge others by speeding up or attempting to hold-your-own in your travel lane.
Avoid eye contact. Eye contact can sometimes enrage an aggressive driver.
Gestures. Ignore gestures and refuse to return them.
Report serious aggressive driving. You or a passenger may call the police. But if you use a cellphone, pull over to a safe location.

Bottom line: Aggressive driving must be prevented whenever possible and responded to appropriately at all times. If someone does something they shouldn’t or fails to do something they should, do your best to show them the patience you would appreciate if the roles were reversed.