A recent survey conducted by the AAA Foundation revealed that 9 out of 10 respondents believe aggressive drivers are a threat to public safety. Even more startling is the fact that as much as 56% of fatal car crashes involved aggressive driving behaviors like speeding, tailgating, illegal passing, and erratic lane changes.
When aggressive driving behavior escalates to road rage, you and your passengers could find themselves in a physical confrontation. Another AAA Foundation study found 10,000 road rage incidents happening over a seven-year period revealed 12,610 injuries and 218 murders. Every one of these horrible stores began with aggressive driving.
When you look at the stats, it seems American motorists obviously have good reason to be concerned about aggressive drivers. The best way to avoid a run-in with road rage is to be prepared. So, check out our tips on aggressive drivers, including spotting and reporting an unsafe motorist.
Spotting an Aggressive Driver
Most of the time, it’s pretty easy to spot an unsafe driver stalking the roadway. You’ve probably witnessed the aggressive driving habits of other motorists and wondered why they were acting so irresponsible.
The key behaviors you’ve most likely noticed when someone’s driving is becoming threatening are:
- Speeding up or slowing down to disrupt the traffic flow
- Weaving in and out of traffic
- Going through stop signs and red lights
- Speeding more than 10mph above the posted speed limit
- Inappropriately braking
- Driving along the shoulder
- Cutting off other driver’s when parking, turning, or changing lanes
- Driving fast and/or without caution through construction zones, school zones, or bus stops
You may see drivers that are acting in a funny way for other reasons like:
- Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Texting or talking
- Distractions (e.g. passengers, radio, cell phone)
- Medical emergency
- Mechanical breakdown (e.g. flat tire, broken belt, running out of fuel)
A Good Defense Is Best
No matter the reason why another motorist is driving in an unusual way, it’s always best for you to follow these defensive driving safety tips. Taking the following steps will help reduce your risks while behind the wheel:
- Cut down on your own distractions
- Be sure your seatbelt is fastened
- Pay attention to your surroundings
- Be self-aware. Are you the one driving aggressively?
- Put more space between your vehicle and others
- Slow down
- Be cautious while entering intersections
- Assume other drivers may not be able to see you
- Plan an escape route should you feel endangered
- Notify the authorities
It may even be worthwhile to take a defensive driving course. You’ll gain a lot of insight on how to deal with aggressive drivers. Other perks are being able to freshen up your overall driving skills and possibly getting a discount on your auto insurance too.
Reporting an Aggressive Driver
When you find yourself sharing the road with an aggressive driver, it’s most important to simply get out of their way. Once you feel that it’s safe, then be sure to report the behavior. This is the best way to protect other drivers and pedestrians traveling along the same route.
Get a Description: Challenging an aggressive driver could cause the situation to explode and increase the chances of a crash or assault. Instead try your best to get the vehicle’s plate number, as well as both the car and driver’s physical descriptions. Make a note of any physical damage to the car, the paint color, and anything else that’s unusual.
Remember Their Direction: Do your best to also remember the aggressive driver’s location and the direction the motorist is traveling. Remember exit numbers, street names, landmarks, and anything else that will help a police officer find the aggressive driver.
Stay Safe: Don’t use your cell phone while you’re driving. Don’t tailgate or chase the aggressive driver so you can gather more details. You want to keep a safe distance and not become a nuisance to other vehicles. If possible, rely on your passengers for assistance.
Call 911: As soon as it’s safe to do so, dial 911 and report the aggressive driver. You’ll need to explain to the police dispatcher all about the unsafe behavior you’ve witnessed.
Safe travels are the best travels. Unfortunately, in today’s society there’s always a chance you could find yourself on the warpath of an aggressive driver. No matter the reason for the motorist’s dangerous behavior, it’s important to keep yourself safe first. Once you and your passengers are secure then it’s your civic duty to report the aggressive driving. You will be doing all motorists a favor by making sure everyone, including the aggressive driver, gets home safe.