What to do if you encounter an aggressive driver

On Behalf of | May 19, 2020 | Motor Vehicle Accidents |

We hear a lot about the dangers posed by distracted drivers in North Carolina, but aggressive drivers are an equal concern.

According to the AAA Foundation, a survey it conducted showed that almost 90% of respondents said that aggressive drivers were either a “somewhat” or “very serious” threat on the roads. Any unsafe act committed by a driver that is done deliberately, such as speeding, can be considered aggressive driving. And a AAA report said that aggressive driving actions are found in more than half of fatal crashes.

Tailgating, speeding, disobeying traffic lights or signs, illegal passing and dangerous lane changes can constitute aggressive driving, and they even can rise to the level of road rage.

What can you do to stay safe if you spot a potentially aggressive driver on the road?

Start by avoiding a confrontation. Keep your hands on the wheel and resist the urge to make any gestures with your hands that could accelerate the situation. Don’t shout out the window at the driver or even shake your head. A driver you offend could take action that could harm you or your passengers.

If it appears the driver is looking for a fight, back off. Don’t pull off the road or into a parking lot to try to settle the issue. Instead, put distance between the two of you. Use your cellphone to safely call police if you feel threatened, or immediately pull into a safe spot where a lot of people usually gather. That could be a police station, hospital, convenience store parking lot or such. Honk your horn to get attention. Don’t go home because the aggressor could follow you.

It is vital that all of us also avoid being aggressive drivers. We need to remember that driving isn’t a competition and that the goal is not to win, but to get safely from one point to the next. Don’t tailgate, leave plenty of space between your car and others, don’t cut off other drivers, defer to other motorists and slow down. Fatal crashes involving aggressive driving can be avoided.