Busier schedules, longer commutes, and more traffic on the roadways have led to an increase in aggressive driving around the country. Major cities, like Dallas, have an issue with aggressive drivers trying to make it to work on time in heavy rush hour traffic. Aggressive drivers put everyone on the roadway in danger, allowing rage to cloud their judgment and potentially lead to acts of violence. Recognizing an aggressive driver and staying away is the best options for protecting yourself from this human hazard.
Obey Roadway Rules
Many bouts of aggression behind the wheel stem from another vehicle disobeying the rules of the road. When one driver speeds, cuts another driver off, weaves between lanes, or fails to yield the right of way, it can trigger another driver’s rage reflex. You’ve likely felt this anger yourself. When a careless or negligent driver nearly causes an accident, it can make everyone else on the road feel heated. Don’t be the bad driver who makes other commuters angry. Wait your turn at a four-way stop, use your blinker when merging, and don’t use the left lane if you’re a slow driver.
Keep the Passing Lane Open
The “fast lanes” on I-30 and freeways in Dallas are passing lanes, according to Texas roadway rules. While many drivers stay in the left lane for the duration of their commutes, it’s actually only meant for passing slower vehicles in the middle and right lanes. To avoid an aggressive driver tailgating behind you, keep the passing lane open except when passing.
A driver in a hurry may get angry with you for blocking the passing lane. Resist the temptation to speed up, slow down, or “brake-check” the driver behind you to get him or her off your back. This could cause a rear-end collision or cause the angry driver to use other lanes to pass – a dangerous maneuver. Instead, carefully exit the passing lane using your blinker and allow the aggressor to pass you.
Leave Space Between Your Vehicle and Others
Keeping a safe driving distance between your vehicle and those around you is not only good safety advice, it can also help avoid road rage situations. Following the vehicle in front of you too closely can translate as tailgating, potentially making the other driver angry. The driver could then slam on his or her brakes, causing a rear-end collision if you can’t react in time (for which you’ll be responsible). Driving too closely to others could also cause an accident. Even a minor collision or scrape could set the wrong person on a rampage.
Don’t Use Inflammatory Gestures
Drivers often feel overly confident in the confines of their vehicles and do or say things they might not in a face-to-face altercation. Unfortunately, actions behind the wheel to another driver could cause a real-life confrontation. Avoid honking your horn unnecessarily, flashing your lights, or using rude hand gestures toward other drivers. It may be tempting to show another driver you’re irritated because he or she cut you off, but it isn’t worth making a heated situation worse. Save your horn for preventing collisions, not letting someone know you’re angry.
Prevent triggering a conflict by avoiding eye contact with a driver you know is angry. If an aggressive driver purposefully causes a collision, follows you home, or tries to exit his/her car for an altercation with you, call 911. For every moving violation related to aggressive driving in Texas, a driver can pay fines of up to $200 and even face jail time. Trust law enforcement to handle an aggressive driver – never try to neutralize a dangerous situation on your own.