Every driver needs to adhere to the rules of the road, and when driving is part of your job, there is added importance to the task. Driving for a living increases the amount of time you spend on the road each day which increases your likelihood of having to handle aggressive drivers.
What defines an aggressive driver?
Aggressive drivers are some of the most dangerous and reckless drivers on the road. They don’t just drive fast; they make aggressive maneuvers in their vehicles that put all other drivers and pedestrians at risk. Below are some examples of aggressive driving behavior:
- Attempting to bully the person in front of them by tailgating and trying to get them to change lanes.
- Passing that results in cutting other people off, as well as passing on the right or on the shoulder of the road.
- Showing a blatant disregard for red lights, stop signs, yield signs, and crossing zones.
- Displaying a general disregard and contempt for the safety and personal space of other cars and drivers.
When you observe an aggressive driver, the sharp and abusive way they operate their vehicle suggests that an angry person is behind the wheel. To further enhance this notion, most aggressive drivers yell, flash their lights excessively, make volatile and aggressive hand gestures and honk their horns at other drivers. Make no mistake that an aggressive driver is a dangerous driver whose behavior is completely unpredictable.
How do you handle aggressive drivers effectively?
The first thing to remember when facing an aggressive driver is not to turn into an aggressive driver in response. Never attempt to teach the aggressive driver a lesson or punish them by thwarting their efforts to pass you or by increasing your speed. Similarly, do not try to keep them penned in behind you or beside you. Instead, make safety your first priority and let them pass you by. You are better off behind an aggressive driver than you are in front of one.
As an aggressive driver passes you by, they might make certain offensive hand gestures or yell things to which you feel compelled to respond. Resist the temptation to respond. Always act in a professional manner and treat all other drivers, even the aggressive ones, as you would any company customer. Remember that aggressive drivers are irrational (at least, while they are aggressive) and responding to them, even politely, can escalate the situation. Simply ignore what they are doing, and refuse to make eye contact.
Be sure to take note of the make and model of an aggressive driver’s car, as well as their license plate number, if you are able. When you are in a safe location and no longer driving, call your local authorities and report the driver. If the driver is acting especially dangerous and erratic, you might want to pull over into a safe, public area and call the authorities immediately.
Remember, vigilante justice does not pay. Your primary goal should be on your safety, and the safety of other cars around you. Let the local authorities deal with the aggressive driver and keep your focus on remaining safe and productive.