We’ve all had it happen to us: being tailgated, aggressively cut off, or even being the recipient of an obscene gesture or two.
A recent study named Phoenix and Tucson as cities with the most aggressive drivers. As of April 2019, the Arizona Governor’s Office of Highway Safety had already recorded 155 incidents of road rage for the year. That means if you’re driving in the Valley or elsewhere in Arizona, you’re likely to encounter angry, hostile, or threatening behavior from other drivers.
What is Road Rage?
According to the Arizona Department of Public Safety, a road rage incident is, “an assault with a motor vehicle or other dangerous weapon by the operator or passenger(s) of another motor vehicle or an assault precipitated by an incident that occurred on a roadway.”
Aggressive driving, on the other hand, is defined to include speeding or improper passing on roadways.
While road rage is a criminal offense, the act of aggressive driving is a traffic offense.
Top Ten Tips for Avoiding & Dealing With Road Rage and Aggressive Driving
#1: Keep your own emotions in check.
You can’t control other drivers, but you can control your own driving behavior and your reactions to others’ driving behaviors. Make a conscious choice every time you get in your vehicle to keep emotions and pride out of your own driving.
#2: Be a courteous and predictable driver.
One of the best ways to avoid encounters with aggressive drivers is to drive courteously, predictably, and to avoid distracted driving. Reckless or careless driving is never safe, and could increase your chances of coming into contact with an aggressive driver.
#3: Avoid eye contact with an aggressive driver.
Don’t make it personal. Eye contact and exhibiting emotion towards the other driver may escalate the situation. The best action is to continue about your driving business as calmly as possible.
#4: Get out of an aggressive driver’s way.
If you find yourself the object of an angry driver’s rage, and especially if you feel threatened, do your best to safely maneuver away from the situation, even if you have to alter your route.
#5: Protect yourself & passengers.
Minimize risk by always making sure your vehicle’s doors are locked and windows are raised. If you’re on city streets and in stop-and-go traffic, make sure you leave enough room to pull out from behind the car in front of you, so you don’t get boxed in.
#6: Don’t be aggressive in return.
Trying to out-aggressively drive the other driver (such as speeding up to pass them, brake-checking them, or cutting them off) will do the opposite of diffusing the situation, and could put you and your passengers in danger.
#7: Ignore obscene gestures.
It’s human nature to want to retaliate, but doing so is another way to escalate the situation. Don’t let it get to you — the best reaction is no reaction.
#8: If you’re being followed, don’t go home.
Call 911 (if you have a mobile phone and can do so safely) and drive to the nearest police station.
#9: Report aggressive drivers to authorities.
Report the vehicle description, license plate number, location and direction of travel.
#10: Don’t approach the scene of a crash.
If you witness an accident caused by aggressive driving, stop at a safe distance from the scene of the crash and don’t approach the vehicles. Notify police and give them your report when they arrive.
Would you like to learn more about defensive driving and staying safe on the road? Stop & Go Driving School has a variety of courses to help you learn how to better minimize risk on our roadways. Contact us to learn more.