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Aggro on the road – what to do if you encounter aggressive drivers

By 30th March 2023April 6th, 2023No Comments

We all come across aggressive drivers occasionally – it can be tough to stay calm under the pressure that aggressive drivers put us under, but we hope that these tips from IAM RoadSmart Chief Examiner Richard Gladman help you and your drivers stay cool, calm, collected and confident when you encounter a curmudgeon.

business drivers, who are often under additional pressure or driving at peak times, are particularly at risk of sharing the road with dangerously aggressive drivers, or occasionally exhibiting aggressive behaviour themselves.

What is aggressive driving and riding?

Aggressive driving can mean many driving behaviours, but here are a few key behaviours of aggressive drivers:

  • Running red lights
  • Tailgating
  • Speeding
  • Weaving through traffic
  • Overtaking on the inside
  • Moving across several lanes at the last second to take a motorway exit

Richard Gladman, Chief Examiner at IAM RoadSmart, said;

“One way to prevent situations on the road is to avoid engaging in the behaviours yourself and trying not to give other road users cause to become threatening towards you. Try not to take it personally, the driver or rider may be having a bad day, so it is best to be tolerant and forgiving.”

Here are some tips to help you keep your cool behind the wheel of your car or bike:

Stay calm

How you respond to aggressive drivers and the actions you take are what make all the difference between a pleasant or unpleasant outcome.

Plan ahead

Knowing where you’re going and how you’ll get there removes uncertainty. This in turn can prevent drivers feeling tense and minimises the chances of them becoming aggressive.

Keep your cool

Arriving at your destination safely is your number one priority. Do your best to ensure you’re in a good frame of mind when driving. If you’re upset or distracted by something else, you’re less likely to drive safely.

Keep off the horn

Do not sound your horn to ‘tell off’ the driver for their behaviour as this may lead to retaliation. Only sound your horn to warn another of your presence and their proximity to your vehicle in case they have not seen that you are there.

Protect yourself

Make sure your doors and windows are locked in case the other driver is looking for confrontation. Do not get out of your vehicle.

Let them go

If someone’s driving aggressively behind you, aching to get past, find a safe place to pull over and let them go. It’ll add seconds to your journey but may save you from being involved in an incident or having an unpleasant confrontation.

Report them

Report aggressive driving to the police (vehicle description, license number, location, and the direction of travel).

Acknowledge your mistakes

Whether you think you are in the wrong, it’s often a good idea to simply recognise your mistake to try and diffuse the situation quickly. Be as polite on the road as you would be in any other social situation. You cannot control traffic, but you can control your response to it.

Think about your actions and how they might themselves lead to other drivers being aggressive towards you. We all make mistakes, so if a fellow motorist makes an error, then take a deep breath and move on.

To learn more about how IAM RoadSmart can help you enhance your fleet, contact us.

Gary Bates

Author Gary Bates

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