What do you do if another driver behaves in a threatening way? Breathe deeply, keep calm and be friendly and courteous, even if the other driver isn’t. Follow this advice to prevent such a situation from happening again in the future.

Although it’s impossible to gauge the extent of the problem, road rage is certainly a worrying phenomenon. You never know when you might be subjected to the mood swings of a frustrated or stressed driver who suddenly turns aggressive.

Adopt good driving habits

Adopting good driving habits is one way to protect yourself (and your passengers) from another driver’s impatience.

  • Make your intentions clear: use your turn signals when changing lanes—preferably a few seconds BEFORE actually manoeuvering.
  • Don’t follow the vehicle in front of you too closely: no one likes tailgaters. Besides, you could easily have an accident if the person in front brakes suddenly.
  • Don’t hog the passing lane, even if it seems OK to stay in it after you have finished passing. Merge back into the right lane to leave the left lane clear.
  • Also, don’t block a right lane where right turns are allowed at red lights if you intend to drive straight on.
  • Maintain a steady speed. If you tend to change speed a lot, use the cruise control, if your car has one. If it doesn’t, keep an eye on the speedometer.
  • Go easy on the horn: use it to alert other drivers to a danger or to let them know you’re there.
  • Show consideration when parking: don’t take up two spaces, especially where parking space is limited.
  • If someone is trying to cut in between you and the car in front, show tolerance. You never know, that might one day be you in the same situation and you’ll be grateful to the considerate driver who lets you in.
  • Respect road signs. If the sign says yield, then yield!
  • Make sure you don’t dazzle oncoming traffic at night: remember to turn your high beams off. Remember also to switch off your fog lights when you don’t need them.
  • If a car passes you at a high speed, resist the temptation to show the driver your disapproval. Stay calm and carry on your merry way.

React sensibly around an aggressive driver

If you sense the driver in front of you is getting increasingly irritated or if their driving seems erratic and dangerous: be on the alert!

  • If they make an inappropriate gesture: don’t react to provocation.
  • If they challenge you to a race: ignore them.
  • If they suddenly brake: brake too, then keep your distance from them. If possible, or if you feel it necessary, take a different route.
  • If they let you pass and start following you:
    • Do not pull over.
    • Do not get out of your vehicle.
    • Make your way to a public place or a police station.
    • Most importantly, do not go home. You don’t know who you’re dealing with.
  • If you cannot get away from them: phone (hands-free, obviously) 911 if you have a cell phone with you.

Certain potential hazards await us every time we take to the road: detours, potholes, traffic jams, Sunday drivers and aggressive drivers represent a genuine danger to the public.

Keep calm, move with the traffic flow and let passing drivers who seem in a hurry to get “there” before you. Safe journey!