Motorists have found themselves in unpleasant situations involving abusive gestures or language from another driver who takes issue with how they drive. Anxiety and frustration can quickly spark an aggressive or careless driver who tailgates, speeds, fails to yield the right of way among other behaviours.
Aggressive driving behaviour may lead to incidents of road rage where motorists have been threatened and/or subjected to retaliatory actions by angry motorists.
If people drive responsibly they will reduce the chances of conflict on the road and help make our roads safer. Experts recommend the following tips to help avoid road conflicts:
- Plan your route in advance. Some of the most erratic and inconsiderate driving occurs when motorists are lost. Or use a gps.
- Make a conscious decision not to take your problems with you when driving;
- Combat the warning signs of stress by getting fresh air and breathing deeply and slowly. Listen to relaxing music;
- Avoid long drives if you can. If you take a long trip, stop every few hours for a rest. Before and during a long drive, avoid heavy meals which tend to make a person lethargic;
- Drive in a courteous and considerate manner. Give way at busy intersections and where traffic lanes merge;
- Don't compete or retaliate. If someone's driving annoys you, don't try to “educate them”. Leave traffic enforcement to the police;
- Don't take other driver's mistakes personally;
- Avoid honking your horn unless absolutely necessary and, if you must, tap on it lightly;
- Say, “Sorry” if you make a mistake. An apology can reduce the risk of conflict;
- If you are being physically threatened, stay in your car and lock the doors. If you have a cell phone call the police. Use your horn and lights to attract attention;
- If you think you are being followed, do not drive home. Go to a police station or a busy public place;
- Don't carry a defensive weapon, it might provoke a potential assailant.
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