6 Characteristics Of Aggressive Drivers – Parents Need To Know
For many of us, driving is a key part of our everyday lives. The more time we spend behind the wheel, the more experience we gain, and the better our understanding of how to stay safe on the roads becomes. However, it can be more challenging to assess how safe the driving of others might be, and in stressful situations, it can become even harder to predict their behavior. The reality is there are some real psychos on the road every single day whose erratic behavior can lead to car crashes or something even worse.
Here, we look into the typical aggressive driving behaviors to help you identify them on the road, allowing you to make more informed decisions behind the wheel. First, let’s take a closer look at the 3 types of aggressive driving behavior.
- Verbal aggression. Verbal aggression includes yelling or swearing at other drivers or giving them the finger when they cut you off in traffic or park too close to your car.
- Physical aggression. Physical aggression involves actions such as bumping into another vehicle or getting out of your car to confront another motorist after an accident.
- Visual aggression. Visual aggression includes making obscene gestures or flashing headlights to signal anger at other motorists on the roadways
Related Article: How Is Dangerous Driving Prevented
Common Aggressive Driving Behaviors
1. Overtaking In A Dangerous Manner
Overtaking is a driving maneuver in which a driver passes by another vehicle traveling in the same direction, especially on multi-lane roads. In many countries, an overtaking vehicle is required to move into an adjoining lane if the highway has two or more lanes traveling in the same direction.
When performed on multi-lane roads, the safety of overtaking depends upon the actions taken by all drivers involved in the maneuver. If a driver decides to overtake, they should be aware of other vehicles around them and take appropriate action to avoid collisions with these vehicles. The most important thing to remember is that you should only overtake when it is safe to do so.
2. Confrontational Speech Or Actions
Did you know that 62% of drivers experience road rage? This shows how common it is to feel frustrated while driving from time to time, but most of us do not make this obvious to other motorists. While you should always mainly pay attention to your own driving, motorists who are confrontational may gesture to you, shout, or blare their car horn to catch your attention. This may be in response to a perceived slight on your part – such as turning or overtaking, even done safely – and can lead to car accidents.
Angry drivers are rarely careful drivers, after all. If you are on the road with a confrontational driver, remain calm and do not respond. In most cases, they will drive away if you don’t engage. If you happen to see a driver who is gesturing at another motorist, again it is best to avoid engaging with the situation.
We have all found ourselves stuck in traffic from time to time, especially during rush hour. While it can be annoying, it is never an excuse for reckless driving or making the experience more stressful for others. One of the common signs of an aggressive driver, however, is tailgating. This is when a driver will inch closer to the vehicle in front, and this can feel quite threatening and difficult to deal with. It also raises the chances of a collision on your rear end.
If you find yourself in this situation, it can be tempting to tap the brakes to try and encourage the tailgater to back off, but this can only make the situation worse. Try to remain calm and focus on your own driving, continuing to keep your distance from the car in front of you. Engaging in aggressive driving yourself in response will only make the situation worse.
Speeding is a major cause of traffic injuries, and it can endanger other drivers, pedestrians, and cyclists. This normally happens to drunk teen drivers.
If you are going too fast for the conditions on the road, you might not be able to brake safely when you need to. This can lead to a collision with another vehicle or object. Speeding also increases the severity of injuries in an accident: if you’re doing over speed limit at 100 km/h (60 mph), then hitting something at 30 km/h (20 mph) will incur much more damage than if your vehicle had been traveling at 50 km/h (30 mph). The faster you’re driving when you crash into something else—whether it’s another car or a guardrail—the more likely someone will suffer serious injuries or even die as a result of that collision.
You really have to slow down during winter driving even if you’re running late especially if you have kids onboard. Always be mindful of child passenger safety.
5. Incorrect Lane Changing
Incorrect lane changes are one of the most common ways aggressive drivers show their displeasure with other drivers. These changes can take any number of forms, but they all involve switching lanes in order to avoid merging with another driver or letting another driver pass them. They may also result from confusion over which lane is appropriate or intended for use at a particular time.
Aggressive drivers who do this often signal their intentions with an abrupt move into another lane, slamming on their brakes if necessary in order to make it clear that they’re not going to let anyone cut them off. This behavior can lead to road rage incidents and accidents that could cause serious injuries or fatal crashes for innocent bystanders. Please be mindful of pedestrian safety.
6. Running Red Lights
Red light cameras are used in many states to detect drivers who run red lights. But they aren’t the only solution to prevent this dangerous behavior. Here are some other ways you can help keep yourself and others safe:
Be alert at intersections: You may be tired when you’re driving home from work or school at night, but you still need to remain vigilant on stop signs. Don’t let your attention wander or let yourself fall asleep at the wheel. Pay attention to what’s happening around you — especially at intersections — and don’t assume that other drivers will stop for a red light just because it’s their job as well.
Be patient behind the wheel: If you see a car coming up fast behind you, don’t speed up or try to get through the intersection before them — especially if there are pedestrians present. This can put everyone at risk if there is an accident later down the road when another driver isn’t expecting them (or even if they do). Keep calm behind the wheel for traffic safety.
Tips To Handle An Aggressive Driver
If you’re unable to avoid an aggressive driver, here are some tips for handling the situation:
- Don’t make eye contact. That can escalate the situation, especially if the driver believes you’ve been looking at them too long. Instead, focus on driving and keeping your eyes on the road.
- Don’t get upset or angry if a driver cuts you off or honks their horn at you. Try not to react to their actions at all if possible; this will help prevent further escalation of the situation.
- Avoiding an aggressive driver may be difficult if they start following closely behind you or try to pass as quickly as possible without leaving much room between cars on a two-lane highway. You should try to stay calm and keep an eye out for any safe distance where it’s okay for both of you to slow down so that nobody gets hurt in an accident.
Aggressive driving is a dangerous behavior that can have serious consequences. Although it’s tempting to believe that this type of behavior is just an annoyance, it actually puts people’s lives at risk and can lead to accidents. By understanding what aggressive driving looks like and how you can avoid becoming part of the problem yourself, we hope you will be better prepared for encountering these drivers on our roads. And remember, you never know what someone is going through in their personal lives that might be one of the causes of aggressive driving or impaired driving. So it is always best to have a little grace.
While you can never be fully in control of how others behave on the road, it is essential to be vigilant and aware of what to watch out for so you can adjust your driving accordingly. With these common behaviors in mind, you will hopefully be able to avoid situations where aggressive drivers impact your personal road safety and always reach your destination safely.