A Major Concern
Do not underestimate the potential for a Road Rage incident to occur.
Every driver is accompanied by a major weapon: their vehicle.
Anyone, regardless of background, can become caught in an aggressive driving moment.
There are more vehicles on the road than ever before.
More vehicles means more traffic, and thus more frustration when drivers are stuck in traffic jams
People are more stressed due to overextending themselves and their responsibilities.
When people leave for their destination, they try to make up for lost time while driving, adding more stress.
Many HTS users see their vehicle as a prized possession and any perceived slight to their vehicle is seen as a personal affront.
With more people feeling aggressive in their lives, it is amplified amongst drivers, and creates a climate ripe for road rage.
Levels of Aggressive Driving
You cannot control the behaviour of others, only your own. Protect yourself by correcting any bad habits that may trigger others who are already over-aggressive or angry.
LEVEL 1: Quiet Road Rage
Continually complaining about the behaviour of other drivers
Rushing to get to destination
Treating driving as a competition (to beat other drivers)
Resisting attempts by other road users to manoeuvre
- Levels of Aggressive Driving
LEVEL 3: Confrontational Road Rage
Personal, targeted attacks
Drivers use their vehicle to frighten or to attack other users
Cutting off other users
Deliberately slamming on brakes to frighten others
Two motorists chase each other for several miles
Motorists may pull to the side of the road, exit vehicles and have a verbal argument.
- Levels of Aggressive Driving
LEVEL 4: Epic Road Rage
Using the vehicle as a weapon and/or using an actual weapon
Motorist rams their vehicle into another vehicle or into another vehicle where the victim is located
Enraged driver exits their vehicle and may smash the other vehicle’s windshield
A physical altercation that may involve a weapon
By following the rules of the road and working to be a polite and courteous driver, incidents of road rage will be diminished. These behaviours should be avoided
When on a two-lane road, the left lane is for passing. Do not linger in this lane as it restricts the movement of traffic.
If s/he is speeding, it is better that they are unhappy with a speeding ticket, than being angry at you. It is not your job to enforce speed laws.
Do not double park (stop beside the vehicles parked near the curb). If you are dropping someone off or picking someone up, find an out of the way place to park at the curb.
If you are towing a trailer or driving slowly, and traffic is building up behind you, move aside (onto the shoulder if necessary) and let the other vehicles pass.
If you end up in a turning lane and didn’t mean to turn, turn anyway. Do not block traffic by trying to get back into the straight ahead lane.
Just as you would, other users will react if you invade their area on the road,
1. Dont tailgate: On freeways, allow at least 3 seconds of space between yourself and the vehicle in front of you, more in bad weather or heavy traffic.
2. Passing: When preparing to pass, don’t get too close to the vehicle ahead as this will cause you to lose your speed superiority, and block your field of vision
After passing, do not cut back into the right lane until there is a safe distance between yourself and the passed car. Make sure the front of the passed vehicle is visible in your rear view mirror
After passing, do not slow down and inconvenience the passed car – this is anger-causing behaviour.
3. Merging: Leave plenty of space between your vehicle and other motorists.
If someone else is merging, move out of the way and allow them room to merge.
4. Changing Lanes: Do not weave back and forth, weaving between traffic.
Switch lanes only when necessary, and always allow your signal light some time to be seen by other drivers BEFORE attempting the lane change.
Always signal your intentions early, without confusing other road users. You must signal at least 2 seconds before attempting a manoeuvre
After completing the manoeuvre, be sure to cancel your signal if it was not done automatically by the car (ex. After a turn)
1. Lights: When approaching an oncoming vehicle at night, dim your lights before reaching them
If you are approaching an oncoming vehicle that does not dim it’s lights, flash your high beams for a moment to signal to them to dim their lights. If they do not, look far ahead at the right edge of the roadway.
2. Horn: Use in moderation, Use two short taps two get attention
Never use your horn as a means to attract attention for reasons other than road safety.
If a light turns green and the driver in front is not moving, avoid honking at the car in front. Be patient.
3. Gestures: Avoid shaking a fist, throwing up the middle finger, or shaking your head in disapproval at other drivers. This is escalation behaviour.
4. Parking: Do not park in more than one space.
Do not use parking spots for persons with disabilities unless you have the proper permit
Avoid contacting other vehicles in the parking lot, either while moving, or after stopping and opening your doors
Never fight over a parking spot. Let the other motorist have it if the situation arises.
5. Cell Phones: Do not talk/text while driving. Pull to the side of the road, place your call/respond to the text and then continue your trip.
Distracted driving is seen by other road users and can cause a very strong and aggressive reaction.
6. Car Alarms: Adjust to ensure it is not overly sensitive nor stays on for a long time. A car alarm going off unnecessarily is annoying for everyone.
7. Bumper Stickers, Flags, Slogans: Avoid adding any of these to your vehicle that may be offensive and thus cause confrontation.
Strong emotions (such as anger) can get in the way of driving safely. They can also affect your alertness, decision-making, and concentration.
You cannot control the environment or the behaviour of others, but you can control your own reactions.
Put a plan in place to help you keep your self-control.
STEP ONE : Acknowledge that you can feel angry or frustrated
If you are already angry, a small situation can quickly become escalated
When strong emotions take hold for whatever reason, postpone driving. Wind down before you get behind the wheel
Driving while not in complete control of yourself is very irresponsible.
STEP TWO : Pay attention to your thoughts and feelings while driving.
You cannot control traffic, but you can control your reaction.
When anger increases to the point where you are no longer being rational, hostile behaviour will result
Identify the warning signs of stress, anger and fatigue before it gets too far.
Recognize the absurdity of traffic disputes. Ask yourself: Will this really matter in 5 years?
Recognize that your vehicle is not a shield, and you will have to get out eventually.
STEP THREE :
Plan your time wisely
Create a soothing environment in your vehicle to minimize stress. Play some quiet music you like.
If you get stuck in traffic, remind yourself that it is only temporary and you will be on your way soon.
Be courteous. Courteous behaviour is contagious and will help make driving more livable for everyone.
Give others the benefit of the doubt. You have made mistakes driving and will again. So too has everyone else.
What to do when confronted
The best way to prevent road rage incident is to not respond in kind and escalate the situation
One driver cannot start a fight alone.
Avoid eye contact with aggressive or confrontational drivers
If challenged, swallow your pride, relax, and get out of the way. Take a deep breath
Keep doors locked while driving, and windows/sunroof only partially open.
When parked behind a vehicle, leave yourself room to escape if necessary.
If pursued by another motorist, do not go home, or to your work, or to someone else’s home. Drive to a police station, shopping centre or well-lit, very public location where witnesses are around.
Once there, honk the horn or sound the car alarm to attract attention.
When you see an aggressive driver, get the license plate number and report the incident to the authorities.