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One in every two drivers, subjected to aggressive driving behaviour on the road, responds with aggression of their own, thus risking a more serious confrontation.
According to a recently released national survey by a leading U.S. insurance company, when a driver gets the finger, is cut off or tailgated, 50 per cent of the victims respond with horn honking, yelling, cutting-off and obscene gestures of their own.
The survey revealed that 34 per cent of drivers say they honk their horn at the aggressor. Twenty seven per cent yell, 19 per cent give the finger back, 17 per cent settle for flashing their headlights, and seven per cent mimic the initial aggressive driving behaviour. Two per cent even admit to trying to run the other driver off the road.
Road rage is a two-way street. It takes two people to fight. So, if you are subjected to aggressive driving during the hectic holiday travel period, often the best way to ensure it does not get any worse is to just ignore it.
When it comes to aggressive responses, men are more likely than women to do so (54 per cent for men vs. 46 per cent for women), as are drivers age 18- to 24-years (67 per cent) versus drivers 65 years and older (30 per cent). Drivers with children are more likely to respond aggressively (59 per cent) compared with those without children (45 per cent). Cell phone users also respond more aggressively (59 per cent) versus those who do not use a cell phone while driving (39 per cent).
So, how do you avoid getting caught up in a road rage incident?
Attitude: Driving is not a competitive sport. Stay calm. Focus on getting from one place to another safely. Don’t allow yourself to be drawn into a confrontation.
Courtesy: Err on the side of being courteous and forgiving.
Turn signals: Use them to make sure drivers around you aren’t surprised by your lane change or other manoeuvre.
Changing lanes: Don’t cutoff other drivers and make sure you have room when you merge on and off a freeway or highway ramp
Keep up your speed: Driving in the left lane slower than the prevailing traffic is asking for trouble. Move to the right lane if someone wants to pass.
Tailgating: Keep a safe distance. Following too closely not only greatly reduces your ability to respond, it can annoy the other driver.
Gestures: Don’t make obscene gestures. Avoid any visible sign that you may be angry.
Keep your distance: If a driver is showing signs of aggressive driving, steer clear and get away from them.
Ease up: If someone cuts you off, slow down and give then room. Their aggression may escalate if you respond in kind.
Get help: If you think you’re in serious danger, use your cellphone to call the police.