Many people are impatient on the roads today. Whether it is due to stress, traffic congestion, an inconsiderate driver or some other trigger, there are some drivers who react aggressively to others. Aggressive behavior behind the wheel can turn deadly for New York residents. Here, we provide information on how you can reduce your chances of becoming a road rage victim.
Road rage is a step up from aggressive driving, according to the American Safety Council. Whereas aggressive driving can cause accidents, road rage is a deliberate action to cause harm and is considered a criminal offense. Aggressive driving may involve speeding, swerving between lanes, tailgating, cutting others off, honking the horn and using offensive hand gestures. If you are the target of someone who switches from being an aggressive driver to engaging in road rage, he or she may use the vehicle, a firearm or other object in the car as a weapon, or attempt to force you out of your vehicle for a physical confrontation.
It comes as no surprise that a road rage encounter can be terrifying. Here are some ways you might de-escalate a potentially dangerous road rage situation:
- If an angry driver is following you, try to drive somewhere well-lit and populated, such as a gas station or police station.
- Use your cellphone to call the police.
- Do not retaliate and escalate the situation. Avoid making eye contact.
- Never drive home, which would alert the angry driver to where you live and create an opportunity for a later confrontation.
Of course, you may prevent a road rage situation in the first place by driving courteously. However, a driving mistake on your part is no excuse for anyone to try to harm you.
Authorities say that aggressive driving is responsible for 66 percent of all fatal traffic accidents. When you understand how to react to an angry driver and avoid driving aggressively yourself, you are improving your odds of staying safe on the road.