Avoiding Aggressive Driving

Aggressive driving or "road rage" has become a serious problem on Ada County roads, with more incidents reported every month.

What is aggressive driving?

Most of us know it when we see it, but the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration defines it as happening when "an individual commits a combination of moving traffic offenses so as to endanger other persons or property."

Am I an aggressive driver?

If you find yourself doing the following while behind the wheel, you may be an aggressive driver:

  • Expressing Frustration. Taking out your frustrations on your fellow motorists can lead to violence or a crash.
  • Failing To Pay Attention When Driving. Reading, eating, drinking or talking on the phone can be a major cause of roadway crashes.
  • Tailgating. This is a major cause of crashes and can result in serious deaths or injuries.
  • Making Frequent Lane Changes. If you whip in and out of lanes to move through traffic, you can be a danger to other motorists.
  • Running Red Lights. Speeding up to enter an intersection on a yellow light, and failing to stop at a red light are aggressive and dangerous behaviors.
  • Speeding. Going faster than the posted speed limit, being a "road racer" and going too fast for conditions are some examples of speeding.

How do I avoid driving aggressively?

  • Concentrate. Don't allow yourself to become distracted by talking on your cellular phone, eating, drinking, etc.
  • Relax. Tune the radio to your favorite relaxing music. Music can calm your nerves and help you to enjoy your time in the car.
  • Drive The Posted Speed Limit. Fewer crashes occur when vehicles are travelling at or about the same speed.
  • Identify Alternate Routes. Try mapping out an alternate route. Even if it looks longer on paper, you may find it is less congested.
  • Just Be Late. If all else fails, just be late.

What do I do if confronted by an aggressive driver?

  • Get Out Of The Way. First and foremost make every attempt to get out of their way.
  • Put Your Pride Aside. Do not challenge them by speeding up or attempting to hold-your-own in your travel lane.
  • Avoid Eye Contact. Eye contact can sometimes enrage an aggressive driver.
  • Ignore Gestures. Ignore gestures and refuse to return them.
  • Report Serious Aggressive Driving. You or a passenger may call the police.

  -From the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration