Do you find driving in Arizona scary? I know I do, and I’ve driven in New York and California, so that’s saying a lot! One fundamental issue that I see is aggressive driving. This includes speeding – exceeding the posted limit or driving too fast for conditions, improper or excessive lane changing, failing to signal intent, and failing to see that movement can be made safely. Improper passing – using an emergency lane or passing on the shoulder.
Our instructors talk to students about what to do if confronted by an aggressive driver.
- #1 is to get out of their way.
- #2 Never challenge them by mimicking their bad behavior.
- #3 Don’t make eye contact or return rude gestures.
What I experience regularly is that people have no regard for the others around them. I encourage you to make a conscious effort the next time you are behind the wheel to consider that you have family members in the car in front of you, on both sides, and behind you, and treat those drivers with courtesy and respect. Your actions every time you get behind the wheel make a real difference, and you are setting an example for your children as well. Let’s make the freeways safer for all, especially those novice teen drivers who are just starting.
Here are some additional tips from the Arizona Department of Public Safety. The information below can be found at https://www.azdps.gov/safety-messages.
Things to Avoid
- Expressing Frustration – Taking out your frustrations on your fellow motorists can lead to violence or a crash.
- Fail 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 that can result in serious injury or death.
- Making Frequent Lane Changes – If you whip in and out of lanes to advance ahead, you can be a danger to other motorists.
- Running Red Lights – Do not enter an intersection on a yellow light. Remember flashing red lights should be treated as a stop sign.
- Speeding – Going faster than the posted speed limit, being a “road racer” and going too fast for conditions are some examples of speeding.
Things to Do
- Concentrate – Don’t allow yourself to become distracted by talking on your cell phone, eating, drinking or putting on makeup.
- 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 travel 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 less congested.
- Use Public Transportation – Public transportation can relieve you from life behind the wheel.
- Just Be Late – if all else fails, just be late.
What to Do if Confronted by an Aggressive Driver
- Get Out of the Way – First and foremost, 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 and refuse to return them.
- Report Serious Aggressive Driving – You or a passenger may call 9-1-1, but if you use a cell phone, pull over to a safe location.