How to deal with aggressive drivers


The pleasant summer weather means more people will be out driving. Whether driving to a lakefront retreat for a vacation or simply cruising around town, summer traffic increases the risks posed by aggressive driving. According to the Ontario Provincial Police, last summer saw an 80 percent increase in deaths caused by aggressive and dangerous driving behviours, and there is no reason to believe it is going to be any better this year. Anyone using the roads and streets, including pedestrians, motorcyclists, bicycle riders and drivers, are likely to be confronted at some point by an aggressive driver. Here are a few tips to help you deal with aggressive drivers.

What is aggressive driving?

As much as you might make the effort to drive safely and responsibly, there are those drivers whose aggressive driving puts everyone, including themselves, in danger. Typical aggressive driving behaviours include:

  • Speeding
  • Following too closely
  • Refusing to yield the right of way
  • Frequently changing lanes
  • Failing to leave sufficient space between vehicles when changing lanes

Not only do aggressive drivers cause accidents, but their conduct causes other drivers to become angry and can lead to retaliatory action or other forms of road rage.

How to respond to aggressive driving

When confronted by an aggressive driver, the thing to keep in mind is that the behaviour exhibited by the other motorist is not a personal attack on you. Remain calm and do not allow anger to control your driving. Depending upon the circumstances, including traffic conditions, other things to do or to avoid include:

  • Move out of the way of a driver who is tailgating you or engaging in other forms of aggressive driving.
  • Avoid eye contact or gestures that could be interpreted by the other driver as threatening or provoking.
  • Maintain control of your vehicle and continue to operate it in a safe manner.
  • Avoid unnecessary use of the horn. A loud, blaring horn can further agitate an already aggressive driver. Use your horn only when needed to warn other vehicles or pedestrians of danger.
  • If a vehicle is attempting to pass you, do not block it from entering your lane.
  • Avoid retaliatory behaviours, such as stepping on your brakes when someone is tailgating or flashing your headlights at a vehicle that has cut into your lane.

The government of Ontario responded to the increase in aggressive driving incidents by enacting a law prohibiting risky behaviours and imposing penalties that include up to $10,000 in fines and imprisonment for violators.

Steps you can take to prevent aggressive driving

If you see someone driving aggressively and putting other motorists at risk, contact the police to report it. You can also help to keep the roads safe by not engaging in aggressive driving behaviours. A few ways to do this include the following:

  • Plan your trips and leave enough time to get to your destination without feeling the need to rush and drive at excessive speeds.
  • Avoid drinking alcoholic beverages before driving.
  • If you are running late for an appointment, call ahead and let the other party know instead of rushing to get there sooner than traffic or weather conditions will allow.
  • Avoid distractions while driving. If you need to make a call or send or read a text message, pull off the road when it is safe to do so.
  • Know the alternate rates you can use if traffic or road construction delays are a common problem on the routes you normally use.

The best way for you to help reduce the risks posed by aggressive drivers is to avoid becoming one.

Ontario personal injury lawyers can help

The personal injury lawyers at Diamond and Diamond have years of experience successfully handling claims for compensation for individuals suffering injuries due to the negligence of other parties. If you have been injured in a motor vehicle accident, call the Diamond and Diamond 24/7 injury hotline at 1-800-567-HURT or visit their website to speak to someone now. They offer free consultations and case evaluations to injury victims throughout Ontario.