Call it road rage, or call them aggressive drivers. Or simply call them drivers behaving badly.
Whatever you call them, they're out there on the roads every day, behind the wheel and full of frustration and seething with anger. And they threaten your safety every time you get in your car.
An apparent side effect of a fast-paced and stressed out society, incidents of road rage are becoming all too common. These incidents can range from an aggressive gesture or word all the way up to a full-scale physical attack, and even murder.
So who are these aggressive drivers? They are high-risk motorists who take out their frustrations on others sharing the roadways. They tailgate, weave in and out of traffic lanes, make risky and unsafe maneuvers, yell, honk their horn repeatedly and flash their lights on and off, all to get your attention, or simply to annoy you.
They pass on the right, sometimes using the road shoulder or unpaved edge of the street, and then they threaten, intimidate or leer at you as they angrily zoom past at an unsafe speed. What triggers these incidents?
Most often, it starts either with tailgating, cutting off another motorist, traveling slowly in the left lane or failure to signal a lane change.
If you encounter one of these angry, aggressive drivers, the best thing to do is get out of their way as quickly and as safely as possible. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has some additional tips to help you avoid an angry confrontation with an aggressive driver:
Use your horn sparingly.
Don't challenge an aggressive driver by speeding up.
Avoid eye contact.
Ignore gestures and refuse to return them.
Avoid any kind of behavior that could antagonize other drivers.
Report all incidents of road rage or aggressive driving to law enforcement. If possible, include a vehicle description, license number, location and direction of travel.
Above all, stay alert, stay calm, drive courteously and obey the rules of the road to avoid becoming the next road rage victim.