There are few situations on the road that are as scary and potentially dangerous as dealing with an aggressive driver — the kind who speeds around you and cuts you off, tailgates relentlessly, leans on the horn, makes rude gestures, and generally tries to take out some deep-seated frustrations on the rest of the motoring public.
Such episodes are becoming increasingly common in places like Colorado, thanks in part to the state’s rapid growth and increasingly congested traffic.
According to a federal database, the Fatal Analysis Reporting System, Colorado had 53 crash fatalities in 2016 in which aggressive driving or “road rage” played a factor. That’s the second-highest total in the nation (behind Indiana, surprisingly) and works out to one out of every ten traffic deaths in the state.
Fortunately, there are constructive ways to respond to the threat of road rage. Here are several steps you can take to try to defuse the situation and avoid becoming another statistic.
How to Prevent Road Rage
• Signal your intentions. One of the most basic rules of motoring courtesy is to use your signal to alert other drivers before you turn, change lanes, merge, park, or whatever.
Many road rage incidents start with someone getting upset over another driver’s lack of a signal. Being considerate can arrest some aggressive behavior before it gets out of hand.
• Don’t engage. Although you may feel provoked by someone gesticulating, shouting, or honking at you, it probably won’t help matters to let your own frustrations dictate your response.
Avoid eye contact, and take measures to put distance between you and the aggressor — not by speeding, but by letting them get well ahead of you or taking a different route. If an aggressive driver continues to follow you, don’t go home. Call 911 and head for the nearest police station.
• Live and let live. If someone cuts you off, steals your parking space, or otherwise aggravates your commute, try not to take it personally.
It’s probably not worth fretting over, much less risking your safety and well-being by being drawn into an altercation. There are more parking spaces ahead.
• Don’t weaponize your horn. Horns are to be tapped briefly for defensive purposes, to alert a driver who’s drifting into your lane or doesn’t see you in a blind spot.
Using your horn as a way of blaring outrage and scoldings at another driver is likely to escalate the situation.
• Report dangerous behavior. Take note of make, model and license plate, and when you can do so safely, call the Colorado State Patrol (*277 on your cell) to report aggressive drivers encountered on any road or highway in the state.
• Keep calm and carry on. If you have a bit of a temper yourself, there are ways to make driving less stressful and road rage less likely.
Arrange to leave earlier, so you’re not frantically rushing to get to work or an appointment on time.
Use traffic apps and radio reports to help skirt traffic jams when possible — and have plenty of soothing music or audiobooks on hand for those occasions when you’re just stuck in the fray.
THE DENVER CAR ACCIDENT LAWYERS AT FDAZAR
For more than thirty years the car accident attorneys at Franklin D. Azar & Associates have helped thousands of injured people obtain complete and timely compensation for their losses. Our proven track record and expertise have allowed us to grow into the largest personal injury law firm in Colorado, with offices in Denver, Aurora, Thornton, Fort Collins, Greeley, Grand Junction, Colorado Springs, and Pueblo. If you’ve been injured in a car, truck, or motorcycle accident, you may be entitled to compensation. Please call the attorneys at FDAzar day or night at (800) 716-9032 or contact us here for a free consultation and no-obligation evaluation of your case.