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Ways to keep calm on the road

Crowded roads and traffic jams can make your blood pressure rise, but it’s important to stay calm behind the wheel. Aggressive driving, such as speeding, tailgating or cutting others off, increases your chances of a crash.  


Extreme cases of aggressive driving can escalate into road rage: throwing objects, rude gestures or forcing drivers off the road. Aggressive driving can be a traffic violation, and in some states, road rage can be a criminal offense.


A 2016 report from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found that 78 percent of U.S. drivers reported engaging in at least one aggressive driving behavior in the past year. The most common aggressive behaviors were tailgating and yelling at other drivers. A small proportion of drivers also admitted to exiting their vehicles to confront other drivers, and bumping or ramming into other vehicles on purpose.  


There are ways to help diffuse conflict on the road, keeping everyone safer: 


  • Give yourself enough travel time. When you’re in a rush, you may be more likely to become aggravated. Factor in a few extra minutes to get where you need to go. 
  • Know you’re sharing the road and nobody’s perfect. People make mistakes or may be driving more slowly for a reason. Don’t assume that people are purposefully trying to annoy you.
  • Don’t make eye contact or obscene gestures. These behaviors may trigger other drivers to take even more aggressive actions. 
  • Keep your distance. Tailgating other drivers is unsafe, and if they have to quickly stop and you rear-end them, you’ll be at fault. If someone is tailgating you, move out of the way and let them pass you.
  • Do not yell or honk your horn incessantly. This can increase stress or aggression among other drivers. 
  • Do not engage. If another driver starts to follow you or acts aggressively, do not engage with them. If possible, pull over to a safe location out of the way of traffic. If you feel there is imminent danger, call 911. 


For more information, talk to a AAA Insurance agent or visit your local branch office.