A long commute can add stress to anybody’s life. However, it is important to prevent your stress from manifesting as road rage or aggressive driving. These behaviors can risk the health and safety of you and others on the road, while also risking severe criminal penalties.
How do I know if I am driving aggressively?
Road rage may include gesturing rudely at other drivers, honking excessively, forcing another driver off the road, intentionally hitting another vehicle and throwing things, among other examples. However, road rage is not the only aggressive driving behavior.
Other examples of aggressive driving include:
- Running red lights
- Changing lanes without signaling
- Cutting off other drivers
- Weaving in and out of traffic
What are the best ways to avoid aggressive driving?
Road rage and aggressive driving habits can result in traffic citations for violations like speeding or reckless driving. Avoiding aggressive driving altogether can help prevent you from receiving the potentially severe penalties associated with these citations.
Three ways to avoid aggressive driving include:
- Leaving earlier: Often, drivers are tempted to drive aggressively when they feel like they are running late. By leaving earlier, you allow yourself more time to reach your destination, which can help you feel less impatient if you get stuck in traffic or stuck behind a slow driver.
- Keeping gestures positive: Rude hand gestures can set off other drivers, which could make a frustrating situation worse. To avoid problems with other drivers, only use positive hand gestures, such as waving to a driver who let you merge or waving another driver across an intersection if you both arrived at the same time.
- Giving others the benefit of the doubt: When another driver is traveling slowly, consider that he or she may be lost. If another driver cuts you off, consider that you may have been in a blind spot or that the driver may have an emergency. When you give others the benefit of the doubt, you are more inclined to remain calm and less inclined to engage in aggressive driving.
Depending on the circumstances, the penalties for reckless driving and speeding can be severe. The best way to avoid these penalties is to break any aggressive driving habits you may have. However, traffic citations can also occur in error. If you received a speeding or reckless driving ticket, it may be wise to challenge the charge in court instead of admitting guilt by paying the fine.