Aggressive driving and road rage are on the rise in Ontario. According to a recent Ipsos Reid survey, “Canadian drivers are increasingly annoyed by construction projects, fellow motorists, pedestrians and cyclists.” The survey also found that a significant percentage of motorists had been on the receiving end of discourteous behavior. “As many as 82 percent of those surveyed had encountered a driver who failed to signal, 73 percent had been tailgated and 63 percent hadn’t been allowed to merge into traffic.”
Aggressive-driving behaviours, such as speeding, failing to give the right-of-way, tailgating, and cutting off someone too closely, may cause other drivers on the road to become frustrated and angry thus contributing to a potential road-rage fueled conflict between drivers.
“Aggressive or careless driving such as cutting off other drivers, speeding, tailgating, talking on cell phones and not using proper signals is almost always what incites road rage,” said John Vavrik, a psychologist with ICBC.
An angry driver may attempt dangerous retaliatory action. Avoid becoming angry on the road by following these tips:
1. Know what makes you stressed while driving and combat it by getting fresh air, breath and count to ten, or listen to relaxing music
2. Make a conscious decision to leave your issues behind you when driving
3. If you are on a long road trip, take a break from driving every few hours
4. Don’t challenge or instigate another drivers, or retaliate for what you believe to be aggressive driving behaviour
5. If someone else’s driving annoys you, don’t try to prove a point to the person. Leave that to the traffic enforcement police
6. Don’t take the mistakes and driving behaviours of others personally
7. Avoid laying down the horn at other drivers, unless absolutely necessary for safety concerns like potential collisions. A light tap on the horn is usually sufficient to signal the other driver.
Remember that if you are a courteous and respectful driver, you are less likely to find yourself in a road rage situation. To reduce those occurrences when a driver is lost and more likely to increase the road rage of others around them, plan your route in advance. Be polite and let other drivers in front of you when they are signaling that they would like to do so. And most importantly, remember that we all share the road, let’s be respectful to each other and avoid collisions or arguments that will just further anger and upset everyone involved.