3 min read
Road rage is unfortunately extremely common, but that doesn't make it any less scary or any easier to deal with when you find yourself on the receiving end of it.
Particularly if you're a new driver in Northern Ireland and on your R plates. That 45mph speed limit can feel very slow when you've got someone in a car behind you acting aggressively.
If this happens, it's important to try and stay as calm as you can. Of course, that's always easier said than done, but if you find yourself targeted by an angry driver here's some helpful tips for how to cope with it.
Likely everyone on the road will have experienced this at least once: other drivers driving FAR too close to your rear bumper. Usually this is a result of impatience on the other driver's behalf; they're trying to force you to either speed up or to move out of their way.
Safe to say it's a pretty rude thing to do and can be extremely intimidating too. If someone is tailgating you on the road, here's how to deal with it.
Stay cool, calm and collected
It might sound pretty obvious, but it can be easy to panic when someone flies up behind you. It's important to take a few deep breaths and stay calm about the whole thing to try and stop yourself from reacting aggressively.
A useful tip for staying calm when you're being tailgated is to try and consider why they're acting the way they are. Sure, they might just be rude as hell, or they might be desperately rushing to the hospital to see a sick relative. In any case, it's not your fault so try not to sweat it.
It's okay to pull over
Tailgaters might want you to speed up, but if you've got a telematics insurance policy like ChilliDrive you'll know how bad that could be for your score - not to mention how illegal it could be in some cases. If somebody wants to get past you so badly they're willing to drive dangerously, there's absolutely nothing wrong with simply letting them past.
You're not giving in, you're not letting them win and it's not going to insult your honour. It's simply being safe - if you slow down, move over and let them go then you get to resume your journey stress-free and watch them work themselves into a lather stuck behind the next car.
Don't Be Tempted To Brake-Check - EVER!
Brake-checking is when a driver quickly taps on their brake pedal when they're being followed by a tailgater; the idea is to 'scare' the driver behind and force them to slow down.
If someone is tailgating you, never, ever brake-check them.
It's not your job to teach anyone a lesson. At best you're escalating a situation with someone who has already proven themselves to be an aggressive and unsafe driver. That's going to end badly.
At worst, the person behind will fly into the rear of your car and cause a collision. That's going to end badly too.
Swearing and gesturing madly is one of the classic manifestations of road rage, and something we've all seen at some stage. There's not much you can do about this except ignore it.
Maybe you made a slight error in judgement and someone in another car shouted at you. It's cool, everybody makes mistakes. Maybe you didn't do a single thing wrong and got flipped off by someone anyway. Stay super-zen and just keep driving.
How to deal with physical threats and aggression on the road
This is where it gets a little more serious. Violent road rage incidents are rare but they do happen and the consequences can be deadly. If someone is threatening you with violence or is being physically aggressive towards you, here's what to do.
NEVER open your window or get out of your car if someone is being physically aggressive.
It's impossible to overstate how important this is, and if you think you're in a seriously dangerous situation then you should call the police immediately.
If you think another driver is following you, you should attempt to get to an area where there's lots of people around - petrol stations are a good bet as they'll have lots of CCTV cameras around. Don't be tempted to speed up or try to evade someone following you, as this will only make a dangerous situation even more dangerous.
If you have a passenger in the car, they can capture video evidence while you drive that could be useful to help the police track down the person responsible. They can also act as a witness on your behalf when speaking to the police.
Particularly if you've only recently passed your test, bad experiences with other drivers can have a serious and lasting effect. All the same, it's important to try not and dwell on it, or to let it discourage you from driving.
At the end of the day, you can't control what happens around you but you can control how you react to it. Rude drivers will always exist, but don't let the actions of an angry few ruin the fun of being on the road!
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