Avoid road rage by trying these tips

Published 5:23 am Friday, July 27, 2012

Special to The Post-Searchlight

The bullies who drive on our nation’s roadways cause us to fear for our safety and, at times, even our lives. Are you an aggressive driver? Consider these questions, offered by American Family Insurance:

• Do you tailgate slower vehicles to encourage them to speed up or get out of your way?

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• Do you weave in and out of heavy traffic to “make better time?”

• Do you make inappropriate gestures, honk your horn or flash your headlights at drivers who are not meeting your standards?

• Do you push yellow lights to the point that they sometimes turn red before you are all the way through the intersection?

If your answer is yes to any of the above, you may want to rethink your driving behavior. The U.S. Department of Transportation estimates two-thirds of traffic fatalities are at least partly caused by aggressive driving. For your own safety and the safety of others, drive smart and don’t let the road bullies get to you.

Remember that you cannot control traffic, but you can control your reaction to it. Assume other drivers’ mistakes are not personal; we all have bad days. Be polite and courteous, even if the other driver is not.

If another driver challenges you, avoid eye contact and move out of the way. Driving is not a game, and you should never underestimate the other driver’s capacity for mayhem. Under no circumstances should you pull off on the side of the road to try and straighten out the situation.

Report aggressive driving behavior to the appropriate authorities by providing a vehicle description, license plate number, location and direction of travel.

In summary, keep your composure when driving. Don’t try to make others do what you want them to do, or retaliate against someone who’s driving recklessly. Courtesy is contagious.