5 Ways to stay safe around aggressive drivers

Apr 17, 2014 at 12:00 p.m. ET

Frighteningly, the roads are filled with people who are driving with their emotions. Instead of getting caught up in the dangerous antics of an aggressive driver, stay safe on the road by practicing five simple defensive driving rules.

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Let them pass by

If there is an aggressive driving riding your bumper, resist the urge to tap your brakes in an attempt to get the tailgater to back off — it will probably just make him tail you even closer. The best way to defuse this aggressive situation is to simply get in the right lane (or pull off the road to a public place like a gas station if you feel threatened) and let him fly by. If karma has anything to do with it, cops will catch him speeding up ahead. After all, according to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), aggressive driving is a ticket-able traffic offense. It's also important to have your car in tip-top shape — with good brakes and premium tires such as the brand new MICHELIN® Premier® A/S tires that evolve as they wear to provide incredible stopping power even when worn — in case you have to stop short behind an aggressive driver who slams on his brakes.

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Call 911 to report a drunk driver

You may only think to call the authorities after an accident on the road. But drunk drivers are an accident waiting to happen; therefore, dialing 911 is the best thing to do if you suspect someone behind the wheel is intoxicated. MADD advises to stay as far away from the drunk driver as possible and do not try to pull ahead of or around him or signal at him to pull over. Instead, gather as many details about the car (make, model and color as well as the license plate number) are you safely can. Then pull off the road, call 911 and give the operator the exact location of the vehicle you suspect has a drunk driver behind the wheel.


Stay in the right lane

The NHTSA says that there are no actual designated "fast" and "slow" lanes — the posted speed limit applies to all traffic lanes — but adds that in least 21 states, slower traffic is expected to keep right. We all know that some people prefer to think of the left lane as the fast lane, so if you're faced with a driver weaving in and out of traffic, safely make your move to the right-hand lane so you won't get caught up in his aggressive antics.

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Don't egg him on

Smooth Operator public safety initiative for drivers in Maryland and the District of Columbia, which aims to clear the road of aggressive drivers, advises against challenging an aggressive driver in any way. Avoid eye contact and ignore (and do not return) rude gestures of the aggressive driver.



Smooth Operator also reminds drivers to stay calm and relaxed while driving, and give an aggressive driver the benefit of the doubt. Maybe he didn't intentionally cut you off — he may simply be rushing to an important meeting. Either way, keep in mind that arriving safely and calmly at your destination is your ultimate goal when getting on the road.

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This post was sponsored by Michelin.

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