Motorists believe aggression on the roads is getting worse

Friday 22nd February, 2013 at 11:02 COMMENTS (0)

Think about your most recent car journeys for a moment how were they? Did you experience any anger from other motorists or did you act aggressively yourself?

Motorists believe aggression on the roads is getting worse and many either avoid or don't enjoy driving.  Worryingly, drivers or their passengers are increasingly getting out of their car to confront another road user. 

Why do these situations develop?

Like any event there is always a reason which will determine the consequences and actions.  Very simply, was the trigger for such a situation your fault or the fault of someone else?

Yes, most of us make mistakes especially true when driving and at these times it's all too easy to blame others rather than ourselves, a simple defensive mechanism.  However, a very simple acknowledgement, smile or a nod of the head usually calms the situation quickly. 

For instance if you bump into someone on foot, a quick smile or 'oops' is all that is needed to show it was accidental. 

When driving, we are prevented from using the normal cues to work out people's intentions, such as facial expression and body language, so we are more likely to misunderstand their behaviour and interpret it in a negative way. 

However, when in the car, with the absence of cues, people are much more likely to react in an aggressive manner than in other 'public' situations. 

When we are alert and focused on any given task it's easy to observe the mistakes of others usually before the situation unfolds in to all it's aggressive glory.  At these times, it would make more sense to just accept the other drivers are not as good as you and you can be satisfied in this knowledge. 

Not only will this help your personal wellbeing but it also helps to improve the flow of traffic if motorists drive in a courteous rather than defensive manner. 


We can choose not to let these events rile us but instead deal with the situation in a positive way, such as concentrating on driving safely yourself or realising that everyone makes mistakes. 

Here are our top tips to take with you in your car:

  • Don't respond to another driver's anger or aggression, it always makes the situation worse.  Simply stay calm and ignore them, realising it is not personal and the anger is their problem
  • It's not worth risking damage to your own car and raising your insurance costs for the sake of making a point
  • If a driver is acting aggressively towards you or driving too close, remove yourself from the situation and either pull back to create distance or find a safe place to pull in and let them overtake
  • Ensure you wave to thank other drivers.  This can also be used when you have made a mistake to say sorry
  • If a driver in-front indicates they want to change lanes, slow down to let them in, don't speed up
  • Equally, don't cut someone up when changing lane, signal in good time and if you do make a mistake, make a gesture to apologise
  • Help to keep traffic flowing by letting in the occasional motorist from a side street


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