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How do you deal with aggressive drivers? - bbc123

I was driving south on the M1 today, and had pulled out into the outside lane to pass a long line of cars in the middle lane. About halfway through the manouevre, I could see a VW Polo approaching from behind at a real speed - probably getting on for about a ton. I was doing 85, which is a bit faster than I'm usually comfortable with on the motorway.

The Polo gets right up behind, by what feels like a couple of inches off my bumper flashing his headlights. I can't pull over, as there are cars on my nearside. I chose not to go any faster as I was already going as fast as I was happy with, but pulled over as soon as I had passed the cars in the middle lane (there were quite a few, but I was getting past them at a good pace). I don't normally get bothered about people who want to travel faster than me, I'm quite happy to let them pass. What really got to me today was what happened next. The Polo passes me, then pulls into my lane and brakes hard in front of me, almost causing me to run into the back of them, so I had to swerve around them. The driver in the Polo then floors it and is off, thankfully not to be seen again...

I was wondering what the backroomers would have done in a similar situation. The problem I have is that things like this get to me, and I'd love to know if anyone has any ways of letting go of incidents like this and putting it behind them - I tend not to get angry or irate at the wheel, but after the journey is over I keep thinking about what might have happened and what I would do if it happened again in the future. I take pride in my driving and keep wanting to improve so that I can keep getting better.

Any thoughts?

How do you deal with aggressive drivers? - flunky

85 on the speedo is probably actually 80, which isn't particularly fast TBH, if someone's impatient.

In that situation with someone flashing behind, I would have put my indicators on to move left, and accelerated to get past the line of cars as quickly as possible to let the impatient driver past.

Obviously by passing the stream of traffic at a relative speed of perhaps 10mph, you increased the aggravation of the impatient driver behind, which put you at risk.

How do you deal with aggressive drivers? - amj

Ignore them and get on with your life safe in the knowledge that with driving of that standard they will probably be dead soon anyway!

You will probably never encounter this person ever again in your lifetime so what does it matter if they hate you with ever ounce of their being? Let them lead their very important and stressful high speed lives while you live yours at your own pace.

How do you deal with aggressive drivers? - the_bandit

AMJ - I'll second that reply.

Edited by the_bandit on 15/08/2010 at 10:00

How do you deal with aggressive drivers? - Mike H

85 on the speedo is probably actually 80, which isn't particularly fast TBH, if someone's impatient.

In that situation with someone flashing behind, I would have put my indicators on to move left, and accelerated to get past the line of cars as quickly as possible to let the impatient driver past.

Obviously by passing the stream of traffic at a relative speed of perhaps 10mph, you increased the aggravation of the impatient driver behind, which put you at risk.

I'd agree with flunky. By indicating left, you have shown the driver behind that you have seen him and notified him of your intention to move over when safe to do so. I too would be wary of accelerating beyond the speed you were driving at - amongst other things it would be no defence in a court of law if you were prosecuted for speeding in this situation. You COULD potentially have slowed down and slotted between the cars you were overtaking, If there was a reasonable gap between them, and clearly this might have been a better option had you known what a moron the driver of the Polo was. We obviously don't know the precise circumstances so only you know whether this was an option.
How do you deal with aggressive drivers? - WellKnownSid

It's something I notice more and more whenever I return to the UK - that and the extra 10,000 speed cameras they seem to be installing each week! It seems everyone in England is in a hurry, and sod everyone else.

I would follow the pilot's principle here - Aviate, Navigate, Communicate - which roughly translated means - whatever happens, above everything else, drive the car!

You saw the guy coming very fast, so perhaps could have anticipated some 'trouble' ahead - even if he hadn't performed his stupid manoeuvre he could have just as easily had a blow out or sudden engine trouble - but in any case you did the right thing just keeping you and your car safe.

Yes, he was a complete ay ar es ee - but he's the one that has to live with that. Nothing you could have done would have (a) taught him a lesson or (b) got him to respect you so let it go!

How do you deal with aggressive drivers? - gordonbennet
I agree with AMJ, ignore them but be ready for idiocy from them and every driver on the road.
Best not to look at them, peering into those eyes hidden under that deep overhanging brow isn't good for the soul.

They'll do it to the wrong one soon enough, either an unmarked plod or a real nasty type, either way they'll be off tne road.
How do you deal with aggressive drivers? - Sofa Spud

Driving at 85 mph on a motorway, where the limit is 70 mph, is in itself aggressive driving. As for the mad tailgaters, I've mentioned on here before the time many years ago when I was tailgated along the A 47 in Norfolk by an American White Freightliner artic who was literally inched behind me at 60 mph. In such circumstances you are, in effect, making decisions for the following driver. For instance, where there were some parked cars on the left, there was no way I could slow down to let oncoming cars pass, as I should have done, since the maniac truck would have gone into the back of me. I guess he'd been watching the film 'Duel'!

Edited by Sofa Spud on 15/08/2010 at 11:15

How do you deal with aggressive drivers? - bbc123

Thanks for the info, everyone. Unfortunately I wasn't really able to pull over sooner and slot in between the cars I was passing as there wasn't enough space between them. I didn't think of indicating left earlier, I only indicated left once I had passed the final car in the line.

It's knowing these little things that often really help in day-to-day driving. I guess it's a bit like the 80-20 rule - you probably learn 80% of the basic technique and skills of driving as a learner in 20% of the time, but it's the 20% you gain from longer term experience as a day-to-day driver, helping with these situations and refining your technique.

How do you deal with aggressive drivers? - Armstrong Sid
How do you deal with aggressive drivers?

I've discoverd the answer is "grow older". I've been driving for over 30 years and I know that when I was younger I would travel faster everywhere (never involved in an accident though). I would often weave my way through traffic to be 2 seconds ahead of everyone else and overtake whenever possible if I was stuck behind some old biddy trundling along. Impatient and fast back then.

Now I'm older I just can't be bothered. I cruise along - with the occasional burst of speed if something gets my goat - and watch other drivers screaming past to get (a) to the next red light or (b) an early grave. I'm not bothered any longer, and I'm quite happy to watch the frustrated get wound up, whilst I think "is it worth it.?....no, it ain't"

How do you deal with aggressive drivers? - Bilboman

Ignore, ignore, ignore. It's the hardest thing to do and completely counter-intuitive, but by far the best reaction is no reaction at all. Proceed with the overtaking manoeuvre, M.S.M., indicate and pull in as normal and make absolutely no eye contact with the aggressive driver. Once he sees you and has made contact he begins to exercise the power he thinks he has and will try to intimidate, so it's best not to let him think he has that power at all. Once the aggression begins, I tend to tilt the rear view mirror down far enough to make eye contact impossible.

Any attempt to slow down, brake or pretend to brake, just inflames this sort of driver.

In an ideal world I would be able to flick a switch and light up POLICE in bright red LEDs in the rear window (or TAWT in the front window as he gets past) and better still a loaded harpoon aimed at the driver's head. But these are, for the moment, passing fantasies...

How do you deal with aggressive drivers? - bbc123

Well now I've had a host of good replies, I've noticed a few interesting things:

- The advice is consistent
- Clearly there's a lot of experience in the backroom
- Most people assumed the driver was male - and they are right

One thing I didn't mention earlier was that the car had four men in it, I'm guessing around their mid-twenties. Perhaps there was a bit of a display of bravado on the part of the driver in front of his passengers... Being male and in my mid-twenties myself I, of course, don't want to typecast all drivers of this age and gender!

How do you deal with aggressive drivers? - veryoldbear

I may be getting more mellow as the years pass, but was getting the impression that tail-gating and light-flashing was on the decrease. There are however still a lot of people who like to wallop along (try J13 to J12 on the M4).

The only consolation to OP is of course that four people up in a Polo doing 100 mph are likely to come to grief in a pile of dust, rust particles and body parts, with tears before bed-time. Sn*****.

How do you deal with aggressive drivers? - primeradriver
Ultimately, if they are behind you they can do precisely nothing to you. Treat them like they don't exist. Don't feel pressured into pulling in or speeding up, and don't do anything to put yourself at risk.

Of course, at the same time make sure you're following the Highway Code -- if there is space to get out of the way, get out of the way.
How do you deal with aggressive drivers? - amj

"Driving at 85 mph on a motorway, where the limit is 70 mph, is in itself aggressive driving."

How do you come to that conclusion then? Speeding? Definately. But aggressive? I dont see how.

If the traffic isnt heavy and road conditions are good then i would be very happy to be travelling at 85 and not consider it aggressive. As long as im not trying to intimidate other road users by tailgating or flashing my lights then where is the problem?

That said, if more people used correct lane discipline and kept the outside "overtaking" lane (not fast lane!) free where possible then maybe there would be less examples of such behaviour.

To the OP,this last comment isnt aimed at you as you made it clear in your post you were overtaking a line of cars at the time and were unable to pull over to another lane.

How do you deal with aggressive drivers? - nortones2

I'd have done as the OP, but I also let the police know if there is an outrageous attempt to cause, or at least risk, a crash. Drugs, drink, or known to the police already I expect!

How do you deal with aggressive drivers? - b308

I'm with Primeradriver - not much to add, though like the OP I tend to brood on the incident after, even if I wouldn't have done anything different... All that shows is that we care about our driving standards, unlike the Polo driver!

Edited by b308 on 16/08/2010 at 12:19

How do you deal with aggressive drivers? - Avant

It sounds as if you did all that you could. You just have to put it behind you and move on: these things happen, and as someone said above you'll never have to meet the idiot Polo driver.

He's almost certainly a sad little mummy's boy, driving Mummy's car and showing off to his mates. Think positively - the vast majority of drivers are not like that.

As you take a pride in your driving - if you want to improve even further, you could consider taking advanced driving lesson and sitting the Institute of Advanced Motorists test.

How do you deal with aggressive drivers? - woodster
Just by way of a little light amusement I'm afraid I'm guilty of the following some years ago: Aggresive lorry driver running me into the hard shoulder where 3 lanes became one. More aggressive Nova driver hauling him from his cab down to the ground to discuss the relative merits of his driving. Perhaps he hadn't banked on me being 6'3 and a fit 16 stone against his 5'8 fatness. I felt a whole lot better while he looked slightly scared on the concrete! I can't condone this sort of behaviour now....
How do you deal with aggressive drivers? - bbc123

It's interesting to see how many people mention lane discipline. I always try to drive as far left as possible on dual carriageways, and often wonder how much congestion is caused by bad lane discipline. I remember seeing a car driving in the middle lane of the M6 with no vehicles around it, right under a matrix sign saying "Don't hog the middle lane". I wasn't very surprised to see them stay put.

I've thought about the IAM course, when I get a bit more time soon I'd like to sort out getting on one.

Woodster, I've often fantasised about confronting the offending party, but I reckon that if I did it for real I'd end up backtracking, "...so sorry for getting in your way, and thanks awfully for choosing not to shunt me into the armco..."

How do you deal with aggressive drivers? - fredthefifth

Personally I would like to install some kind atomic powered lightening bolt that was automatically triggered when aggressive driving was detected. The device would have sufficient power to vaporise the vehicle while leaving the passengers intact, albeit resembling smoking matchsticks!
Of course it would also have the power to transport them to the relative safety of the hard shoulder.
Thinking of installing the same outside the house but set to detect window rattling audio systems.
FTF

How do you deal with aggressive drivers? - woodster

No, it's really not a good idea, you've no idea who you're tangling with. Ending up injured, unnecessarily, just isn't worth it. Unfortunately we just have to suffer some of the idiots out there and get on with our day - which I suspect is generally better than theirs, otherwise they wouldn't be so angry, would they?

How do you deal with aggressive drivers? - Leif

He sounds like a complete nutter and an accident waiting to happen. Just be thankful that you will not see him again, and you survived this encounter. It might have been worth taking his registration and passing it on to the police. Assuming it was not a stolen car, or unregistered. The same thing happened to me some years ago. Fortunately tail gating does seem to be less of a problem than a few years back.

I'm not sure you could have done anything, other than stay calm, and pull over when safe to do so. Sometimes you come across an irrational and downright dangerous driver, and staying calm, and getting away from them is the best solution, in my view.

My father used to do a ton on the motorway, and when his path was blocked, he'd sit inches behind them, flashing his lights, and cursing them as he got angrier and angrier. It was quite frightening at times.

How do you deal with aggressive drivers? - Ben 10

Earlier post stated tailgating and headlight flashing on the decrease. Well its alive and well.

The other day I was heading for the A3 along M25. I was in lane 3 of 4 heading south.

An artic was in lane 2 behind another lorry. The average speed gantries we set at 60mph. As I got alongside to the rear of his cab unit, well past the trailer, he put on his indicator. There was no room for me to move into lane 4 and the car in front was gradually moving ahead and so was I. As I passed the front of his cab, he hooted, pulled out into my lane behind me, flashed and came up close to my rear bumper.

This made ME slightly mad, as I had the wife and kids in the car. I only had to brake sharply for whatever reason and I would have had his unit in my engine compartment, and the family squashed in between.

I usually let lorries out when I see them indicating or pull into another lane well in advance. This time I couldn't do either. Did he really expect me to brake and pull back far enough to let him over and have someone behind me hit me up the backside. I just momentarily put on my hazards to let him know HE was being a hazard. Shame I didn't have a word matrix in the rear window.

As for lane discipline, there are many drivers who bomb along the 3rd lane irrespective of the fact the first 2 lanes are empty enough to pull over to. Never mind the curse of the lane hogger.

How do you deal with aggressive drivers? - Dutchie

I have confronted drivers like mentioned by the op in my younger days,and i found that they are not as brave out the car.I know its not the answer but for the same money they are willing to run you of the road.Now i take it steady and let them get on with it and get out the way life is to short.

How do you deal with aggressive drivers? - PatrickO

The guy is an idiot, try not to worry about it. He's just shown himself to be a scum bag. I confess to driving faster than most but if someone wants the lane at a slower speed, i'll back off and let them get on with it, civilised behaviour.

Whatever you do, don't react aggresively to these people as some of them can be proper nutters who will take it to the hard shoulder and make it personal.

You will always get people like that in life just take comfort from the fact that you are not cut from the same cloth.

How do you deal with aggressive drivers? - leef

I'm with Woodster on this one. I've a short temper for idiot drivers like the one the OP came across. I'd like to say that I'd hope I'd count to 10, but knowing me I'd end up chasing him down and we'd be having it out on the Hard Shoulder or the next services, happened a few years ago on the M60 junction 9 Trafford Centre, some chav and his pal in his souped up Ford Escort decided to upset me on the slip road (driving in fornt slamming brakes on, laughing, swearing etc for no reason at all), I eventually caught up and invited him onto the Hard Shoulder for a word or two, he accepted, both lads got out.... I didn't bother speaking to them, just ran over and lamped the driver, went round the other side but his mate ran off up the Hard Shoulder, quite an amusing sight considering moments before they were "10 men" swearing at me with Burberry caps on. Not as tall as Woodster but just over 6' and 19 stone, don't hink they expected it. Stupid thing to do looking back, I could of got knifed, arrested or anything, but I was VERY angry that they were trying to cause a crash on the motorway for a "laugh" and so dealt with them. I don't condone what I did before anybody says any different....

Cheers

Lee

How do you deal with aggressive drivers? - hillman

"One thing I didn't mention earlier was that the car had four men in it, I'm guessing around their mid-twenties. Perhaps there was a bit of a display of bravado on the part of the driver in front of his passengers... Being male and in my mid-twenties myself I, of course, don't want to typecast all drivers of this age and gender!"

That suggests that the car was a stolen one driven by joyriders.

How do you deal with aggressive drivers? - madf

I was hooted at by a driver at a roundabout - which precedes a traffic light - at red. I stopped to let another driver through. The idiot who hooted was not even in the roundabout.

My son who was with me unprompted turned to the driver and mouthed "shut up" to the driver's female companion.

A long silence followed.

How do you deal with aggressive drivers? - amj

"That suggests that the car was a stolen one driven by joyriders"

What utter drivel. Since when has 4 young men in a car been a group of joyriders?

Some of the attitudes and preconceptions on here are just amazing.

 

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