Aggressive driving in North Carolina can easily escalate into road rage and the tragedy of an avoidable fatal traffic accident in New Hanover County.

For some drivers, circumstances can trigger aggressive driving. Traffic congestion, a bad day at work, noise, heat, or misbehaving children in the rear seat can all cause the driver to vent her frustration by aggressive behavior on the highway. In other cases, something psychologists call intrusive response is in play: the driver sees another car’s maneuver as a deliberate insult demanding retaliation.

Cooling off

Road safety experts tell us that one way to defuse a road rage conflict is for one driver to make a conscious decision not to play this high-stakes game. It’s difficult to go against your natural instincts and refuse another driver’s challenge, but that may be the only way to prevent a serious auto accident in North Carolina.

Our Wilmington personal injury attorneys suggest the following eight tips for ways to back away from a pattern of increasingly aggressive driving:

  1. Remember the famed North Carolina courtesy. Let the other driver go first. This isn’t a contest, and you’re not losing if the other guy gets to his destination ahead of you.

  2. Avoid driving under stress. If you have had too little sleep, or had a bad day, or have experienced anything else you know is a trigger for anger, then avoid driving—or at least avoid high speeds and highway driving.

  3. Obey the law scrupulously. Follow traffic signs, drive at the speed limit, and give pedestrians the right-of-way. You will have a bit of satisfaction when the cars that don’t follow the rules are pulled over by traffic cops.

  4. Avoid competitive situations with another aggressive driver. If someone is clearly trying to irritate you, refuse to engage him. Don’t make eye contact. If the other driver persists in aggressive maneuvers, pull over, call 911 from your cell phone, and ask for help.

  5. Control your own aggressive behavior. Move to the right to allow faster vehicles to pass you. Signal your lane changes and turns. Maintain a safe distance between your car and the one ahead. Avoid using your horn except in true emergencies.

  6. Make an effort to relax behind the wheel. Adjust the temperature controls so you are comfortably cool. Play music that relaxes you; this is not the time for hard rock.

  7. Pulling off the road doesn’t mean you surrender. North Carolina highways are not a battleground. If you need to leave the road in order to control your temper, it doesn’t mean a victory for the other drivers; it means you are acting responsibly.

  8. Get help. If rage overcomes your better judgment too often, you are at high risk of causing a serious North Carolina traffic accident. Many communities have free or low-cost anger-management programs; find one that can help strengthen your self-control.

If you have been victimized

If an aggressive driver’s reckless actions have left you injured in a North Carolina traffic crash, there is a personal injury lawyer in Wilmington waiting to hear your side of the story. Call the Speaks Law Firm at 910-341-7570 or toll-free at 877-593-4233 to schedule a free and confidential meeting about your case. Just for calling, we will send you a FREE copy of our book, The North Carolina Auto Injury Book, as our way of introducing our legal team.

R. Clarke Speaks
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Trial Lawyer and Founder of Speaks Law Firm, P.C.
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