California Driver Handbook

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Section 23 of 28

Dealing With Aggressive Drivers and Road Rage

Aggressive driving can cause many serious problems on the roadway. All drivers must be aware of both aggressive driving and the behavior known as “road rage,” and what to do when they occur.

There are two important things to be aware of regarding aggressive drivers:

  1. Recognizing and avoiding the behaviors in yourself.
  2. Avoiding other drivers engaging in these behaviors.

Ways to avoid becoming an aggressive driver include:

  • Allow plenty of time to reach your destination.
  • Do not “cut off” other drivers.
  • Do not drive slowly in the left (fast) lane.
  • Do not tailgate.
  • Do not gesture to other drivers.
  • Use your horn for emergencies only.
  • Let aggressive drivers pass you.

The following are examples of common behaviors that can lead to aggressive driving and how to avoid them:

  • Lane Blocking–Don’t block the passing lane. Stay out of the far left lane if other traffic wants to drive faster, and yield to the right for any vehicle that wants to pass.
  • Tailgating–Maintain a safe distance from the vehicle in front of you. If you are being tailgated, leave more space between you and the vehicle in front of you.
  • Signal Lights–Always use your signals when changing lanes, and avoid changing lanes too close to the other vehicles. After you have changed lanes, turn your signal off.
  • Gestures–If you must gesture to another driver, do so in a way that will not be interpreted as hostile or obscene.
  • Horn–Avoid using your horn to say “hello” to a pedestrian. The driver in front of you might think you are honking at them.
  • Failure to Turn–Unless otherwise posted, right turns are allowed after a complete stop at a red light. Choosing to wait for the green light may frustrate the drivers behind you, but is not illegal.
  • Parking–Do not take more than one parking space. Do not park in the disabled parking space if you do not have a disabled parking placard or plates.
  • Headlights–If you use your high-beam headlights, dim your lights for oncoming traffic and when approaching a vehicle from behind; do not retaliate to oncoming high beams with your own.
  • Merging–When traffic permits, make room to allow vehicles to merge into your lane.

Take the questionnaire below to determine the type of driver you are.

Aggressive Driver Quiz

Are You an Aggressive Driver?

This is a mini-quiz that lives in the Sharing the Road section of the California Driver Handbook.