The worst thing about driving is that we have to share the roads with other drivers. It’s an unfortunate reality. Even if you’re ultra-wealthy and can afford the best chauffeur, you have to use the public infrastructure afforded to most of us, at least when driving, and so it goes to show that problem road users can be a threat to everyone.
While we cannot control what’s happening in the vehicle, we can control our presence on the roads and how we observe and adapt to problems that signify a safety issue around us.
Often, problem road users, or those driving unsafe for various reasons, will give telltale signs to avoid them and report them if necessary. This is some cold comfort. For this reason, it’s essential to make sure we stay observant on the roads, that we never drive hungover or overly tired, and that we’re willing to understand that any potential car on the road can be a problem.
It’s important to be alert and attentive, however, without being paranoid. In this post, we’ll discuss a few ways you can balance that by learning how to identify threats more readily:
Of course, the first and most obvious thing to watch out for is road users who seem to think that speed restrictions don’t apply to them. Unfortunately, this is more common than you think. Identifying someone who can overtake you easily or approach you more quickly than usual is a good indicator to give that person a wide berth.
Sometimes, people who speed will feel dismayed that you may be driving at the speed limit, especially if that means they cannot overtake you for a certain amount of time. Don’t allow their tailgating to intimidate you; just calmly drive at the speed you know is correct, and then do what you can to avoid them from that point on, be that slowing down after they’ve passed, turning off the road, and reporting them if necessary.
Another issue that many road users have to put up with is aggressiveness from people who may not understand they are wrong. This might start thanks to someone feeling as though you should have given them the right of way, or if they’ve been embarrassed by entering the wrong lane, or perhaps tailgating you as our example above.
The absolute worst thing you can do in this scenario is escalating the tension by responding with aggression or mockery, despite how tempting that can seem. On the road, it’s best to defuse the situation as quickly as you can. If you feel unsafe or in danger, try to get out of the situation by turning off and calling the police. Do not allow another vehicle to bully you off the road, or cause you to speed unsafely, or force you into another lane. Your vehicle has its presence, and aggressive users, despite being less-than-cognizant of the situation they’re placing themselves in, will (usually) not want to damage their vehicle, at the very least.
While driving in the correct lane may offer a spectrum of positions someone’s car could occupy, be that closer to the curb or the dividing line of the road, driving from one side to the other in an unpredictable manner, or even overstepping that line is a good signal that someone might not be fully capable of driving safely.
Often, this could signify an inebriated driver unable to control themselves, thanks to being under the influence. In some situations, it may denote someone encountering health issues, someone with sight problems, or perhaps an older person who may not have the reflexes of their youth. Again, it is essential to give them a wide berth and report the license plate to the police or highway authority.
Poor Vehicle Maintenance
While it’s not necessarily a sign that someone is a bad driver, a vehicle that is clearly in poor condition, such as flattening tires, damage to the hood or trunk, overly dirty, or dented, could signify a vehicle that might not have the most attentive of drivers occupying it.
This might seem somewhat discriminatory based on limited evidence. Still, it’s base to have a baseline level of suspicion of something out of the ordinary instead of throwing aside what you’ve noticed in the interest of being ‘fair.’ That can come when you notice they’re driving safely for some distance. Of course, even a car in perfect condition can cause temporary suspicion, such as a vehicle carrying flat-pack furniture using binds despite the boot being fully open or cars that seem to be carrying other stored items unsafely.
If you notice a car is not roadworthy, such as having broken wing mirrors or dysfunctional indicators or brake lights, then it might be worth reporting. If not, then we’d recommend just being aware of that car, provided it doesn’t take away your observation of the rest of the road.
Other Driver Reactions
A good way to determine issues ahead of you is to understand the reactions of other road users. If certain cars seem to be giving another vehicle a wide berth, it might be a good indication that you need to, as well.
If cars seem to be slowing down despite seemingly no issues on the road, it could be that resisting the urge to overtake them at that exact moment could be reliable. You never know if they may be informed about a fallen tree around the corner, for instance. Keeping a healthy understanding of behaviors expressed is more likely to keep you safe on the road as necessary.
A Gut Instinct
A gut instinct can often be enough to teach you to avoid certain drivers or take a certain road that helps you get off the highway. Provided a gut instinct tells you to take a safety measure to distance yourself from others and that this procedure won’t cause problems on the road, your subconscious mind may have noticed something you haven’t. That might sound strange, and it’s odd advice to give in a safety post, but you never know if this could be the difference between staying safe and encountering an issue. Many drivers reading this will agree that sometimes, a feeling is all you need to stay away from others on the road.
If you encounter a problem, then car accident lawyers can be your best bet in helping you find the solution and compensation you deserve.
With this advice, we hope you stay nothing but safe upon all roads you end up using.