How to Be Courteous on the Road
Patience, tolerance and courtesy are attitudes that help maintain cordial relations on the road and keep sources of tension and irritation to a minimum. They make it possible to avoid conflicts among the different road users.
To avoid finding one self in stressful situations that lead to impatience on the road, follow these tips:
• Avoid driving in a state of fatigue or tension;
• Leave early;
• Take roads with less traffic;
• Listen to relaxing music or a funny recording;
• Avoid tense conversations with passengers;
• Avoid rush hour;
• Drive in the right-hand lane, except to pass;
• Remember that false movements on the part of other road users are not always conscious or voluntary;
• Accept the pace of other drivers;
• Always cooperate with other drivers;
• Act by protecting less experienced drivers.
Be courteous, it’s contagious!
CONCENTRATING ON YOUR DRIVING
To concentrate on your driving, you must:
• Learn from past experience, rather than repeating the same mistakes. You can thereby adjust your driving;
• Be tolerant and patient. At one time or another, it can happen that drivers make an involuntary mistake;
• Above all, think of your safety and that of others.
• A preventive attitude like that will help you regain your calm.
• Avoid driving when you are experiencing very strong emotions. For instance, when you have major worries or when you are feeling angry, sad or depressed.
STANDING UP TO PRESSURE
Impatient drivers frequently follow too closely or honk their horn impatiently. Such behavior creates a climate of tension and stress on the road. If you are a victim of such behavior, you could make errors. For instance, you could make sudden moves and cause an accident.
You should definitely not yield to such forms of pressure. Evaluate the risk yourself and make the safest move. lf a driver pressures you, pull over to the right and let that person pass, if it is possible and safe to do so.
Always be attentive to what is happening in your surroundings and the impact of your behavior on others.
Certain types of behavior can frustrate other road users:
• Talking on a cell phone while driving can distract other drivers from their surroundings;
• Driving too slowly in the left lane can cause other drivers to want to pass you on the right or to zigzag;
• Driving more slowly than others on a narrow winding road may make users behind you impatient and cause them to make dangerous maneuvers.
Other pressures can also come from friends, family and peers, i.e. other drivers in your age group. Certain persons are more sensitive and even vulnerable to the influence of others. Young drivers with little experience are more likely to be influenced by such pressure. The influence of friends and peers is often stronger than that of family.
Peer pressure can be positive or negative. For instance, positive pressure would be if a person encourages you to adopt safe driving behavior. Negative pressure would be if a person incites you to make an inappropriate or dangerous maneuver. You must be able to resist negative pressure.
Identify the problem: ask yourself if what is being proposed to you is a problem. If so, to what degree? Is it a driving technique that you have not mastered? ls it an unsafe behavior? Identify possible options: are there other options? Is it possible to make a safe compromise? Using humor can be a way to choose another option or negotiate a compromise. Evaluate the consequences: is it better to lose control of one’s vehicle and risk causing an accident or accept being teased by a passenger?
Act: choose the option that ensures your safety and that of other road users. Drive with groups of friends that respect your driving abilities.
DEALING WITH DISRESPECTFUL OR AGGRESSIVE BEHAVIOUR
Driving can be a different experience for different people. For some:
• The vehicle becomes a second home;
• They feel insulated and protected by the vehicle; they feel invincible;
• Driving is like a game of rivalry, competition and challenge where risk becomes part of the game;
• Driving is a source of pleasure through the sensations it brings: the impression of dominating a machine or of surpassing oneself, with risk also involved.
You should know what kind of driver you are and understand that other drivers do not necessarily sec things the same way as you do. You are the one that needs to adjust. The main irritants gathered on the subject of driving concern the breaking of traffic rules.
• Following another vehicle too closely (tailgating) or with insistence;
• Not yielding the right-of-way or demanding it;
• Often changing lanes;
• Not signaling one’s intention;
• Passing on the right or on the shoulder;
• Zigzagging between vehicles;
• Double parking:
• Driving with high-beams and blinding other drivers;
• Honking the horn in an abusive manner;
• Making unpleasant or aggressive gestures.
Drivers must obey traffic rules, signals and right-of-ways, so as not to jeopardize their safety or that of other road users. They should also avoid committing violations that carry lines. Respectful behavior should be shown to other road users at all times.
DRIVING A PASSENGER VEHICLE
lf you encounter an aggressive driver behavior:
• Remain calm;
• Avoid making eye contact with aggressive drivers so as not to increase their aggressiveness;
• Avoid reacting t0 provocative words or gestures;
• Take the best method to avoid conflict.
lf necessary, yield the right-of-way. If an aggressive person leaves the vehicle and comes toward you:
• Remain in your vehicle, making sure the windows are closed and the doors locked;
• Avoid discussion with the aggressive driver;
• Do not look at the person or make any provocative gestures;
• Leave the scene and head to a place where you can get assistance;
• Do not go home if an aggressive driver is following you. Always avoid aggressive behavior toward other road users.
PREVENTIVE ATTITUDE ENSURING PASSENGER SAFETY
You must ensure that your passengers are safe.
• Refuse to drive until all passengers have fastened their seat belts;
• Establish safety rules with the children before leaving and ensure these are obeyed;
• Never allow a passenger to stick arms, hands, head or any object outside a lowered window or a sunroof;
• Warn passengers that you will not be talking a lot while driving so you can concentrate.
LISTENING TO PASSENGERS
Certain drivers feel the need to show off behind the wheel and take risks that worry passengers or even make them feel ill-at-ease. You must be attentive to your passengers and ensure their well-being.
You must question yourself and adjust your driving if a passenger:
• Expresses fear because you are going too fast;
• Requests that you slow down;
• Offers to drive:
• Holds the door handle:
• Asks to leave the vehicle.
Adjusting your driving to your passenger’s well-being and sense of safety shows you have judgment.