Keep calm, five top tips for happy summer journeys

No driver likes sitting in traffic, but it’s really important for everyone’s safety to stay calm and not let a frustrating situation get the better of you, according to road safety and breakdown organisation GEM Motoring Assist.

GEM chief executive Neil Worth said: “As drivers we all have to share the same road space and we all have to follow the rules. Most people accept this but there are a few who believe it’s acceptable to behave in an aggressive manner by using the horn, gesticulating or performing deliberately risky manoeuvres to inconvenience others on the road.

“It’s most common when driving conditions are difficult – such as in heavy traffic or a long queue – but for some it has become part of the way they behave on most if not all of their road journeys.

“They ignore the risk of possible consequences, either to themselves or to other road users. They allow frustration and anger to be directed at those who get in their way or whose driving actions provoke them. It’s the way most would never think of behaving in other situations, yet when driving it’s somehow acceptable.

“We ask everyone to make safety their priority and to avoid bad manners on road journeys, however frustrating they may seem. We also urge drivers to stay calm and keep risks as low as possible. This is most easily done by not reacting to any aggressive behaviour they witness.”

Top tips for a pleasant journey:
GEM has identified a few steps that will hopefully reduce the risk for a driver of being the target of someone else’s aggression:

1 Keep calm and show restraint. Every journey brings the risk of frustration and conflict. Make a pledge to be patient. Avoid using your horn and never make gestures in anger.
2 Avoid competition and resist the desire to ‘get even’. If the standard of someone else’s driving disappoints you, don’t attempt to educate or rebuke them.
3 Don’t push into traffic queues, as no one likes being forced into giving way.  If you hold back and signal clearly, you won’t wait long before another drive lets you in.
4 Say thank you, say sorry, Courtesy encourages co-operation on the road. If you make a mistake or perhaps cut things a bit fine, then a gesture of apology avoids confrontation and helps defuse anger.
5 Move away from trouble. If you feel seriously threatened by another driver, then ensure your car doors locked and drive (at legal speed) to the nearest police station or busy area (petrol station forecourts are ideal). Use your mobile phone to alert the police. Pressing the horn repeatedly or continuously is likely to deter a potential attacker.

Neil Worth concludes: “We all make mistakes from time to time. But by showing consideration, patience and tolerance we can each do our bit to create a safer road environment for everyone.”

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