How to deal with reckless drivers

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• Reckless driving is a common occurrence on our roads. 

• From speeding in built up areas to not maintaining a good following distance, drivers are constantly on edge. 

• Masterdrive managing director Eugene Herbert is an expert on driver training and gives good advice on how to deal with reckless drivers. 

It's safe to say the majority of motorists have experienced reckless driving behaviour on our roads. And if we are willing to be honest, some of those incidences are our fault. 

It's a reality of driving in South Africa and one that can have dire consequences if the situation is not dealt with properly. 

The actions of aggressive drivers can place you and your family at risk and you should constantly be on the look-out for these drivers and then know what the best course of action is when they approach your vehicle.

Eugene Herbert is managing director of MasterDrive and says the ultimate objective should be to put as much distance between yourself and these drivers as possible.

"No matter how infuriating it may be to encounter a driver like this, supress the temptation to block them off, match their speed or express your frustration in gestures. Accept that reckless drivers are inevitable and let them move past you without a reaction from your side," he says. 

Speedometer and arrow on 220 (done in 3d) 8BIM
Speedometer and arrow on 220 (done in 3d) 8BIM

Other things you can do to protect yourself from reckless drivers include:

Change lanes and move as far away from the driver as possible, even if it means giving way to them.  If you spot a driver who is clearly endangering other drivers and have someone in the car with you who can call police on your behalf, get them to inform police about the driver. 

If it is a company car, note the number on the truck and let the company or owner know what their driver is doing. Never cross an intersection just assuming it is safe to do so because it is your right of way. Always double check before moving off. Do not try keep pace with someone who is exceeding the speed limit but rather let them pass, especially if they are tailgating you.

Increase your following distance if you are behind a reckless driver in case their lack of foresight forces them to brake suddenly or if they brake suddenly to get a rise out of you. A large gap between yourself and a reckless driver will also give you time to react should a driver make a move without signalling their intention. Do not engage with someone driving erratically. The use of drugs, in particular, can elicit an irrational response from a driver like this.

One should also be on the lookout for drivers who are driving recklessly because they could be intoxicated. While spotting a driver who is driving erratically because they are on their phone can be exasperating, hooting at them, driving close to get their attention or various other means of chastising them can actually make the situation more dangerous. Rather focus your efforts on moving away from them.

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