A DRIVING instructor has revealed how to deal with "raging idiots" on the road and avoid a £1,000 fine.
Learning to drive is no easy task; from hill starts to lane changes on roundabouts and joining busy motorways, mastering these skills can feel like enough of a challenge for new drivers.
Adding to this stress is the abuse learners experience from other drivers, with a report revealing that over four in five (81%) have fallen victim to abuse or intimidation during a lesson.
To help keep all motorists safe, insurance specialist Marmalade has teamed up with the driving instructor, Andy Harding, to share expert advice on how to respond to threatening behaviour in a safe and controlled manner.
Avoid reacting emotionally
As hard as it may seem at the time of the incident, try not to show any negative emotions to the offending driver.
Instead, it’s much more important to focus on yourself and stay calm on the road.
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Not only this, but responding in a controlled manner will prove to be a valuable lesson.
By not reacting to other road users in an aggressive or confrontational manner and escalating the situation further, you will learn that this is the safest way to respond.
Stay in your car
Above anything else, you are safest in the vehicle, so stay there until it is safe to leave rather than attempting to confront the offender.
If the offender gets out of their vehicle and presents increasingly threatening behaviour, remain calm and call 999 if you believe you are both at immediate risk of harm.
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Use technology to document the event
In these situations, it will support your case to have physical evidence to hand.
As long as you are stationary and parked in a safe place, try to record the incident on your phone.
Similarly, if the incident is documented on a dash cam, then lock and download it as soon as possible, including any audio that may have been filmed and pass it onto the police.
Do not attempt to follow the vehicle
Never take the law into your own hands.
Not only is this placing you in an even more vulnerable situation, but it could result in a crash and harm other road users too.
It is more important to prioritise your safety rather than justice on the roads. Instead, leave that to the police.
If the offender is leaving the scene after showing signs of threatening behaviour, let it happen.
If you are being followed, stick to main roads
If the dangerous driver is going to the lengths of following your vehicle and showing other signs of harassment, then avoid driving along quiet or remote roads – even if this is your planned route.
Instead, calmly redirect to drive on busier roads where possible, where other drivers can be witnesses.
Review any footage and gather details as soon as possible
Drivers can be fined up to £1,000 for something as small as a rude hand gesture, so it’s important to go to the effort of gathering all the information and reporting it properly.
Report the incident immediately
If it’s a non-emergency and no one is in immediate danger, you can report offenders by calling 101 and passing on any details from the incident.
You can also report dangerous driving or road rage online.
The DVLA has a section on its website that allows you to fill in an incident form.
In your report, include information such as the vehicle make, model and colour, as well as where you witnessed the incident and any other details about the driver.
Once the incident has been reported, spend some time reflecting on what happened and if anything more could have been done to avoid the situation in the first place or from escalating.
If there is something to learn from this, put it into practice during future driving lessons or journeys.
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