Sage Advice: Aggressive Driver

By Amy Dickinson | July 3rd, 2018

Can an aggressive driver reel in his road rage?


Dear Amy: My husband is an emotional driver. Last weekend, there was heavy traffic and another car was basically tailgating us. He got so emotional that he decided to hit the brakes, turn on the emergency flashers and lay on the horn.

This is the second time that he pulled this kind of stunt. I’ve told him before that he cannot do this with our BABY secured in the backseat.

The last time he did this, he never apologized for it, and I let him off the hook.

What can I say to get through to him?

– Emotional Driver’s Wife

Dear Driver’s Wife: I think the conversation with your husband should start with: “You deliberately almost caused an accident. I will not let you drive with our child in the car until you acknowledge that you have a problem, and make an effort to stop it.”

While I agree that being tailgated is dangerous (and very annoying), what you’re describing here isn’t emotional driving, it’s raging and aggressive driving, and it’s very dangerous. If this behavior is not checked, it could lead not only to a traffic accident, but to a tragic confrontation with another raging driver.

He should set up a challenge for himself, to see if he can drive for 30 days without reacting in anger toward another driver, even if that other driver is in the wrong (it’s always the other driver). Deep breaths and calming music or meditation tapes can help (a crying or fussy baby in the backseat can add to his stress). The last time I found myself furious at a tailgating driver, I found a safe place to pull over – removing the annoyance, and also giving myself a minute to simmer down.

Everyone can benefit from a safe-driving course; you can find details for courses in your area on your state government’s website.

In the tradition of the great personal advice columnists, Chicago Tribune’s Amy Dickinson is a plainspoken straight shooter who relates to readers of all ages. She answers personal questions by addressing issues from both her head and her heart. A solid reporter, Dickinson researches her topics to provide readers with informed opinions and answers. Ask Amy, P.O. Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068

© 2018 by Amy Dickinson

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