British Columbia·New

Tips for avoiding road rage this summer

Tailgaters, drivers who don't use turn signals, distracted drivers - we all have our pet peeves on the road. New Vancouver resident Shelli Nishino-Fayle sees many bad habits among local drivers.

Warmer months, road construction make drivers hot under the collar

Road rage can range from an angry gesture to physical confrontation (CBC )

Tailgaters, drivers who don't use turn signals,  distracted drivers - we all have our pet peeves on the road.  New Vancouver resident Shelli Nishino-Fayle sees many bad habits among local drivers.

"I feel like a lot of the traffic could be easily remedied by the way that people drive" says the former Los Angeles resident. "For example, I'm on the highway, and there's a backup. You're realizing it's because everybody has to merge into two lanes. And you're just like, are you serious? That's what's creating this traffic?"

New parent Shelli Nishino-Fayle says having a baby is making her re-think her aggressive driving. (Michelle Eliot, CBC )

Nishino-Fayle says she reacts with extreme frustration. But following a recent incident,  the new parent of a baby boy is re-thinking her own aggressive reaction to bad driving.

"Somebody was trying to make a driving maneuver, and they were just taking forever. Finally, I just zoomed around the person in front of me.  And I kind of flew past a stop sign, because I was just so angry, and my baby was having a rough day. We were having a rough day."

Nishino-Fayle is trying to cool her jets when faced with bad motorists and traffic congestion.  "I do need to take a moment and think about it, because of the new baby. I've been consciously driving slower, not making risky moves."

Road rage can be traced to other life stresses

According to driving instructor Mike Glas, increased traffic congestion and road construction can aggravate drivers during summer months. But other life stresses contribute to driver frustration on the road.

"Let's say it might be divorce, or money problems, and then somebody makes a lane change and in their opinion, they got cut off. And then they just lose it", says the head instructor at Thinking Driver.

Glas recommends changing your attitude from "risky driving" to "positive driving".  Don't allow yourself to become frustrated, and realize that heavy traffic, construction and bad drivers are beyond your control.

"In class, discussing this, we go through what's your pet peeve? Let's say it's tailgaters, or someone on a cell phone. And then, we ask: have any of you ever done any of this this? And everybody puts their hand up."

Tips for avoiding road rage:

Here are some tips on how you can avoid stirring up other drivers or
reacting to their behaviour.
• Don’t react to provocation.
• Keep your distance from erratic drivers.
• Don’t make eye contact with aggressive drivers.
• Use your horn only when it will help the other driver.
• Switch lanes only when necessary and use your signal.
• Don’t tailgate.
• Don’t block passing lanes.
• Don’t take more than one parking space.
• Always be polite and courteous. The other driver’s not the enemy.
• Take deep breaths. (source: ICBC)

Here are some of your email comments to

"If you see someone behaving badly let them go ahead. Give them all the room they need to misbehave. If you punish them by acting out in your driving, aren't you turning yourself into the person you dislike?"

"I have driven all over the world and have to agree that drivers here are the very worst I have come across.  They have no concept of how to drive correctly; are totally unaware of other drivers around them; do not use their signals correctly; are too slow most of the time and then are erratically quick at others."

"Having reggae playing- that is the only way to avoid road rage in this town."

Catch Michelle Eliot with On the Move, a segment on commuter issues, Tuesdays at 6:50 on The Early Edition, CBC Radio 1, 88.1 FM / 690 AM in Vancouver