Maintaining Your Cool on the Road

All road users could navigate the streets more respectfully. It’s not a matter of your mode of transportation, humans are simply humans.

So what do you do when you’re nearly hit by a car? First off, be thankful you weren’t hit. Being hit by a car, even if the injuries are minor, is a terrible situation to endure. Your blood is rushing, your anger intensifying and, quite frankly, you’re pissed. It’s a natural reaction to a dangerous situation, but yelling at the driver isn’t going to get you anywhere.

If you have the opportunity to approach the driver, such as at the next stop light, lightly knock on the window of the car and engage the driver in a respectful conversation if you do not feel this would put you in a dangerous situation.

What do you say?
1) Take a deep breath before you say anything. Give yourself time to calm your rattled nerves.
2) Let the driver know how his or her actions made you feel scared. Most humans can related to the awful feeling of fear.
3) Let the driver know what almost happened and what the end result would have been; he or she is likely unaware of what happened (which is often why it happened).
4) Emphasize how grateful you are that nothing more serious happened.
5) Encourage the driver to be alert for that type of situation so it can be avoided next time.
6) Thank the driver for his or her time and for hearing you out. “I was really rattled by that situation. Being able to share this with you has helped calm me down. Thank you for your time and for hearing me out.”

If you are not comfortable approaching the driver but can obtain the license plate number, the Bicycle Transportation Alliance can help you send a letter to the vehicle’s registered owner. Use this opportunity for constructive dialog and say much the same as what is mentioned above.

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