Drivers may not pay attention while driving, or may not realise that they are driving too fast, and this is bad enough. What makes drivers aggressive, though, and how are vulnerable road users best able to cope? Is it acceptable or wise to respond so that the aggressor understands the affect they've had?
These notes are almost entirely from the viewpoint of me as a cyclist, since it is when I am cycling that aggressive driving really becomes dangerous.
I've had several incidents where a driver has cut me up because they didn't like what I was doing. All these resulted in no actual contact, but were quite alarming nonetheless. The two worst cases involved buses. One driver didn't like the fact that I wasn't using a cycle path, so overtook me dangerously close; he admitted as much when I caught him up. Another driver (South Notts bus) was arguing with me with the doors open whilst I was cycling along, and pulled right in close to me when a car came towards us in the opposite direction. In both those cases I was moving at around twenty MPH, and a few inches of movement on my part would have taken me under the wheels.
Just today a driver took exception to the fact that I entered a cycle path next to the road, and shortly later exited back onto the road after it had taken me on a left turn around a roundabout. This driver roared closely past me, and when I had words with him (he had stopped a few seconds after cutting me up since he'd arrived at work!) he tried to tell me off for cycling aggressively and using a footpath. I did my best to point out that he had been driving aggressively, which is really quite dangerous, but he was adamant that I deserved it.