How to respond to aggressive/obnoxious individuals
I've been cycling around London for around two years and in that time I have infrequently found myself having a full blown argument with other road users. I find this quite surprising because I'm generally quite a mellow person and rarely argue with anybody.
I would estimate this has happened about four or five times over the last two years. It just so happens that two of those occasions have been in the last couple of weeks and I'm wondering what the best way to respond to clearly aggressive and obnoxious individuals on the road is?
To give an example: today I was waiting at a t-junction to turn right, I could not pull out because there was a steady stream of traffic travelling on the carriageway immediately in front of me. A motorist pulled up behind me and repeatedly beeped at me and shouted out of his window to pull out and get out of his way. He was clearly wrong because there was no way I could pull out. Initially I ignored him, I then pointed out the traffic stopping me from being able to pull out. Two pedestrians crossing the road between us laughed and commented that he wanted me to fly! With further provocation I ended up answering his abuse by shouting equally bad language back at him (which I am not at all proud of).
The driver in this example was particularly obnoxious but when faced with these situations I usually want to try to get the obnoxious road user to understand my point of view, be more tolerant and less aggressive in future. So far I have found this to be impossible, and have ended up engaging in slanging matches which are completely unproductive, increase tension on the road in general and I find affect my concentration on the road in the time which follows.
Does anybody have any tips on how to deal with this situation and stop it affecting your concentration and subsequent road safety?
Additionally are there any public order or highways offences being caused by being inconsiderate, aggressive or abusive? If it were possible to gather evidence on such episodes (e.g. by wearing helmet cameras/microphones) would it be possible to make a complaint to the police? And would doing so actually do any good?