Aggressive Driving: The Warning Signs and How to Prevent Road Rage
November 20, 2015
Aggressive driving has become a dangerous issue on our roads, and drivers with road rage put everyone at risk of accidents and injuries. Statistics have shown that aggressive driving is connected to approximately 66 percent of traffic fatalities and that about half of people who encounter aggressive drivers respond in an aggressive way. A recent AAA Foundation study considered 10,000 road rage cases over a seven-year period and revealed that these incidents resulted in at least 12,610 injury cases and 218 murders.
These injuries are deaths could have been prevented if only drivers had kept their cool. We all have good days and bad days, but there’s no excuse for letting emotions cloud your judgment behind the wheel.
Types of Aggressive Driving
Many people associate aggressive driving with being angry, but stress, hurrying, and impatience also lead to unsafe driving habits. When people drive aggressively, they are committing traffic offenses that have direct safety implications.
These are some of the most common types of aggressive driving you may encounter on the road:
• Tailgating
• Cutting off other drivers
• Speeding
• Weaving in and out of traffic
• Blowing through red lights and stop signs
What is Road Rage?
Road range is an extreme version of aggressive driving that often involves malicious behaviors that are directed at other drivers on the road. It is marked by deliberate actions that often result in violence and threats of violence.
These are some of forms of road range that you may be faced with because of aggressive drivers:
• Obscene gesture
• Cursing
• Ramming
• Sideswiping
• Throwing objects
• Use of weapons
The number one cause of road rage is traffic, which is commonly caused by peak commute congestion, fender benders, weather, sun glare, and even potholes. Road rage becomes a contagious problem when aggressive drivers provoke other motorists on the road. Drivers exhibiting signs of road rage should never be provoked, spurred on, or engaged in competition.
Tips to Avoid Aggressive Driving
The driver’s seat is no place to feel rushed, frustrated, or panicked. Fortunately, there are many things you can do to prevent aggressive driving-related accidents in your life.
These are some tips to avoid becoming an aggressive driver and putting everyone around you at risk:
• Allow yourself extra time to reach your destination
• Listen to calm music or talk radio when you drive
• Avoid driving when you are feeling emotional
• Don’t linger in the passing lane if you are not passing another vehicle
• Always use your turn signals
• Adjust your attitude and accept that traffic is out of your control
• Brush up on your driving knowledge and skills by taking a defensive driving class with a company like Comedy Defensive Driving.
How to Handle Aggressive Drivers
Even if you fully understand and appreciate the risks of aggression behind the wheel, you may still encounter aggressive drivers and must handle them carefully.
Here are some ways to diffuse a tense situation before it escalates to an unsafe hazard:
• Don’t react to or engage the aggressive driver
• Navigate your vehicle away from the aggressive driver to a safe location
• Make sure everyone in your car is wearing seat belts
• Don’t use your horn unnecessarily
• If the behavior persists, note the vehicle’s make, model, and license plate and report the aggressive driver to local police
Remember that it’s every driver’s responsibility to keep their emotions in check and ensure the safety of fellow motorists. Road range tendencies become even more dangerous when you’re sharing the road with large trucks, motorcyclists, bicycles, and pedestrians. Aggressive driving is unsafe driving, so keep these tips in mind every time you hop into the driver’s seat.