Be Aware of Aggressive Driving and Road Rage

On my long commute back and forth to work, I often witness the ever increasing problem of road rage and aggressive driving. However, I have never heard of such an awful incident of road rage as I did recently.

On January 15, 2010, after two truck drivers were cutting each other off and having heated discussions over the CB radio, they decided to stop on the shoulder of a Chicago expressway to settle their differences. The ensuing argument led to one of truckers being fatally stabbed. State police blamed road rage for causing the fatal argument between the two truckers.

The National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA) defines aggressive driving as occurring when “an individual commits a combination of moving traffic offenses so as to endanger other persons or property.”

Road & Travel reports that according to a survey conducted by Response Insurance, one-half of drivers who are subjected to aggressive driving behavior on the road respond with their own aggression, thus risking a more serious altercation. When it comes to aggressive responses, men are more likely than women to do so (54 percent vs. 46 percent), as are drivers age 18-24 (67 percent) versus drivers 65 and older (30 percent).

If you are an aggressive driver, or should you come into contact with one, your safety and that of your passengers and others on the road is seriously compromised. To protect yourself and others when confronted by aggressive drivers, the NHTSA recommends the following:

  • Let it pass. Make every attempt to get out of their way by moving to another lane and let the other driver pass.
  • Stay calm. Focus on getting from one place to another safely and do not challenge aggressive drivers by speeding up or attempting to challenge them in your lane.
  • Wear a seat belt. A seat belt will protect you in the event you need to make an abrupt and defensive driving maneuver and it will protect you in a crash.
  • Avoid eye contact. The driver of the other vehicle may take your look as a challenge and become even more aggressive.
  • Ignore it. The best way to deal with aggressive driving and rude gestures is simply to ignore it.
  • Report aggressive drivers. Aggressive driving and road rage between drivers is underreported. Motorists are encouraged to call police before incidents escalate.

Aggressive driving can affect anyone. Avoid the challenges or confrontations of an aggressive driver at all costs and support law enforcement’s efforts to free the streets and highways of this danger.

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