What the #@&%^! — Do YOU Have Road Rage?
Aggressive driving causes many unnecessary accidents on the road. When sharing the road with other motorists, cyclists, and pedestrians, it is important to be patient and courteous in order to avoid catastrophic and deadly accidents. Recognizing who is an aggressive and dangerous driver is just one step towards protecting yourself and those you love. Realizing that you may have a road rage problem is another…
Common Behaviors of Aggressive Drivers
Common behaviors of an aggressive driver or someone with road rage include, weaving in and out of traffic, tailgating, driving above the speed limit, running red lights and stop signs, making hand and facial gestures, honking, and screaming. This type of aggressive behavior is not good for anyone to encounter on the road. In fact, a survey done by the AAA Foundation’s annual Traffic Safety Culture Index revealed that 8 out of 10 drivers expressed that they found aggressive driving to be a “serious” or “extremely serious” behavior that threatens safety on the road. Indeed it is a serious behavior, and approximately half of all traffic fatalities are a result of aggressive driving.
What to do if You Encounter an Aggressive Driver
If you are confronted by an aggressive driver or someone with road rage, the National Highway and Safety Traffic Administration offer these tips on their website:
Are YOU an Aggressive Driver?
- First, you should make every attempt to get out of their way
- Avoid eye contact
- Ignore inappropriate gestures, and do not return them
- Call 911 and report someone who is driving aggressively. Provide a description of the vehicle, license plate number, location, and the direction they are traveling.
- If a crash occurs farther down the road, park a safe distance from the crash site and when the police arrive, report the behavior and what you witnessed to the police
While it is important to be aware of aggressive drivers, it is equally important to avoid being
an aggressive driver. If you are in fact an aggressive driver, the below will sound familiar to you. Do you….
- Do you get angry at fast drivers?
- Do you get angry at slow drivers?
- Do you get angry when you are cut off?
- Do you get angry at malfunctioning stoplights?
- Do you get angry at traffic jams?
- Do family members or friends tell you to calm down when you are driving?
- Do you get angry at tailgaters?
- Do you get angry at your passengers?
- Do you tailgate closely behind drivers who annoy you?
- Do you yell, scream, or curse at other drivers?
- Do you speed up and cut people off who aggravate you?
- Do you weave in and out of traffic erratically?
- Do you honk or rev your engine at other drivers?
- Do you use hand gestures or other inappropriate gestures when annoyed at other drivers?
- Have you ever gotten out of your car to physically assault or fight with another driver?
Being an aggressive driver is not only dangerous for yourself and your passengers, it is also a danger for others around you. Be sure to give yourself plenty of time to get to your destination, leave early if you have to. By staying cool, calm, and collected, you allow the opportunity for yourself and others to arrive safely at their destination.
When Aggression turns to Road Rage
When your anger results in a physical display of aggression, such as tailgating, cursing, or cutting people off in traffic, you may have road rage. Being angry that you caught the traffic light is markedly different from cursing, yelling, screaming, and honking at the car in front of you or drivers around you. Sadly, road rage and aggressive driving are on the incline. Since 1990, incidents of road rage have increased by 51% and are even worse in cities with major traffic congestion and long commuter times.
If you are unable to control your anger, or your anger leads to displays of aggression, such as weaving in and out of traffic or shouting obscenities at someone, then you may have road rage. Some people actually have a disorder known as “intermittent explosive disorder” that affects their road rage and their driving behaviors. They may have exaggerated feelings of rage and can quickly turn violent.
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