Road Rage

Aggressive Driving

Aggressive Driving vs. Road Rage

Road Rage - girl in carNearly one-third of all motor vehicle collisions and two-thirds of all automobile-related fatalities involve aggressive driving, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Aggressive driving is defined as reckless performance behind the wheel, such as:

Speeding in heavy traffic
Tailgating
Cutting in front of another driver and then slowing down
Running red lights
Weaving in and out of traffic
Changing lanes without signaling
Blocking cars attempting to pass or change lanes
Using headlights or brakes to “punish” other drivers

Road rage is malicious behavior directed at specific drivers, which may escalate to violence. Examples include:

Cursing and rude or obscene gestures
Throwing objects
Ramming
Sideswiping
Forcing a driver off the road
Brandishing or discharging firearms.

 

Manage your behavior, manage your responses

AAA's How to Drive CoverAAA’s How to Drive: The Beginning Driver’s Manual includes tips on avoiding aggressive driving and stopping road rage at its root. These include:

Allowing enough travel time so that you don’t begin your trip stressed, hurried or impatient.
Making your vehicle a conflict-free zone. Driving and intense conversations don’t mix; even if you are just debating the idiot on talk radio or responding to a bumper sticker. Listen to relaxing music. Breathe. Stretch. Smile.

You will see other drivers doing things that are illegal, inconsiderate and even incomprehensible.  Don’t respond personally. Most drivers are not thinking about their impact on you; they are just rushed, distracted or upset.

Follow the rules of the road.

Maintain adequate following distance.
Use turn signals.
Allow others to merge.
Use your high-beams responsibly.
Tap your horn if you must (but no long blasts with accompanying hand gestures).
Be considerate in parking lots. Park in one spot, not across multiple spaces. Be careful not to hit cars next to you with your door.

Remaining calm and courteous behind the wheel lowers your risk of an unpleasant encounter – with another driver and with law enforcement. Several communities now deploy teams to target aggressive drivers. Repeat violators may be fined, required to take anger management classes, lose their license or serve jail time.

Dealing with confrontation

  • Avoid eye contact with angry drivers.
  • Don’t respond to aggression with aggression.
  • If you feel you are at risk, drive to a public place such as a police station, hospital or fire station.
  • When you park, allow room so you can pull out safely if someone approaches you aggressively.
  • Use your horn to attract attention but remain in your locked vehicle.
  • If you are confronted, stay as calm and courteous as possible.
  • If you feel threatened, call 911.
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Road Rage: How to Avoid Aggressive Driving

Tips in this brochure will help you avoid becoming a victim of road rage. Download »