Sunday, December 14, 2008

Are You an Aggressive Driver?

Answer these questions:


1.)           Do you speed?  If the answer is yes, do you exceed the speed limit by more than 10%?

2.)           Do you ever change lanes without using a signal?

3.)           Do you change lanes whenever you want, even if another driver will have to slow down?

4.)           Do you pass on the shoulder?

5.)           Do you pass in an emergency lane?

6.)           Have you ever raised your voice in anger at another driver?

7.)           Have you ever used obscene gestures toward another driver?

8.)           Have you ever adjusted your speed to prevent another car from passing?

9.)           Have you ever intentionally driven too close to another vehicle to “pay them back” for bad driving?

10.)        Have you ever merged into a lane without a signal or without adequate room for your vehicle?


A “yes” answer to any of the first 5 questions constitutes a traffic offense known as aggressive driving.   A “yes” answer to any of the second five questions constitutes “road rage”.  The exact number of motor vehicle crashes caused by aggressive drivers is unknown, but NHTSA has previously estimated about 66 percent of all traffic fatalities annually are caused by aggressive driving behaviors, such as passing on the right, running red lights and tailgating.

A nationwide study by NHTSA of fatal crashes at traffic signals in 1999 and 2000 estimated that 20 percent of the vehicles involved failed to obey the signals. In 2004, more than 900 people were killed and an estimated 168,000 were injured in crashes that involved red light running. About half of the deaths in red light running crashes are pedestrians and occupants in other vehicles who are hit by the red light runners.


Some of the factors linked to aggressive driving include:

Crowded roads

Being in a hurry

Road work

Stress from other areas of life

Dangerous driving attitudes



There are a number of common tips for avoiding aggressive drivers such as:


Leave plenty of room to merge

Avoid eye contact with other drivers

Ignore obscene language and gestures

Always obey traffic laws

Leave the left lane available for passing, regardless of your own speed

Report aggressive driving to the proper authorities


It is the season of shopping, stress, and crowds, however, so here are a few tips to avoid BEING an aggressive driver:


Leave plenty of time to reach your destination – this may mean doubling the time you think it will take.


Avoid multi-tasking – talking on the cell phone, text messaging, reading, completing your shopping list.


Don’t drive hungry, inebriated, or exhausted.


Know where you are going.  (Prevent the frustration of being lost.)


Make this your holiday gift – forgive the transgressions of those drivers less talented than yourself. 



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