A study by the Automobile Association of America (AAA) Foundation for Traffic Safety reports that aggressive driving is a growing problem and that 9 in 10 drivers feel that people driving aggressively pose a threat to their personal safety. This concern is justified, a recent study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic safety found that over half of fatal car accidents involved at least one driver who performed a potentially aggressive action.
What is Aggressive Driving?
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) defines aggressive driving as, “The operation of a motor vehicle in a manner that endangers or is likely to endanger persons or property.” Aggressive driving includes:
- Weaving in and out of traffic.
- Running red lights.
- Failing to obey stop signs, yield signs and other traffic signals.
- Blocking cars attempting to pass or change lanes.
- Cutting in front of another driver and then slowing down.
- Changing lanes without signaling.
- Ignoring signals from other drivers.
- Failing to yield the right of way.
Preventing Aggressive Driving
The AAA Exchange offers the following tips to help prevent aggressive driving:
- Maintain adequate following distance.
- Use turn signals.
- Allow others to merge.
- Use your high beams responsibly.
- Don’t force another driver to use their brakes or turn their steering wheel in response to something you have done.
- If you must use your horn, just tap it.
Responding to Aggressive Driving
Tips for responding to an aggressive driver and road rage:
- Swallow your pride and attempt to get out of their way. Don’t try to prove a point.
- Stay Calm. Do not respond to the other driver. Avoid any escalation of conflict.
- Avoid eye contact with the aggressive driver or occupants.
- Avoid making hand gestures, honking your horn, or flashing your lights.
- Be sure to allow enough room so that you can pull out or around if someone approaches your vehicle.
- Do not get out of your vehicle – it can help protect you.
- Drive to a busy public place where there are witnesses, such as a hospital or fire station. Once there, use your horn to attract others’ attention if needed.
- If necessary, contact 911 for assistance.