Aggressive driving behaviors can include speeding, frequent and unnecessary lane changes, tailgating, and running red or yellow lights. These behaviors create unsafe situations and can lead to road rage.
Surveys show motorists rate aggressive driving as a top threat to highway safety, yet many do not identify their own behavior as aggressive. Crash data shows a continuous increase in the number of deaths and injuries attributed to speed. And the more congested streets and highways are, the more you will encounter aggressive and unsafe drivers while driving.
Why Aggressive Driving Is Increasing
- Lack of responsible driving behavior – On the road, the focus often is on individual rights and freedom, not on responsibility to other drivers we share the road with. Driving should be cooperative, not a competitive sport.
- Reduced levels of enforcement – The perceived risk of being apprehended for a traffic violation is directly related to the level of traffic enforcement
- More travel and congestion, especially in urban areas – Over the last 30 years, the number of miles driven in the United States has increased by 38 percent, while the number of miles of available roads has increased by less than 1 percent. Some motorists find themselves responding to the frustrations of driving in high-density traffic areas by acting aggressively.
Driving too fast makes it harder to react to dangerous situations, reduces a driver’s ability to steer safely around curves or objects in the roadway, and increases the force of impact in a crash.
Road rage is different from aggressive driving in that it involves using a vehicle as a weapon with intent to do harm. It is a physical assault of a person or vehicle as a result of a traffic incident—this is a criminal offense where you can go to jail.
Incidents that lead to aggressive driving behavior often are trivial in nature, and not something you might think would cause the explosions that characterize road rage. Violent traffic disputes rarely are the result of a single incident; rather, they are the cumulative result of a long series of troubles in the driver’s life.
What You Can Do
Reduce Your Own Aggressive Driving Tendencies
- Keep your emotions in check. Don’t take your frustrations out on other drivers.
- Plan ahead and allow enough time for delays.
- Focus on your own driving. Yelling, pounding on the steering wheel and honking your horn won’t make traffic move any faster.
How to Avoid Danger
First, be a cautious, considerate driver. Avoid creating a situation that may provoke another individual.
- Don’t tailgate or flash your lights at another driver.
- If you’re in the left lane and someone wants to pass, move over and let the driver pass you.
- Use your horn sparingly.
Second, if you do encounter an angry driver, don’t make matters worse by triggering a confrontation.
- Avoid eye contact.
- Steer clear and give angry drivers plenty of room.
- Don’t make inappropriate hand or facial gestures.
- If you’re concerned for your safety, call law enforcement
- In New Jersey we have the #77 Aggressive Driver System
- Don’t allow a total stranger to generate an action from you that might adversely effect you for the rest of your life.
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Download the Aggressive Driver Chart