Aggressive Driving: From Rudeness to Rage

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Many will celebrate Valentine’s Day in February sharing sweet treats and kind sentiments, but drivers are reminded that February is also Aggressive Driving Awareness month. AAA Kansas encourages all drivers to share some love along our roadways this month.

 

Most everyone has been on the receiving end of aggressive driving behavior and it can be quite scary. In fact the AAA Traffic Safety Culture Index released last March found that 91.5 percent of all drivers say that people driving aggressively poses a threat to their personal safety and 68 percent of drivers perceive that aggressive driving is a much bigger or somewhat bigger problem today than it was three years ago.

 

Aggressive driving is more than honking the horn and gesturing. AAA Kansas defines aggressive driving as any unsafe driving behavior, performed deliberately and with ill intention or disregard for safety. Examples include:

  • 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

The AAA Traffic Safety Culture Index also found:

  • Half of drivers (50.3 percent) reported driving 15 mph over the speed limit on a freeway and 47.6 percent reported driving 10 mph over the speed limit on a residential street.
  • A large portion of drivers (42.7 percent) admitted to driving through a stoplight that has just turned red when they could have stopped safely in the past 30 days, despite most drivers (92.9 percent) viewing it as an unacceptable behavior.
  • Nearly 80 percent of drivers expressed significant anger, aggression or road rage behind the wheel at least once in the past year

The Governors Highway Safety Association issued a report in January, concluding that speeding is not given enough attention as a traffic safety issue despite being a factor in nearly one-third of all motor vehicle-related fatalities. Further, it highlights that widespread public acceptance of speeding and lack of risk perception also serve as obstacles to reducing speeding-related deaths.

 

To avoid aggressive driving situations, AAA Kansas advises managing your behavior and your responses. Most drivers are not thinking about their impact on you; they are just rushed, distracted or upset. AAA Kansas recommends that you follow these important rules of the road:

  • Maintain adequate following distance
  • Use turn signals
  • Never cause another driver to change their speed or direction. That means not forcing another driver to use their brakes, or turn the steering wheel in response to something you have done.
  • Allow others to merge
  • Use high beams responsibly
  • Tap your horn if you must (but no long blasts or hand gestures)
  • Be considerate in parking lots, parking in one spot, not across multiple spaces. Be careful not to hit the car next to you with your door
  • Avoid eye contact with angry drivers
  • Don’t respond to aggression with aggression
  • If you are confronted stay as calm and courteous as possible
  • If you feel threatened, call 911

Shawn Steward

Manager, Public and Government Affairs

AAA Kansas

Wichita, Kansas

Find more AAA information on aggressive driving and road rage at https://exchange.aaa.com/safety/driving-advice/aggressive-driving/#.XE5FgGhKhPY

 

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