How to Avoid Seasonal Road Rage

As we head into the Holidays, aggressive driving is a major concern and a real threat to the safety of all drivers. As America's roadways become increasingly more congested, we are all challenged by the stress related to heavier traffic patterns. Unfortunately, it is easy to feel like you're crawling into a safe cocoon when you strap into your car. But, nothing could be further from the truth. With excessive speed on roads where the speed limit is already too high, a car crash can quickly become a violent or even deadly event.

A study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found a large percentage of drivers surveyed expressed significant anger, aggression, or road rage behind the wheel at least once during the previous year. So, try to follow these principles:

  • Be Aware of Your Driving - Avoid cutting off another driver. Never drive slowly in the left lane. It's not your responsibility to enforce traffic laws on fellow drivers. Don't tailgate, that's annoying.
  • Do Not Engage Others - Avoid eye contact and don't make gestures at other drivers. You should always try to maintain space around your vehicle and contact 9-1-1 if needed.
  • Adjust Your Attitude - Driving on public roadways is not a competitive event, so there are no winners. Try to put yourself in the other driver's shoes. You don't know why they were driving like they were.

Remember that in the heat of the moment, your adrenaline is going crazy and you're not thinking right. Defensive driving has nothing to do with defending yourself or your rights to the road.

The terms road rage and aggressive driving are often used interchangeably but the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) says they are not synonymous. According to the NHTSA, aggressive driving is a traffic offense whereas road rage is the deliberate criminal attempt to hurt another driver or pedestrian. Experts say that by the time we start driving a vehicle, we have already acquired aggressive attitudes from our parents, TV and movies. In one survey, 80% of drivers said other drivers are aggressive on the road but only 30% admitted that they drive aggressively, so 50% don't realize they are an aggressive driver.

Be safe and remember that the Holidays are suppose to be a time of giving, so help make it special for those around you.


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