Aggressive Driving / Road Rage
Society is moving at a faster pace now than in the past. Many people are always in a hurry and do not feel like they have time to slow down and relax. This may be due to the self-imposed desire to maintain a competitive edge over their perceived competition or because of competing demands on people's daily schedules.
Whatever the reasons may be, this attitude can place those who share the roadway in jeopardy. The design and structure of our neighborhoods require us, typically, to use a vehicle for our daily transportation needs. It is becoming more difficult, if not totally impossible, in most areas of the country, for people to walk to the local grocery store or a job. Without a means of transportation today, it is very difficult to function on a daily basis.
When we couple this with society's becoming accustomed to instantaneous communications, the problem becomes more pronounced. We are constantly under ever-increasing time and work pressures. In this environment, weekday driving may be seen as one of the last blocks of perceived wasted time. Some people continue working while behind the wheel, using cellular phones and dictating machines. This presents serious problems on the roadway due to the driver being distracted from the full time job of driving. It is possible the increased value of time is causing us to be much more aggressive on the road than ever before, especially during commuting hours. Some drivers see the traffic ahead of them as an obstacle to overcome at any cost. (Source: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration)
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the definitions of aggressive driving and road rage are as follows:
" The commission of two or more moving violations that is likely to endanger other persons or property, or any single intentional violation that requires a defensive reaction of another driver. "
" An assault with a motor vehicle or other dangerous weapon by the operator or passenger(s) of one motor vehicle on the operator or passenger(s) of another motor vehicle caused by an incident that occurred on a roadway. "
Road Rage and Aggressive Driving Symptoms
- Mentally condemning or thought of violence toward other drivers.
- Verbally expressing condemnation of other drivers to passengers in your vehicle.
- Not obeying traffic safety rules, because you don't agree with them.
- Engage in aggressive and risky driving:
- Following too close.
- Weaving in and out of traffic.
- Speeding up to beat a traffic light.
- Cutting between vehicles to change lanes.
- Using the horn excessively.
- Flashing headlights excessively at oncoming traffic.
- Braking to get others to back off your bumper.
- Passing traffic and then slowing to teach the other driver a lesson.
What Can You Do?
Aggressive driving has become a serious public safety threat in communities across the nation. Throughout the United States, law enforcement administrators, traffic safety experts, public health officials, mayors, state legislators, and governors are being enlisted to help find a solution. Yet experience has shown that significant steps to improve traffic safety in this nation are made when citizens act. The Campaign Safe & Sober - Battling Aggressive Driving
Web site offers tips for starting a grassroots effort in your community to battle aggressive driving.
Are You an Aggressive Driver?
What about your own driving? Take a minute to evaluate yourself to see if you may have developed some habits that could be adding to the aggressive driving atmosphere. Go to the Campaign Safe & Sober - Get the Word Out
to determine if you are an aggressive driver.
Reporting an Aggressive Driver to the Police
If you have witnessed or been a victim of one aggressive driving act you can call 911 or the Webster Police Department and provide the following information that is needed by law enforcement:
- The location that you last saw the vehicle.
- Direction of travel (toward where).
- What road or highway.
- Color/colors of the vehicles.
- Were weapons involved?
- What happened?
- Are you a victim or a witness?
By providing us with detailed information about the area(s) you are concerned with, the Webster Police Department can focus on areas in which aggressive drivers are endangering the roadways.
- Allow plenty of time for the trip, listen to soothing music, improve the comfort in your vehicle, and understand that you cannot control the traffic, only your reaction to it. In the end, we may very well discover that personal frustration, anger, and impatience may be the most dangerous "drugs" on the highway.
- Be polite and courteous, even if the other driver is not. Avoid all conflict if possible. If another driver challenges you, take a deep breath and move out of the way. Never underestimate the other driver's capacity for mayhem.
- When entering traffic or changing lanes, make sure that you have enough room.
- Make sure you have established a safe following distance between your vehicle and the one in front of you.
- Don't make aggressive hand gestures to the other drivers when they offend you with their driving.
- Signal when turning or changing lanes.
- Control your anger; remember it takes two to start a fight.
- Avoid prolonged eye contact with the bad or angry driver.
- Get help. Call police on your cell phone or go to a public telephone or place. Don't pull to the side of the road.
- Forget about winning. No one wins in a highway crash.
- Put yourself in the other driver's shoes. They may be driving that way because of an actual emergency!