Here in Florida we see a lot of aggressive driving and road rage, especially here in Central Florida with Interstate 4 and the construction that is going on. As an insurance agency we like to be preventative and help our clients think before they act, to have ways to remind themselves in the heat of the moment that their families are more important than speeding and cutting someone off or not allowing someone to merge allow someone to go in front of them and being the victim of Road Rage.
The definition of Road Rage is defined by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration as when a driver “commits moving traffic offenses so as to endanger other persons or property; an assault with motor vehicle or other dangerous weapon by the operator or passenger of one motor vehicle on the operator or passengers of another motor vehicle.”
This seems a little extreme and I bet you can think back to a time when you might of seen these actions. However, I feel we see more aggressive driving, impatience and uneducated drivers which causes many to have “road rage.”
So let’s take a quiz: Ask yourself these questions and be honest.
Road Rage Quiz:
• Do you regularly drive over the speed limit, or try to “beat” red lights because you are in a hurry?
• Do you tailgate or flash your headlights at a driver in front of you that you believe is driving too slowly?
• Do you honk the horn often?
• Do you ever use obscene gestures or otherwise communicate angrily at another driver?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, it is possible you are susceptible to road rage. Not that you have had it, but you are susceptible. I know what you are saying.. “but that driver doesn’t know how to drive!” Ok, so let’s ask these questions.
Do you cause Road Rage?
• Do you frequently use your phone while driving, or otherwise drive while distracted?
• Do you keep your high beams on, regardless of oncoming traffic?
• Do you switch lanes or make turns without using your turn signal?
• Do you fail to check your blind spot before switching lanes to make sure you aren’t cutting someone off?
I want to add a few more:
• Do you merge into traffic before the lane ends?
• Do you drive in the fast lane and go slow and you really don’t care?
If you answered YES to any of these questions, you may be contributing in causing road rage in others or aggressive driving in others.
Let me give you some statistics:
• 66% of traffic fatalities are caused by aggressive driving.
• 37% of aggressive driving incidents involve a firearm.
• Males under the age of 19 are the most likely to exhibit road rage.
• Half of drivers who are on the receiving end of an aggressive behavior, such as horn honking, a rude gesture, or tailgating admit to responding with aggressive behavior themselves.
• Over a seven year period, 218 murders and 12,610 injuries were attributed to road rage.
I believe there are many ways to be preventative which is why we are discussing Road Rage. While we can’t control other people we can control ourselves. Here are a few ways we can be preventative when dealing with others that drive aggressively and or individuals who might cause road rage knowingly or unknowingly.
• Be considerate to others – If they want to drive fast let them. Get out of their way. If they seem in a hurry and want to pull out in front of you; slow down and allow them to go.
• Give the other drivers the benefit of doubt – Instead of thinking nasty thoughts about them – think; “you know maybe they were not educated in driving school properly, and just really don’t even know how to drive”, or you know :maybe they were daydreaming, and really not paying attention.” When I do this – this takes away the “anger” of why this person isn’t driving correctly.
• Keep at least a car length of space between you and the car in front of you. This will help not contributing to road rage and helps in reaction time in case the traffic stops. Which is does a lot on Interstate 4.
• When there is traffic be courteous and For The Love of Pete know how to Merge into traffic.
• Use one of our stress balls while driving: This will help with a few things, one it will help with stress, you can squeeze itinstead of gesturing at someone. Second it will keep your hand occupied so you won’t be picking up your phone while driving. Our motto here is Squeeze and Drive; Don’t Text and Drive!
• Stay alert and pay attention while driving.
Distracted driving is a huge problem here in America. Whether you are texting, eating, putting on make-up or just not paying attention to your surroundings accidents and deaths occur when others are distracted while driving.
Lastly and I think it is the most important –
• Treat Others With RESPECT
No matter what having an attitude of Respect for others will help in so many situations when the normal response would be opposite. Don’t be normal in this situation, be Different.
Have you ever witnessed Road Rage? If so please share your story with us. It might help others rethink their attitudes while driving.
Statistic taken from SafeMotorist.com