It’s Monday morning, and you’re already running late. You’ve hit every red light for the last 10 miles, and the person in front of you just won’t speed up. They may even be talking on the phone. You choose to follow the other driver closely to convey your frustrations, and they still don’t move. Finally, you’ve had it, and speed past them, perhaps through a yellow (or red) light, and maybe even flipped them a rude gesture on the way by. Does any of this sound familiar?
Many everyday common driving practices qualify as aggressive driving. What most of us call or consider “road rage” is usually the result of habitual, aggressive driving techniques. And while this behavior is remarkably common, most people do not consider themselves to be aggressive drivers.
As ninety percent of Americans drive to work every day in some form of a commute and spend an average of 40 hours a month in traffic, it’s not surprising how quickly tensions on the road can escalate. But when aggressive, unsafe driving contributes to more than half of all automobile fatalities, something needs to change. Since September is statistically the worst month of the year for incidents of road rage, now may be a good time to consider if you commonly engage in aggressive, life-threatening driving practices.
Ask yourself these four questions:
- Do I regularly drive over the speed limit, or try to "beat" red lights because I am in a hurry?
- Do I tailgate or flash my headlights at a driver in front of me that I believe is driving too slowly?
- Do I honk the horn often?
- Do I ever use obscene gestures or otherwise communicate angrily at other drivers?
If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, you may be an aggressive driver, or exhibiting signs of road rage. A National Highway Traffic Safety Commission study noted that half of all drivers who are on the receiving end of aggressive driving behavior, such as horn honking, a rude gesture, or tailgating will respond with aggressive behavior themselves. It becomes clear that the risks of aggressive driving are not worth getting somewhere faster, or teaching another driver a lesson.
You can prevent raising your stress level and driving aggressively by allowing yourself more time to reach your destination; remembering you cannot control traffic; and concentrating on driving. Now, if you feel that you are a frequent victim of aggressive driving, perhaps you are driving in a way that is encouraging aggressive driving in others.
Consider these questions as well:
- Do I frequently use my phone while driving, or otherwise drive while distracted?
- Do I keep my high beams on, regardless of oncoming traffic?
- Do I switch lanes or make turns without using my turn signal?
- Do I fail to check my blind spot before switching lanes to make sure I’m not cutting someone off?
Ultimately, the best way to keep everyone safe is to be aware of your own actions, and not take the actions of other drivers personally. If you find that you have agitated another driver, whether intentionally or otherwise, do not react or retaliate. Simply remind yourself that the other driver is just bad at handling stress; avoid eye contact; and continue to drive safely.Running lights and honking at other drivers may seem harmless, but Hupy and Abraham has seen firsthand the aftermath of aggressive driving. If you or a loved have been the victim of an aggressive driver’s road rage that caused an accident or resulted in injury, contact the experienced automobile accident attorneys of Hupy and Abraham right away. Call 800-800-5678 for a free consultation, or start a live chat with us anytime at Hupy.com.