Do you find yourself getting frustrated and angry behind the wheel?

Is it tempting to vent your emotions on other drivers?

Unfortunately, you’re not alone.

Aggressive driving is extremely common among U.S. drivers. According to AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety’s 2019 data, nearly 80 percent of drivers admitted to expressing significant anger, aggression or road rage behind the wheel at least once in the previous 30 days.

Incidents of road rage come across the Douglas County radio scanner too frequently.

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Any unsafe driving behavior performed deliberately and with ill intention or a disregard for safety can constitute aggressive driving.

“Anything from speeding, cutting in front of other drivers, tailgating or weaving in and out of traffic to running red lights, blocking cars that are attempting to pass or change lanes, or using headlights or brakes to “punish” other drivers is considered an aggressive driving behavior,” says Meredith Mitts, Public Affairs Specialist for AAA – The Auto Club Group. “Extreme cases of aggressive driving can escalate to road rage.”

Examples of road rage include cursing and rude or obscene gestures; throwing objects; ramming or sideswiping a vehicle; forcing a driver off the road; physical aggression or violence.

The AAA offers these tips for dealing with aggressive driving in yourself and others:

  • Follow all rules of the road (including speed limit, hands free law, slow down and move over laws, etc.)

  • Maintain adequate following distance.

  • Use turn signals.

  • Allow others to merge.

  • Use your high beams responsibly.

  • If you must use your horn, tap it lightly (no long blasts or accompanying hand gestures.)

  • Be considerate in parking lots and on busy road ways.

If you find yourself dealing with a road rage encounter, here’s the AAA’s advice:

  • Avoid eye contact with angry drivers.

  • If confronted, stay as calm and courteous as possible.

  • Don’t respond to aggression with aggression.

  • If you feel threatened, call 911.

  • If you feel you are at risk, drive to a public place such as a police station, hospital or fire station.

  • When you park, allow room so you can pull out safely if someone approaches you aggressively.

  • Use your horn to attract attention but remain in your locked vehicle.

“When you get behind the wheel of your vehicle, regardless of where you are going,” Mitt said, remember your true goals: Arrive safely and arrive alive.”

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