You’re driving down the road and someone cuts you off. You’re understandably mad, so you might yell and wave your fist. But that’s not always where it stops. For many drivers, emotions continue to escalate.
Nationally, incidents of road rage are on the rise. A recent study from AAA shows 80 percent of drivers admit to expressing significant aggression, anger or road rage in the past year. The same study shows that men are more likely than women to express aggression on the road and that 56 percent of fatal accidents involve at least one form of aggressive driving.
Road rage behavior includes tailgating, blocking and cutting off other drivers and repeated horn honking. All of these can lead to car accidents, injuries and even death.
Earlier this year in Jacksonville, a trucker from New Jersey was shot and killed by another truck driver due to road rage resulting from an earlier traffic confrontation.
Truckers often warn passenger vehicle drivers about the dangers of cutting them off because they simply cannot stop in time to avoid a collision. Not only are they extremely heavy and hard to stop, hitting the brakes hard causes the braking system to dysfunction and can shift the truck’s load out of balance.
Car accidents caused by road rage are not uncommon in Jacksonville, especially since many roadways are congested due to what seems like never-ending construction. Whether you are on the giving or receiving end of road rage, here a few tips to keep you safe:
- Move over is someone is tailgating you and travel in the right lane if you are driving slower than other traffic.
- Never engage with someone who has yelled or gestured at you. Most of the time, the person who is angry is not thinking rationally, so trying to engage with them won’t work out well.
- Use an “I’m sorry” gesture if you accidentally do something offensive to another driver.
- If an angry driver is following you, don’t pull over and don’t drive home. Instead, call 911 and drive to a fire or police station, or public place like a shopping mall for help.
- Give yourself plenty of time to get where you’re going. Running late causes anxiety and impatience.
- Listen to soothing music and relax your shoulders when driving.
- Give people the benefit of the doubt. Maybe the woman trying to get over to the far right lane is rushing a child to the emergency room.
- Be mindful of other drivers and always use your turn signal.
- Lay off the horn. Excessive honking stresses drivers.
- Don’t be distracted by anything. Checking your phone, putting on makeup, texting, even eating, don’t mix well with driving.
- Don’t tailgate. Follow at a safe distance – allow 10 feet for every 10 mph you are traveling. So if you are going 60 mph, there should be 60 feet between you and car ahead.
- If you you notice dangerous or aggressive driving, have a passenger write down the license plate number, date, time, and road you are on and contact the Florida Highway Patrol by dialing *FHP. The best people to handle bad drivers are law enforcement professionals
Written by Elizabeth Allen. Continue reading