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Road Rage

Three fourths of all fatal traffic accidents occur within 25 miles of the driver's home and 30% occur at speeds under 40 mph.

Don't be blinded by road rage
Road rage is considered a type of aggressive driving. If you haven't heard or seen anything about road rage in the last few months, you've probably been avoiding the media. There have been countless stories about this new and scary phenomenon. If you drive, you have more than likely encountered aggressive driving.

While drunk driving remains a critical problem, the facts about aggressive driving are surely as ominous. For instance, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 41,907 people died on the highways in 1997. Of those fatalities, the agency estimates about two-thirds were caused at least in part by aggressive driving behavior.

Why has road rage surfaced on our roadways?
Road rage can flare up in all types of traffic Why is this phenomenon occurring more than ever, and why is it something that seemed almost nonexistent a few years ago? Experts have several theories. All are probably partially correct.

One suggestion is sheer overcrowding. In the last decade the number of cars on the roads have increased by over 11%. The number of miles driven has increased by 35%. Meanwhile, the number of new road miles has only increased by 1%. That means more cars in the same amount of space. And the problem is magnified in urban areas.

Also, people have less time and more things to do. With busy working parents trying to fit extra chores and activities into the day, stress levels have never been higher. Stress creates anxiety, which leads to short tempers. These factors, when combined in certain situations, can lead to road rage.

Are you immune to road rage?
You may think you are the last person who would drive aggressively, but you might be surprised. For instance, have you ever tailgated a slower driver, honked long and hard at another car, or sped up to keep another driver from passing? If you recognize yourself in any of these situations, watch out! Take the Road Rage Quiz to help determine if you're an aggressive driver.

Avoid the rage in you and others
Whether you are getting angry at other drivers or if another driver is visibly upset with you, there are things you can do to avoid major confrontations. If you are susceptible to road rage, the key is to discharge your emotion in a healthy way. If you are the target of another driver's rage, do everything possible to get away from the other driver safely. Avoid eye contact and get out of their way. By carefully following specific safety tips, you can help avoid road rage.

What can be done?
Even though the problem of road rage may seem daunting, there are large-scale preventative measures currently underway to reduce the risk of aggressive driving and related fatalities. For instance, there is a major push to inform and educate the public about the problem, to improve enforcement techniques designed to punish and deter aggressive drivers, and to design safer roads.

According to the Coalition for Consumer Health and Safety, (CCHS) unsafe driving reflects not just the irresponsible behavior of a small minority of all drivers, but the slow erosion of safe, courteous driving standards among the majority of all drivers. A recent survey sponsored by the CCHS shows that most people consider courteous driving as safe driving.

In addition, survey results have found 10 discourteous driving practices to be unsafe. In response, CCHS recently introduced a "courteous driving campaign." By disseminating information about the dangers of aggressive driving and 10 tips on driving courteously, we hope to teach drivers about the value of driving carefully and courteously.

This information highlights examples of safety precautions you can consider to protect yourself, your family, and your property. This list is not meant to be all-encompassing. Moreover, a particular precaution may not be effective or appropriate in all circumstances. We encourage you to use your own good judgement about what's appropriate.


Related links:
  Road Rage Quiz
  Avoiding Road Rage
  Preventative Measures
  Survey Results
  Tips for Courteous Drivers
  In Case of an Accident
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