The New Year is a time for new beginnings, a time to break bad habits and start the year off right. Most New Years resolutions revolve around the desire to quit smoking, start a diet or exercise but……. what about changing bad driving behaviors?
According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, “56% of fatal crashes involve one or more unsafe driving behavior typically associated with aggressive driving.” Aggressive driving is any unsafe driving behavior, performed deliberately and with disregard for safety, such as: tailgating, illegal lane change, passing on the road shoulder, operating a vehicle in a reckless manner, failure to yield or obey traffic signs (run red lights), failure to signal, driving too fast for conditions or above posted speed limit and racing.
Aggressive driving can escalate into road rage, which is “an assault with a motor vehicle or other dangerous weapon by the operator or passenger(s) of another motor vehicle or an assault precipitated by an incident that occurred on a roadway.” Aggressive driving is a traffic offense but road rage is a criminal offense.
Tips to Avoid becoming an Aggressive Driver:
Plan ahead: Allow yourself extra time to get where you’re going.
Concentrate. Don’t become distracted by talking on your cell phone, eating, drinking or putting on makeup.
Relax. Tune the radio to your favorite relaxing music. Music can calm your nerves.
Drive the Posted Speed Limit. Fewer crashes occur when vehicles are travelling at or about the same speed.
Identify Alternate Routes. Even if it looks longer on paper, you may find it is less congested.
Use Public Transportation. Public transportation can give you some much-needed relief from life behind the wheel.
When Confronted by an Aggressive Driver:
Get Out of the Way.
Put Your Pride Aside. Do not challenge them by speeding up or attempting to hold-your-own in your travel lane.
Avoid Eye Contact. Eye contact can sometimes enrage an aggressive driver.
Gestures. Ignore gestures and refuse to return them.
Report Serious Aggressive Driving. In Colorado, dial *277 to report an aggressive driver.
For more information on aggressive driving and/or road rage, please contact DRIVE SMART COLORADO at 719-444-7534.