Are you an Aggressive Driver or a Smooth Operator?
These are the most dangerous, aggressive driving behaviors. The fact is, most drivers drive this way at times. Anytime you become selfish, bold or pushy in your vehicle, you stop respecting the rights and safety of other drivers and pedestrians.
The Smooth Operator programs is a public safety initiative providing solutions for the problem of aggressive driving.
Aggressive driving is defined as a combination of unsafe and unlawful driving actions, which demonstrate a conscious and willful disregard for safety. Aggressive driving includes such offenses as tailgating, unsafe lane changes, speeding, running red lights and stop signs, following too closely, improper passing and failing to yield the right of way.
Motorists in the Washington area rated aggressive driving as the number one threat to highway safety, according to the AAA Mid-Atlantic Transportation Poll 2003. About 43 percent of drivers are more concerned about tailgating, speeding, rage while driving, and reckless driving maneuvers more than any other danger.
In fact, nearly eight out of 10 motorists say aggressive drivers are a greater danger than terrorists.
It seems as though aggressive driving has been around since cars hit the roadways. In 1915, it was noted in Engleman's Autocraft, that "some automobiles abuse their rights and heedlessly run over the rights of others."
And, 22 years later a textbook recommended drivers to "control the desire to beat or get ahead of the other fellow … A good driver never permits himself to become angry. Anger frustrates good judgment."
In 1978, a Los Angeles police psychologist told The Chicago Tribune that "people are beginning to lose control … They get frustrated at the stack-ups on our freeways, they get angry at other inconsiderate drivers, and their tolerance level overflows. They explode. Their car becomes a weapon, and they strike out."
These are the most dangerous aggressive driving behaviors. The fact is, most motorists drive this way at times. Anytime you become selfish, irritated, bold or pushy in your vehicle, you stop respecting the rights and safety of other drivers and pedestrians.
*Research conducted for the Smooth Operator Program of DC, Maryland and Virginia by Riter Research Inc.
Typically, aggressive driving involves excessive speeding. Speeding is one of the most common causes associated with crashes, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. It is a factor in 31 percent of all fatal crashes, killing about 1,000 people in the U.S. every month.
In 2002, more than 13,000 people were killed in crashes involving speed, according to NHTSA.
In 2003, more than half of the traffic-related fatalities in Washington involved excess speed. Of the nearly 3,200 (3,183) aggressive driving-related crashes in Maryland in 2003, less than 700 (691) drivers walked away physically unharmed.
Running red lights and disobeying other traffic controls like stop signs are the most frequently reported types of crashes. Red light runners are more than three times as likely to have multiple speeding convictions on their driver record, according to research from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
Every year more than 900 people die and nearly 200,000 are injured in crashes involving red light running. Nearly half of the deaths are pedestrians and occupants in other vehicles who are hit by the red light runner, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
* Research conducted for the Smooth Operator Program of DC, Maryland and Virginia by Riter Research Inc.
Crowded roads encourage aggressive driving. Fender-benders, potholes, rain and sun glare compound the problem and can cause chain reactions.
Road congestion, while pointed to as one of the major contributors to aggressive driving, also seems to be longstanding. The 1951 traffic manual points put that "since 1910, the number of motor vehicles has increased by over 2,000 percent, but new road construction for the same period has been less than 3 percent. This, in a nutshell, is the problem!"
Impatience, hurrying, stress, and irritation at something totally unrelated to driving - these are all major factors leading to unsafe driving behavior. It endangers, infuriates, and antagonizes other drivers. When frustration and anger levels get high, concern for fellow motorists becomes low.
Aggressive driving is highly communicable. When you watch another driver's offensive manners on the road, or see them get away with outrageous violations of the law, it can ignite your temper and convince you that you, too, can drive with impunity.
If you react to an aggressive driver, you become part of the problem. Unsafe behavior has a domino affect, passing from car-to-car down the road.
Additionally, when you drive aggressively with children in the vehicle, you teach them to drive like you do, even before they have a driver's license. Kids learn by example. They're always watching and learning.
HOW TO AVOID BEING AN AGGRESSIVE DRIVER-
HOW TO AVOID AGGRESSIVE DRIVERS-