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The Current Situation of Aggressive Driving and Road Rage


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Title: The Current Situation of Aggressive Driving and Road Rage

The Current Situation of Aggressive Driving and
Road Rage
  • Dale O. Ritzel, Dan V. Shannon,
  • and Paul D. Sarvela
  • Southern Illinois University Carbondale
  • 16 June 1999
  • 32nd ISATA
  • Automotive Ergonomics and Safety
  • Vienna, Austria

Driver Self-Evaluation-Are you a safe driver or a
crash waiting to happen. Think about it.
  • 1. Does your personality change when you get
    behind the wheel of a car?
  • 2. Do you consider speed a matter of personal
  • 3. Do you maintain a safe distance between your
    car and the car in front of you?
  • 4. Do you yield to pedestrians?

  • 5. Do you sometimes follow the car in front of
    you through a red light?
  • 6. Do you sometimes use your horn to vent your
  • 7. Are you aware of the speed limit on
    residential streets in your community?
  • 8. Do you use your turn signal for all turns and
    lane changes?
  • 9. Do you realize that your speed when passing
    should not exceed the posted speed limit?

  • 10. Do you yield and move to the right, if
    necessary, for emergency vehicles as soon as you
    hear their sirens?
  • 11. Do you often speed, run red lights, or weave
    in and out of traffic in order to make your
    appointments on time?
  • 12. Do you sometimes react to other drivers
    mistakes by shouting, screaming, or making rude

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NHTSA Approach to Aggressive Driving and Speeding
  • Problem Driving behaviors likely to endanger
    people or property consist of risky maneuvers
    such as tail-gating and high speed driving.
    Speeding is involved, in 1996, 30 of fatal
    crashes, 12,988 deaths. Speeding was associated
    with 116,000 moderate-to-severe injuries, and
    cost society 28.8 billion that year.

NHTSA Approach
  • Strategy NHTSAs goal is to reduce
    speeding-related fatalities 5 by year 2000.
    Research will study the role of speeding and
    aggressive driving in crashes examine new
    measures against speeding, aggressive driving and
    other unsafe driving acts, and study setting
    speed limits and study road design solutions.

Aggressive Driving Statistics
  • National statistics from 1990-1996 reports a 36
    increase in reckless driving incidents.
  • 12,828 injuries were sustained.
  • 90 cases involved driver driving into a building
    or other property,
  • 322 cases involved domestic violence,

Statistics continued
  • 22 cases the driver snapped and drove into a
    crowd of people,
  • 221 cases drove into police officers killing 48,
  • Majority of reckless drivers were male ages
  • drivers in 86 cases were 50

Survey by EPIC/MRA Lansing
  • One of every 6 Michigan drivers (1million
    driver!!) admitted to driving aggressively on
  • Women accounted for 56 percent of those drivers
    who admitted to moderate or high levels of anger
    and impatience.
  • Women and men were equally likely to act on their

Angry driving - Bad for your Health??
  • A recent British study shows 55 of commuters are
    stressed on their daily drive to and from work.
  • Road stress can drive down your moods and your
    job performance.
  • The longer the commute, the higher the drivers
    blood pressure, along with also an increase in
    illness and job frustration.

  • You may have commuter stress if you
  • Tend to go through red or yellow lights
  • Curse or make obscene gestures
  • Constantly worry about being late
  • You can reduce stress if you
  • Ride with someone else or take public transit
  • Think of your car as a refuge from freeway
  • Listen to relaxing music while driving

A good description of aggressive drivers is
persons that weave in and out of traffic, honk
their horns, run red lights, speeders, and drunk
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Three types of highway incidents that have made
  • Driver harms or kills another driver whose
    driving behavior has provoked him.
  • Two drivers, aggressively racing each other, will
    lose control of their vehicles, colliding with
    other cars, injuring or killing someone.
  • Driver who impulsively takes driving risks
    (passing in no passing zone, going through a red

People involved
  • Are not predators in the usual sense.
  • Dont have history of assaultive behavior
  • Usually recognize that they over-reacted
  • Most are young men under 25, who have had
    personal, social or job setbacks
  • Include many who are wealthy, successful,
    responsible individuals

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Assaults are the tip of an iceberg of increased
aggressive driving behavior
  • Manifested by
  • speeding, tailgating
  • failure to yield right of way
  • lane changes without signalling
  • weaving, cutting in
  • rude, provocative behavior including facial rage,
    obscene gestures, and swearing

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Road Rage- culmination of escalating vigilante
  • 1st degree - single gesture, curse, or grimace
    delivered as punishment.
  • 2nd degree - repeated exchanges of the same,
    together with diminished awareness of other
    sensory input, plus impaired judgement.

Behavior continued
  • 3rd degree - harassing the other driver through
    high beams, tailgating, retarding the progress of
    his vehicle, edging him over, or abruptly
    stopping in front of him, sometimes call highway
  • 4th degree - intentionally injuring the other
    drivers vehicle or person. ROAD RAGE

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What can we do to protect us and our passengers
  • Do not take the other driver personally.
  • Make every attempt to get out of the way.
  • Do not retaliate. Ask yourself, Is it worth my
  • Put your pride in the back seat. Do not
    challenge them by speeding up or attempting to
    hold-your-own in your travel lane.
  • Wear your seat belt. It will hold you in your
    seat and behind the wheel in case you need to
    make an abrupt driving maneuver.

  • Be polite and courteous, even when others are
  • Assume the other driver made a mistake.
  • Avoid eye contact.
  • Ignore gestures and refuse to return them.
  • Report aggressive drivers to the appropriate
    authorities by providing a vehicle description,
    license number, location, identification of
    person, and direction of travel.

  • If you are harassed by another driver and being
    followed, go to the nearest police station. Do
    not drive to your home. Slow down!
  • If you have a cellular phone, and can do it
    safely, call the police.
  • Out think the other driver by controlling your
  • Never underestimate other drivers capacity for
  • Practice patience and keep your cool.

Here are the 6 methods that worked for us
  • We are committed to obeying all traffic signs and
  • We remind ourselves regularly to drive as if we
    are being videotaped on a live TV show with the
    camera and mike right in our car.
  • We keep alive the conviction that driver errors
    be considered from a moral and spiritual point of

6 Methods continued
  • We use self-regulatory sentences to defuse and
    de-dramatize driver exchanges in traffic. If we
    hear ourselves denigrate someone ("Stupid driver!
    Why don't you watch it."), we immediately use
    counter propaganda sentences such as, "Come on,
    be nice. Give the man a break."

6 Methods continued
  • We keep ourselves knowledgeable on the subject
    of driving.
  • We let our wives help us while we are driving.

Some good resources include the following Web
  • Citizens Against Speeding and Aggressive Driving
    - Click on the words to view site.
  • Automobile Association of the United Kingdom -
    Click on the words to view site.
  • U.S. House of Representatives - Click on the
    words to view site.

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Web Sites continued
  • Dr. Driving -Click on words to view site.
  • US News - Click on words to view site.
  • AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety - Click on
    words to view site.

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