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Understanding and preventing aggressive driving - Part I

According to a survey compiled by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, 90 percent of respondents consider aggressive motorists to be either a somewhat or a very serious threat to personal safety. This overwhelming statistic seems to indicate that a clear majority of Americans believes that aggressive driving behaviors are dangerous. Yet, according to the same survey, a majority of motorists also admit to engaging in potentially aggressive driving behaviors personally.

How does one reconcile these two pieces of data? While most individuals believe that aggressive driving is dangerous, most individuals choose to engage in aggressive driving behaviors. It is possible that many motorists are unaware of what behaviors are considered to be potentially aggressive. While running a red light is clearly aggressive behavior, some motorists would be surprised to learn that driving 15 mph above the speed limit is considered aggressive.

Aggressive driving behaviors are essentially those behaviors which are unsafe and are committed deliberately with either an intentional or unintentional disregard for safety. This broad definition distinguishes aggressive driving behavior from potentially unsafe motorist behavior that may be necessary for safety purposes, such as cutting off another driver to avoid crashing into a deer which has just jumped into the road. When a deliberately unsafe act is committed with an intent to cause another physical harm, road rage occurs. Although, it is important to note that aggressive behaviors that do not rise to the level of road rage may cause physical harm.

Please check back with our blog next week as we will be continuing our discussion on this important topic in our next post.

Source: AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, “Road Rage: How to Avoid Aggressive Driving,” accessed Feb. 2015

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