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Understanding and preventing aggressive driving - Part II

Last week, we began a discussion about aggressive driving. We noted that aggressive driving behaviors are considered to be any behaviors which are unsafe and are committed both deliberately and with a disregard for safety. It is important to note that this disregard for safety may be unintentional. Many Americans are familiar with the concept of road rage, in which an individual intentionally tries to commit bodily harm by engaging in dangerous driving behaviors. Most motorists would never engage in road rage. However, a surprising number of American motorists engage in aggressive driving behaviors on a regular basis.

It is imperative to understand the distinction between road rage and aggressive driving when attempting to prevent aggressive driving behaviors. Most motorists would certainly condemn individuals who try to cause others bodily harm by driving dangerously. But would you condemn another driver for driving 15 mph over the posted speed limit? Would you condemn yourself for doing so?

To prevent yourself from driving aggressively and increasing the risk that you will cause an accident, it is important to understand your own tendencies towards aggressive driving behavior. When you speed or otherwise make dangerous driving moves that disregard your own safety and the safety of others, what inspires you to do so? Are you speeding because you are late? Are you texting while behind the wheel because you are preoccupied with something?

You cannot always leave the house early enough to avoid feeling rushed. And you cannot always calm your mind down in ways that allow you to remain completely focused on the task of driving. However, you can recognize your own aggressive driving patterns and attempt to mitigate them and remain conscious of how your behavior is increasing the risk of an accident occurring.

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

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