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Frustrated with traffic

July 13, 2012
The Daily News

Are you hot, tired, and frustrated in traffic?

Are you in a hurry to get to your camp for weekend, so you can finally relax?

And what's taking those road construction workers?

Aren't they done yet?

Don't you feel like running down all those other stupid drivers so you can get there - now?

Take some good advice from the experts. Don't take it out on other drivers - no matter how much you want to. The results could be fatal.

Road rage is still very much a part of the nation's transportation system.

Don't become part of the game.

Sure, you're hot, tired and you want to get home, but one stupid error in judgment could cost you your life, or the lives of innocent bystanders.

Aggressive driving has been identified by the public as the No. 1 problem on the nation's roadways.

High-profile cases resulting in death and serious injury appear in news reports all too regularly.

A recent study by the American Automobile Association Foundation for Traffic Safety found that aggressive driving is increasing.

Current strategies aimed at identifying and dealing with aggressive drivers are top public policy priorities.

The U.S. Department of Transportation has ranked aggressive driving as a major highway safety issue - along with drunken driving and seat-belt use.

What is aggressive driving?

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration defines aggressive driving as operation of a motor vehicle that endangers or is likely to endanger people or property. Aggressive driving is a traffic offense.

What is road rage?

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration defines road rage as assault with a motor vehicle or other dangerous weapon by the operator or passenger(s) of one motor vehicle or the operator or passenger(s) of another motor vehicle(s) precipitated by an incident which occurred on a roadway. Road rage is a criminal offense.

What are some violations commonly committed by the aggressive driver?

Speeding, following too closely, changing lanes without caution or signaling, failure to keep right, failure to obey traffic signals, driving to the left of center, driving on the shoulder, and failure to yield the right-of-way.

What factors are linked to aggressive driving?

Some of the factors linked to aggressive driving include:

- Ignorance.

- Lack of responsible behavior.

- Reduced levels of traffic enforcement.

- Increased congestion and travel in urban areas. A recent Federal Highway Administration study of 50 metropolitan areas found that almost 70 percent of urban freeways today are congested during rush hour - as opposed to 55 percent in 1983.

What should you do when confronted by an aggressive driver?

You should:

- First and foremost make every attempt to get out of his or her way.

- Put your pride in the back seat. Do not challenge him or her by speeding up or attempting to "hold-your-own" in your travel lane.

- Wear your seat belt. It will it hold you in your seat and behind the wheel in case you need to make an abrupt driving maneuver, and it will protect you in a crash.

- Avoid eye contact.

- Ignore the hand gestures of universal ill-will, and refuse to return them.

- Report aggressive drivers to the appropriate authorities by providing a vehicle description, license number, location, and if possible, direction of travel (once you are safe).

- If you have a cell phone, and can do it safely, call the police.

- If an aggressive driver is involved in a crash farther down the road, stop a safe distance from the crash scene, wait for the police to arrive and report the driving behavior that you witnessed.

What preventive steps can be taken to avoid becoming the victim of an aggressive driver?

You should:

- Always merge with plenty of room. Never "cut" people off.

- If you are in the left lane and someone wants to pass, let them - even if you are going the speed limit.

- Never use obscene gestures.

- Drive defensively.



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