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Thread: Danger Zone

  1. Default Danger Zone

    How to handle a motorist with road rage -- and keep your own anger in check

    Encountering crazed drivers has, sadly, become a regular occurrence, and that's making the roadways more perilous. Raging drivers - in four-wheelers as well as trucks - exhibit aggressive and reckless driving behavior that endangers themselves and others. In the anonymity of their vehicles, they take out their frustration, impatience and irritability on other drivers by harassing them without any concern for others on the road.

    They speed, follow other vehicles too closely, fail to yield, weave in and out of traffic frequently or abruptly without signaling, pass on the right or the shoulder, run stop signs and red lights. And they frequently make rude hand and facial gestures, scream, honk and flash their lights.

    In extreme cases, crazed drivers' aggression turns into road rage, a situation wherein a driver deliberately tries to harm another as a way to punish them for highway slights. Such altercations on the roadway put the safety of those two drivers and others in jeopardy. Road rage can end in collisions and senseless personal attacks.

    Despite what you might think, there is no typical aggressive driver. It runs the gamut of society - from young males to soccer moms to successful businessmen. What's more, research by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) shows the "incidents that lead to aggressive driving behavior are often trivial in nature, and not something you might think would cause the explosions that characterize road rage."

    The agency reports, "Violent traffic disputes are rarely the result of a single incident. Rather, they are the cumulative result of a long series of stressors in the driver's life. The traffic incident that turns violent is often the 'last straw.' "

    The NHTSA has identified three key factors that are linked to aggressive driving:

    Lack of responsible driving behavior

    On the road, the focus is often on individual rights and freedom - a "me first" philosophy - rather than acknowledging a responsibility to share the road. Driving should be cooperative, not a competitive sport.

    Reduced levels of enforcement

    The perceived risk of being apprehended for a traffic violation is directly related to the level of traffic enforcement. Unfortunately, many jurisdictions have cut back on traffic enforcement because of budget constraints.

    More travel/congestion

    Since 1987, the number of miles driven in the U.S. has increased at least 35 percent, while the number of miles of available roads has increased only 1 percent. Drivers often respond to the frustrations of driving in high-density traffic areas by driving and acting aggressively.

    It's common knowledge that unsafe driving behaviors lead to accidents, which in turn leads to lost productivity and wages, repair costs and higher insurance rates. But few drivers and companies consider the costs that come from higher fuel, tire and maintenance costs.

    Crazed drivers tend to push their vehicles. They accelerate hard, wasting fuel and placing additional stresses on the drivetrain. They speed and weave, which also drives up fuel consumption and increases suspension and tire wear. And they tailgate, leading to heavy brake application, and faster wear-out of brake systems and tires.

    When confronted by an aggressive driver, don't challenge them, since that can make matters worse. Never underestimate another driver's potential for dangerous behavior. Even at the worst provocations, remember:

    . Stay calm and relaxed.

    . Avoid eye contact.

    . Steer clear and make every attempt to get out of the aggressive driver's way.

    . Use your horn sparingly.

    . Ignore inappropriate hand or facial gestures and do not return them.

    . Resist any attempts by an aggressive driver to engage you verbally.

    . If you can do it safely, call local law enforcement to report aggressive driving. Provide them with a vehicle description, license number, location and direction of travel.

    In other words, be sane and be safe.

    Checking your own road rage

    . When someone cuts you off in traffic or doesn't signal their intention, do you become angry and agitated? Officials recommend that you try and convince yourself that the driver did not do it deliberately. A driver doesn't usually make an error to purposely upset another driver.

    . Do you respond to another driver's "stupid move" with anger? This can result in the other driver seizing on your action and going one better, creating even more rage and leading to a dangerous road confrontation.

    . Perhaps you are one of the courteous few who merged into the proper lane upon seeing a warning sign announcing a lane closing ahead. You sit there creeping along the while other vehicles are zooming by in the soon-to-be closed lane and cutting in front of you. Do you speed up to close the gap between your vehicle and the one ahead? Do you block both lanes?

    . When you are on the road, always keep the Golden Rule in mind: "Treat others the way you want to be treated." Courteous driving encourages other drivers to be courteous. Crazed driving influences others on the road to drive aggressively as well.

    By David A. Kolman

  2. #2

    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    London, Ontario

    Default Re: Danger Zone

    Excellent article as it pertains to everyone!

  3. #3

    Join Date
    Jun 2008

    Default Re: Danger Zone

    Lots of good advise, thanks Harry. Even some of the most highly educated individuals exhibit over aggressive tendencies. A person can be book smart yet lack any degree of common sense.

  4. #4

    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Fort St John, BC

    Default Re: Danger Zone

    What if you pull out your Glock 9 and bust a cap in his azz?

    All joking aside...good article.

  5. #5

    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Vancouver Island, BC

    Default Re: Danger Zone

    Good advise Harry.

    Whenever someone causes me to stand on the brakes or take evasive action and makes me want to whip out the S&W I think of a joke a fellow driver told me on the UHF while running up I5.

    "What's the difference between a cactus and a BMW?"

    "With a cactus the prick is on the outside."

    Makes me smile and defuses the road rage. You can substitute any other vehicle for a BMW and I apologize to any BMW owners here.

    One of the good things about living in a small community is when I don't know what I'm doing, someone else does.

  6. #6

    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Southern Ontario

    Default Re: Danger Zone

    BB and I have likely seen the worst kind of road rage. People put the 4 wheeler in the ditch just before the plow we're driving goes by!!! Ouch!! Don't know about BB but I get told I'm number 1 alot! At least I think that's what that finger means!!!
    I'm not perfect!-FLHT Ron 2010

  7. #7

    Join Date
    Nov 2006

    Talking Re: Danger Zone

    Quote Originally Posted by FLHT Ron View Post
    BB and I have likely seen the worst kind of road rage. People put the 4 wheeler in the ditch just before the plow we're driving goes by!!! Ouch!! Don't know about BB but I get told I'm number 1 alot! At least I think that's what that finger means!!!
    No...not that....just flashing a fresh booger that they just picked.
    I thought I had made a mistake until I realised that it was just an error.

  8. #8

    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Mt. Thom, BC

    Default Re: Danger Zone

    Quote Originally Posted by Bookworm View Post
    Great article Harry, now if we can get all the drivers to read it we could make a difference
    Never happen. Can't get anything into a mind that's full...

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