CINCINNATI, Oh. (February 11, 2019) -- Many will celebrate Valentine’s Day in February sharing sweet treats and kind sentiments, but drivers are reminded that February is also Aggressive Driving Awareness month. AAA would like to encourage all drivers to share some love along our roadways this month.
Most everyone has been on the receiving end of aggressive driving behavior and it can be quite scary. In fact the AAA Traffic Safety Culture Index released last March found that 91.5 percent of all drivers say that people driving aggressively poses a threat to their personal safety and 68 percent of drivers perceive that aggressive driving is a much bigger or somewhat bigger problem today than it was three years ago.
Aggressive driving is more than honking the horn and gesturing. AAA defines aggressive driving as any unsafe driving behavior, performed deliberately and with ill intention or disregard for safety. Here are some examples:
- Speeding in heavy traffic
- Cutting in front of another driver and then slowing down
- Running red lights
- Weaving in and out of traffic
- Changing lanes without signaling
- Blocking cars attempting to pass or change lanes
- Using headlights or brakes to “punish” other drivers
“Inconsiderate driving, bad traffic and the daily stresses of life can transform minor frustrations into dangerous road rage and aggressive driving behavior,” said Mike Belcuore, manager of the AAA Driving School. “Far too many drivers are losing themselves in the heat of the moment and lashing out in ways that could turn deadly.”
The AAA Traffic Safety Culture Index also found:
- Half of drivers (50.3%) reported driving 15 mph over the speed limit on a freeway and 47.6% reported driving 10 mph over the speed limit on a residential street.
- A large portion of drivers (42.7%) admitted to driving through a stoplight that has just turned red when they could have stopped safely in the past 30 days, despite most drivers (92.9%) viewing it as an unacceptable behavior.
- Nearly 80 percent of drivers expressed significant anger, aggression or road rage behind the wheel at least once in the past year.
- Drivers living in the Midwest were more likely to tailgate or yell angrily than people living in other parts of the country.
Data from the Ohio Department of Public Safety shows that drivers who were emotional (i.e. depressed, angry or disturbed) caused more than 1,700 crashes on Ohio roads in 2017.
The Governors Highway Safety Association issued a report in January which finds that speeding is not given enough attention as a traffic safety issue despite being a factor in nearly one-third of all motor vehicle-related fatalities. Further, it highlights the facts that widespread public acceptance of speeding and lack of risk perception are also underlined as obstacles to reducing speeding-related deaths.
To avoid aggressive driving situations AAA advises managing your behavior and your responses. Most drivers are not thinking about their impact on you; they are just rushed, distracted or upset. AAA recommends that you follow these important rules of the road:
- Maintain adequate following distance
- Use turn signals
- Never cause another driver to change their speed or direction. That means not forcing another driver to use their brakes, or turn the steering wheel in response to something you have done.
- Allow others to merge
- Use high beams responsibly
- Tap your horn if you must (but no long blasts or hand gestures)
- Be considerate in parking lots, parking in one spot, not across multiple spaces. Be careful not to hit the car next to you with your door
- Avoid eye contact with angry drivers
- Don’t respond to aggression with aggression
- If you are confronted stay as calm and courteous as possible
- If you feel threatened call 911
AAA provides automotive, travel, and insurance services to 59 million members nationwide and more than three million members in Ohio. AAA advocates for the safety and mobility of its members and has been committed to outstanding road service for more than 100 years. AAA is a non-stock, non-profit corporation working on behalf of motorists, who can now map a route, find local gas prices, discover discounts, book a hotel, and track their roadside assistance service with the AAA Mobile app (AAA.com/mobile) for iPhone, iPad and Android. For more information, visit www.AAA.com