February 11, 2019 - -Even though Valentine’s Day puts a focus on kindness, smiles and loving sentiments, AAA research shows that many admit to the opposite when it comes to driving. Since February is also Aggressive Driving Awareness month, AAA Oklahoma urges drivers to work to improve the kindness shown on our roadways.
“Being on the receiving end of aggressive driving can be quite scary,” said Leslie Gamble, AAA Oklahoma spokesperson. The AAA Traffic Safety Culture Index released last March found that 91.5 percent of all drivers say that people driving aggressively pose 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.
Also revealed in the Index:
- 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.
- 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.
- Nearly 80 percent of drivers expressed significant anger, aggression or road rage behind the wheel at least once in the past year.
“Aggressive driving goes beyond honking the horn and gesturing,” Gamble said. It includes all unsafe driving behavior, performed deliberately and with ill intention or disregard for safety, such as
- 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
In January, The Governors Highway Safety Association’s reported 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. “This highlights how widespread public acceptance of speeding and lack of risk perception are obstacles to reducing speeding-related deaths,” Gamble said.
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.
- Turn off high beams when there is oncoming traffic.
- 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.