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Road Rage: How to Protect Yourself

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By Samuetta Hill Drew

Aggressive driving practices have played a major role in an estimated 66 percent of all fatal car accidents in America.  In many of these vehicular fatalities, road rage was a significant factor.  Many drivers are unaware that road rage is actually a criminal offense because it is considered a “violent criminal act involving an intention to cause physical harm.”

Out of 10, 000 road rage incidents committed over a seven-year span, there were 218 deaths and 12, 610 injuries recorded.  Road rage can actually be classified as one of those preventable accidents. So how does one prevent being involved in this type of potentially violent driving encounter?  It begins with the understanding of the common reasons drivers experience road rage and how to best diffuse them.

In an aggressive driving survey, drivers were asked what driving behaviors angered them the most.  A majority of them listed the following driving behaviors:

Being cut off ranked high.  A safety solution is to make sure when you cross into another lane you signal first to indicate your intention.  If you accidentally cut someone off, try to apologize to the other driver by using an appropriate gesture.

Tailgating makes some drivers very angry.  Driving too closely isn’t a safe driving practice.  If someone is tailgating you, simply move over and allow the driver to pass.  Being a courteous driver is always a good practice.

Driving too slow in the left lane annoys some drivers.  Even if you’re driving the legal speed limit, be courteous again and move to the right lane which is designated for slower drivers.

A negative hand gesture upsets the average driver.  Avoid giving anyone the finger or any other negative gestures even if you’re in the right.  Driving is not a contest so don’t get caught up in a “winning” attitude.  Driving safely to your destinations and back home should be your primary goal.

Fighting over a parking space is another behavior listed.  Usually there are several empty parking spaces on a lot, but the average American seeks the ones closest to the store or building.  Try to make a habit of selecting an empty parking space a little further from the building and think of it as an opportunity to get more exercise.

Excessive honking the car horn often angers some people.  Remember just because someone doesn’t zoom off three seconds after the light changes doesn’t mean you should begin honking your horn.  Be a little more patient.

It is recommended that you allow more time for your trips instead of engaging in “making good time.”  You are less tense.  Listen to music while you’re driving, relax, stay alert and enjoy the driving experience by always Keeping an Eye on Safety.