When was the last time you found yourself behind the wheel, pressed for time, and stuck behind someone that seems to be on a sight-seeing leisurely drive? What did you do? Did you tailgate? Did you whip around them on a double line before speeding off? The truth is, we’ve all been there. We’ve all been in a hurry to get someplace and either contemplated breaking, or actually broken traffic, laws in order to get there faster. However, another truth is, this can be deadly.
Since the beginning of the year, at least 35 people have died as a result of car crashes in Alaska (Ballard, 2014). Unfortunately, many of these individuals died as a result of either their own or another driver’s aggressive driving. When you hear the words “aggressive driving” you’re first thought might be “road rage”; however, while road rage is an extreme example of aggressive driving, there are many other habits that fall into that category. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration defines aggressive driving as “an individual [who] commits a combination of moving traffic offenses so as to endanger other persons or property”. These actions may include speeding, tailgating, passing without signaling, passing on a double line, horn usage, headlight usage, and many more.
Alaska is making an effort to curb aggressive driving on its roadways and prevent any more aggressive driving related fatalities. The first step in this effort came when The Department of Public Safety released a public service announcement. This PSA video will play statewide. The video states, among other things, “Aggressive driving won’t save you as much time as you may think. For example, driving 10 miles over the speed limit from Potter Marsh to Girdwood will only save you four minutes,” (Ballard, 2014). The overall message of the video is simple, is saving a few minutes really worth risking your life and the lives of others on the roads?
Here are some tips to help you avoid being an aggressive driver:
- Make sure you give yourself plenty of time to get where you’re going or alter your schedule to avoid the times with the most road congestion.
- Try to not drive when you are upset, stressed, or overly tired.
- Give other drivers the benefit of the doubt. For example, don’t believe that every mistake other drivers make is intentional. No one is perfect.
Here are some tips to help you avoid becoming a victim of an aggressive driver:
- Don’t let your pride get the better of you. If another driver flips you off or blares his horn try not to let it rattle or upset you. It is best not to respond with aggressive behavior.
- Don’t hesitate to involve the authorities. If a driver continues to tailgate your or engage in dangerous behavior call the police or 911.
- Be aware of your surroundings so as to avoid dangerous situations.
Aggressive driving is dangerous and, in some cases, fatal. Only education on the matter and changing our driving habits will be able to put a stop to aggressive driving.