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Aggressive Driving and Road Rage: What is going on? Dale O. Ritzel and Dan V. Shannon Center for Injury Control and Worksite Health Promotion Southern.

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Presentation on theme: "Aggressive Driving and Road Rage: What is going on? Dale O. Ritzel and Dan V. Shannon Center for Injury Control and Worksite Health Promotion Southern."— Presentation transcript:

1 Aggressive Driving and Road Rage: What is going on? Dale O. Ritzel and Dan V. Shannon Center for Injury Control and Worksite Health Promotion Southern Illinois University 4 August 1998 42nd Annual ADTSEA Conference

2 Driver Self-Evaluation- Are you a safe driver or a crash waiting to happen. Think about it. 1. Does your personality change when you get behind the wheel of a car? 2. Do you consider speed a matter of personal preference? 3. Do you maintain a safe distance between your car and the car in front of you? 4. Do you yield to pedestrians?

3 5. Do you sometimes follow the car in front of you through a red light? 6. Do you sometimes use your horn to vent your frustration? 7. Are you aware of the speed limit on residential streets in your community? 8. Do you use your turn signal for all turns and lane changes? 9. Do you realize that your speed when passing should not exceed the posted speed limit?

4 10. Do you yield and move to the right, if necessary, for emergency vehicles as soon as you hear their sirens? 11. Do you often speed, run red lights, or weave in and out of traffic in order to make your appointments on time? 12. Do you sometimes react to other drivers’ mistakes by shouting, screaming, or making rude gestures?

5 NHTSA Self-test Are you an Aggressive Driver or a Smooth Operator?


7 NHTSA Approach to Aggressive Driving and Speeding Problem: Driving behaviors likely to endanger people or property consist of risky maneuvers such as tail-gating and high speed driving. Speeding is involved, in 1996, 30% of fatal crashes, 12,988 deaths. Speeding was associated with 116,000 moderate-to-severe injuries, and cost society $28.8 billion that year.

8 NHTSA Approach Strategy: NHTSA’s goal is to reduce speeding-related fatalities 5% by year 2000. Research will study the role of speeding and aggressive driving in crashes; examine new measures against speeding, aggressive driving and other unsafe driving acts, and study setting speed limits and study road design solutions.

9 Aggressive Driving Statistics National statistics from 1990-1996 reports a 36% increase in reckless driving incidents. 12,828 injuries were sustained. 90 cases involved driver driving into a building or other property, 322 cases involved domestic violence,

10 Statistics continued 22 cases the driver snapped and drove into a crowd of people, 221 cases drove into police officers killing 48, Majority of reckless drivers were male ages 18-26, drivers in 86 cases were 50+

11 Survey by EPIC/MRA Lansing One of every 6 Michigan drivers (1million driver!!) admitted to driving aggressively on occasion. Women accounted for 56 percent of those drivers who admitted to moderate or high levels of anger and impatience. Women and men were equally likely to act on their anger.

12 Angry driving - Bad for your Health?? A recent British study shows 55% of commuters are stressed on their daily drive to and from work. Road stress can drive down your moods and your job performance. The longer the commute, the higher the driver’s blood pressure, along with also an increase in illness and job frustration.

13 You may have commuter stress if you: –Tend to go through red or yellow lights –Curse or make obscene gestures –Constantly worry about being late You can reduce stress if you: –Ride with someone else or take public transit –Think of your car as a refuge from freeway frenzy –Listen to relaxing music while driving

14 A good description of aggressive drivers is “persons that weave in and out of traffic, honk their horns, run red lights, speeders, and drunk drivers


16 Three types of highway incidents that have made headlines Driver harms or kills another driver whose driving behavior has provoked him. Two drivers, aggressively racing each other, will lose control of their vehicles, colliding with other cars, injuring or killing someone. Driver who impulsively takes driving risks (passing in no passing zone, going through a red light).

17 People involved Are not predators in the usual sense. Don’t have history of assaultive behavior Usually recognize that they over-reacted Most are young men under 25, who have had personal, social or job setbacks Include many who are wealthy, successful, responsible individuals


19 Assaults are the tip of an iceberg of increased aggressive driving behavior Manifested by: –speeding, tailgating –failure to yield right of way –lane changes without signalling –weaving, cutting in –rude, provocative behavior including facial rage, obscene gestures, and swearing


21 Road Rage- culmination of escalating vigilante behavior 1st degree - single gesture, curse, or grimace delivered as punishment. 2nd degree - repeated exchanges of the same, together with diminished awareness of other sensory input, plus impaired judgement.

22 Behavior continued 3rd degree - harassing the other driver through high beams, tailgating, retarding the progress of his vehicle, edging him over, or abruptly stopping in front of him, sometimes call “highway madness.” 4th degree - intentionally injuring the other driver’s vehicle or person. “ROAD RAGE”


24 What can we do to protect us and our passengers

25 Do not take the other driver personally. Make every attempt to get out of the way. Do not retaliate. Ask yourself, “Is it worth my life?” Put your pride in the back seat. Do not challenge them by speeding up or attempting to hold-your-own in your travel lane. Wear your seat belt. It will hold you in your seat and behind the wheel in case you need to make an abrupt driving maneuver.

26 Be polite and courteous, even when others are not. Assume the other driver made a mistake. Avoid eye contact. Ignore gestures and refuse to return them. Report aggressive drivers to the appropriate authorities by providing a vehicle description, license number, location, identification of person, and direction of travel.

27 If you are harassed by another driver and being followed, go to the nearest police station. Do not drive to your home. Slow down! If you have a cellular phone, and can do it safely, call the police. Out think the other driver by controlling your aggression. Never underestimate other drivers’ capacity for mayhem Practice patience and keep your cool.

28 Here are the 6 methods that worked for us We are committed to obeying all traffic signs and regulations. We remind ourselves regularly to drive as if we are being videotaped on a live TV show with the camera and mike right in our car. We keep alive the conviction that driver errors be considered from a moral and spiritual point of view.

29 6 Methods continued We use self-regulatory sentences to defuse and de-dramatize driver exchanges in traffic. If we hear ourselves denigrate someone ("Stupid driver! Why don't you watch it."), we immediately use counter propaganda sentences such as, "Come on, be nice. Give the man a break."

30 6 Methods continued We keep ourselves knowledgeable on the subject of driving. We let our wives help us while we are driving.

31 Some good resources include the following Web sites Citizens Against Speeding and Aggressive Driving - Automobile Association of the United Kingdom - U.S. House of Representatives - rans/hpw105-34.000/hpw105-34_0.htm




35 Web Sites continued Dr. Driving - US News - driv.htm AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety - red.htm




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