Traffic Watch: Aggressive Driving

by Alex Carias

A recent survey shows, in 1996, two-thirds of 41,000 vehicular deaths were due to aggressive driving.

Aggressive driving happens many different ways. Drivers can cut you off, tailgate too close, or even pass on the wrong side of the road. Driving in such a way puts every motorist's life at risk and can lead to more serious problems.

"Aggressive driving can then lead to what we call road rage, and that's when they take it out on other vehicles. Either they cause another vehicle to wreck out, or they hit another vehicle, or it can even lead to jumping out of the car, trying to fight somebody, or shooting somebody. Then we're talking about criminal charges," said Department of Public Safety Trooper Greg Sanches.

So how do you avoid provoking an aggressive driver? To diffuse potential road rage, be cautious and considerate. Avoid tailgating, or making inappropriate hand or facial gestures. But if you do encounter an angry driver, officials say do not make matters worse.

"The best thing to do is plan ahead. Take it easy. If you see somebody being aggressive out there, back off and let them go by and report it. We have numbers people can call, and they can call DPS by cell phone. You can report these actions and let the law handle it," added Sanches.

What if you become the aggressive driver? It is normal to become angry by actions caused by other drivers. But before you let your emotions overcome you, remember, you cannot control the actions of those around you.

"Let's say a situation occurs where somebody pulls out in front of you, and it scares you, and then you get angry. Your heart's racing, you're having a lot of physiological feelings, well think," said Licensed Counselor Debra Burton.

It is important to remember that driving is not a race. It is better to take your time and get there safely than not at all.