Road Rage and Excuses

Which of the following are excuses used by people who committed murder as a result of road rage?

  1. “He cut me off on the highway.”
  2. “She was only driving the posted speed limit of 25 miles per hour.”
  3. “He wouldn’t turn off his high beams.”

ANSWERAll of these are actual excuses offered by people who killed others in road-rage incidents, and are documented in news stories of specific road-rage incidents.


Aggressive Driving vs. Road Rage

Is road rage the same thing as aggressive driving?

How do you define each term?

There is a difference.

  • Aggressive driving is a traffic offense; road rage is a criminal offense.
  • Road rage is defined as “an assault with a motor vehicle or other dangerous weapon by the operator or passenger(s) of another motor vehicle or an assault precipitated by an incident that occurred on a roadway.”
  • Road rage is characterized by willful and wanton disregard for the safety of others.

The Cure for Multi-lane Changers!

Aggressive drivers often swerve across multiple lanes at once, instead of moving over lane by lane, one at a time.

  • Have you ever done that when in a rush, or when you realized you’re about to miss an exit?
  • Want to be cured of that habit?

Watch this…these two minutes will forever change how you change lanes!





What Contributes to Aggressive Driving?

What factors contribute to aggressive drivers’ behavior?

  • Take 60 seconds to list all reasons you can think of for a driver to behave aggressively.

Three factors can contribute to aggressive driving behavior on Texas roads.

ONE. Lack of responsible driving behavior

  • On the road, the focus often is on individual rights and freedom, not on responsibility to other people with whom we share the road.

TWO. Reduced levels of enforcement

  • During tougher economic times many jurisdictions tend to cut back on traffic enforcement due to budget constraints.

THREE. More travel and congestion, especially in urban areas

  • From 2002 through 2013, the number of miles driven in the United States has increased by 5%, while the number of miles of available roads has increased only by 2.5%.
  • Some motorists find themselves responding to the frustrations of driving in high-density traffic areas by acting aggressively.

Tip Sheet: When Confronted by Aggressive Drivers

When confronted by aggressive drivers…

  • First and foremost make every attempt to get out of their way.
  • 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 it hold you in your seat and behind the wheel in case you need to make an abrupt driving maneuver, and it will protect you in a crash.
  • 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, and if possible, direction of travel. Obviously only do this if you can do it safely while pulled over, or ask a passenger in your car to make the call. Many states or cities have special numbers to call for roadway emergencies (e.g. 9-1-1 or #77).
  • If an aggressive driver is involved in a crash, stop a safe distance from the crash scene, wait for the police to arrive and report the driving behavior that you witnessed.

Source: Consumer Healthday




How to Recognize Aggressive Driving

What is Aggressive Driving?

  • In 60 seconds, list as many driving behaviors as you can that you would consider “aggressive.” Maybe you even encountered some while driving today!

How many of the following behaviors match your list?

Aggressive driving behaviors can include:

  • Speeding
  • Drag racing on public streets
  • Frequent and unnecessary lane changes
  • Tailgating
  • Running red or yellow lights
  • Cutting off other drivers
  • Angry gesturing or yelling at other drivers
  • Ignoring posted traffic signs or barriers, such as yield signs or lowered railway crossing gates

While all of these are dangerous behaviors, which one has NHTSA called “one of the most dangerous forms of aggressive driving”?

Answer. Running a red light.


Daredevil Dave

Daredevil Dave - Aggressive Driver

Listen to this conversation between Dave and his passenger.

  • Does Daredevil Dave’s story or parts of it sound like anyone you know?
  • How would you define aggressive driving?
    • The prototype of an aggressive driver can be all over the map, from a mom who is late for her children’s soccer game, to a person who habitually takes their anger out on the road.
    • Aggressive drivers do not fit a common profile. They include all backgrounds: male, female, wealthy, poor, college graduate or school dropout.