There are over 225 million drivers in the U.S., sharing the road in a variety of vehicles from sedans and convertibles to SUVs, delivery trucks, motorhomes, motorcycles, and more.
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California has the most licensed drivers, followed by Texas, with Florida coming in at third place with 14.6 million licensed drivers. With so many drivers nationwide, and over 45,000 vehicles sold daily, it’s no wonder driving safety is a top concern.
84.6% of Americans have a driver’s license
Aggressive driving is a deliberate unsafe behavior
A recent study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety reported that 80% of drivers expressed significant anger, aggression or road rage behind the wheel at least once in the previous year. Accelerating rapidly, tailgating, yelling, cutting someone off on the road, and running a red light are all behavior of aggressive drivers.
According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, potentially aggressive actions – such as tailgating, erratic lane changing, or illegal passing – are a factor in up to 56% of fatal crashes
Don’t engage or offend, even if the other driver does
All drivers are human, so remember that the person in the vehicle next to you may be dealing with something you’re not aware of. They may have an emergency they need to attend to fast. They may have just had a huge argument with their boss. They may be taking the highway for the first time, and feel a little nervous. Just make sure to always give yourself room on the road and always use turn signals to show your intention to all drivers.
According to GasBuddy, Friday is the most aggressive driving day of the week, with Wednesday being the least
If someone cuts you off for example, slow down and give them the room they need. They may be wrong, they may drive aggressively, but the important thing is that you remain safe and let them pass.
SEE ALSO: HOW TO SAFELY SHARE THE ROAD WITH MOTORCYCLES
If you decide to engage, the other driver’s mood can escalate. Do not show them any signs of anger, and steer clear of cursing, yelling, or offending them with hand gestures. Just be on your safe way to your destination. Never stop on the side of the road with other the driver to engage in conversation or fight.
Avoid eye contact with aggressive driver
If the other driver is already angry, the last thing you want to do is look them straight in the eyes. What you want to do it make the situation as impersonal as possible, so just look in front of you, and keep your hands on the wheel.
Male and younger drivers ages 19-39 were significantly more likely to engage in aggressive behaviors
Let the other driver pass, even when they don’t respect the speed limit
The speed limit may say 55 mph, but the other driver in the sports car next to you wants to show off the performance of their vehicle. Let them! Slow down, let them speed up and /or move over. Don’t forget, may states require drivers to use the far left lane for passing, so you may encounter this type of aggressive driving in the left lane.
If someone is driving too closely to you, stay calm behind the wheel and don’t get anxious. Don’t hit the brakes suddenly, instead get out of the way safely. Move to another lane by putting your turn signals on. If you can’t move to your right or left, check if the road in front of you is clear. If it is, then gradually speed up a bit, but still remain within speed limit. Remember, no eye contact with tailgater.
SEE ALSO: STAYING SAFE WHEN SOMEONE IS TAILGATING YOU
Over 100 million drivers in America intentionally tailgate other drivers
Keep your hands on the steering wheel
Rude gestures and actions such as honking excessively are common with aggressive driving, whether it’s the middle finger, the pulling-you-own-hair out gesture, or the who-taught-you-how-to-drive look. Get into the habit of keeping both hands on the wheel while driving, this will help you think twice before engaging in rude gestures. Don’t shake your head, don’t express any irritation whatsoever. Don’t forget, an aggressive driver has a temper. Your safety should come first.