clock May 13, 2016 comments No Comments flowchart Automobile InsuranceOur Blog tag Providence RIRhode IslandSafety

angry child driving a go cart

RI road rage and aggressive drivers are far too common and road rage is escalating nationwide.

You may even be guilty of a curse, stare down at the next traffic light, or even a fist shake directed at some inconsiderate driver. However, the next time you’re tempted to react when someone cuts you off, fails to signal, or hogs the fast lane – think twice. These National Highway Traffic Safety Administration statistics provide ample reasons not to react in an effort to reduce RI road rage.

Dangerous or deadly – Over 12,000 injuries occurred during road rage incidents, and about 7% of these involve firearms. Over 7 years, 200 murders were a direct result of road rage.

Expect a reaction – If you approach another driver aggressively, you can expect half will react in a similar manner. They may react violently and without restraint, too. About 2% of people may also try to run you off the road if you tailgate, lay on the horn, cut you off, or behave aggressively towards you.

It’s very common – More than half of all male drivers state they deal with road rage every day. Women encounter it 44 percent of their time behind the wheel. The AAA estimates that road rage incidents rise 7 percent annually. You’re probably correct in assuming that RI road rage is also on the rise.

Most drivers commute – A whopping 90% of people commute for work and many live in large cities. A third of commuters in large cities spend over 40 hours a year stewing behind the wheel in traffic snarls.

Road rage and aggressive driving aren’t going away. Statistics show you’re more likely to encounter it, so here’s how to stay safe.

Drive Responsibly

Driving responsibly decreases errors and the chances of angering others. If you tailgate, speed, fail to yield or lane hop, you are more likely to get negative reactions.

Irresponsible driving also increases your probability of an accident, injury, or even death. According to The US Department of Public Safety, tailgating and speeding are two top reasons for serious collisions. Try to maintain one car length of distance for every 10 mph. Of course, this isn’t always possible in heavy traffic, but you should be able to see the bottom of the rear tires of the vehicle ahead of you.

Don’t Slow Down or Speed Up

It’s hard not to accelerate when someone’s riding your bumper and flashing their headlights, but resist the temptation. If you’re in the passing lane, put on your right signal and let them know that you’ll move over when it’s safe to do so. Don’t slow down, because you’ll irritate the driver even more and congest traffic.

Avoid Using The Horn

Your horn can help you avoid accidents, but if you use it improperly, you’ll probably anger drivers. There’s really no point in blowing the horn at someone who fails to yield or cuts you off – it’s done. If you need to use the horn, one short beep is sufficient. Otherwise, you’ll stress out the driver or other drivers around you and stress triggers road rage.

Be Courteous

In recent years, many drivers seem to have forgotten the purpose of turn signals. They do not indicate where they’re going or they do so at the last minute. Still more drivers rely on their mirrors and fail to shoulder check before switching lanes. Since many mirrors distort distances, vehicles are often closer than they seem. Switching lanes too closely startles the other driver and they may need to brake to avoid a collision.

In dense areas, like downtown during rush hour, lane blockages, accidents, and traffic backups aren’t unusual. Ignoring merging vehicles or failing to yield is an excellent way to heat things up.

Avoid Gestures

It’s hard not to react when someone cuts you off or does something incredibly inconsiderate. The problem is that you do not know the state of mind of the driver and that one inappropriate gesture could be enough to set them off.

Even good drivers make mistakes sometimes, but retaliating won’t undo what’s done. You can’t “educate” another driver. If you do something wrong, show the other driver you’re sorry. Little gestures can diffuse potentially dangerous situations. If they’re pursuing you, don’t make eye contact.

Stay Safe

If someone is acting aggressively towards you, do not drive home. Pull into a well-lit public area or drive to the nearest police station. Stay in your car and lock the doors.

If you follow these tips, you’re less likely to enrage other drivers and more likely to enjoy some worry-free time behind the wheel. Peaceful road trips start and end with a peaceful state of mind. Do your part to help reduce RI road rage.

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