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Don't Be So Aggressive

Don't Be So Aggressive

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I am a pretty calm guy. I find that getting worked up about things only tends to make matters worse. That’s not to say I don’t enjoy getting other people riled up, particularly those who are being jerks. One group of folks I especially liked messing with was road-rage drivers. I eventually learned, however, that could be dangerous.

My buddy and I were on our way home from vacation, driving on a two-lane highway with a speed limit of 65 mph. We were traveling about 5 to 10 mph above the speed limit and occasionally passing cars. As luck would have it, traffic on the highway was light, so we were making great time.

We were in the process of passing a motorist traveling in the right-hand lane when a sports car, driven by a man we will call Mr. Sports, approached us from behind and started riding our bumper and swerving left and right. I do not like being tailgated, but I’m not one of those drivers who brake-checks people. I usually just calmly let off the accelerator and slow down until the tailgater backs off.

When I slowed down to get Mr. Sports off my rear, the car in the right lane I’d been passing pulled ahead. Mr. Sports did not like this at all and, instead of giving me space so I could continue my drive in peace, swerved into the right lane, honked his horn and flipped me off. My buddy and I laughed. We decided Mr. Sports was a jerk and it was time to mess with him.

We began playing what I would describe as the speed-up, slow-down game. The game involved us pacing the other car that was in the right lane and then slowly speeding up until Mr. Sports moved back into the fast lane. Then we’d slow down again so the vehicle in the right lane passed us and Mr. Sports changed lanes. The object was to see how many times we could make Mr. Sports switch lanes.

After about the sixth lane change, Mr. Sports looked like he was at his breaking point. I decided he’d had enough and learned his lesson, so I sped up to finally pass the car in the right-hand lane. While waiting to get a safe distance ahead of that car, Mr. Sports sped up, cut over into the slow lane and started to pace me. He had his window down and was yelling at us. We continued to laugh at him, which I think further escalated his road rage. As he projected his anger onto us, we approached another vehicle in the right lane. With Mr. Sports still very much being a jerk, we started the game again. This time, however, we only waited for two lane changes before continuing on our journey.

Once there was enough room between my car and the vehicle in the slow lane, Mr. Sports cut over again. However, there wasn’t enough room behind the next slow-lane vehicle for him to pull in front of us. That’s when he pulled onto the road shoulder and sped past two vehicles to get ahead of us.

Now that he was in the fast lane, Mr. Sports slowed down to pace another car in the right lane in an effort to retaliate. We stayed behind him, leaving the appropriate two-second following distance and laughing our butts off the entire time. Once Mr. Sports decided his efforts were wasted, he sped off. Thankfully, he took the next exit, allowing us to continue our drive home without incident.

Looking back, I realize how foolish it was to antagonize Mr. Sports. We caused a number of dangerous situations — not only for us and Mr. Sports, but also for every other motorist on the road. This situation could have easily caused a multicar accident. Also, we were in Texas, which is a gun-friendly state. For all we knew, Mr. Sports could have had a firearm in his vehicle and used it on us to vent his anger.

I am grateful no one was harmed by our actions that day and have since stopped messing with road ragers. There are too many opportunities for something to go horribly wrong. Stay safe out there.

Road Rage Statistics

According to www.safemotorist.com, the following statistics compiled from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Auto Vantage auto club reveal aggressive driving and road rage cause serious problems on U.S. roadways:

  • 66% of traffic fatalities are caused by aggressive driving.
  • 37% of aggressive driving incidents involve a firearm.
  • Males under the age of 19 are the most likely to exhibit road rage.
  • Half of the drivers who are on the receiving end of an aggressive behavior — such as horn honking, a rude gesture or tailgating — admit to responding with aggressive behavior themselves.
  • Over a seven-year period, 218 murders and 12,610 injuries were attributed to road rage.
  • And one very scary statistic worth noting — 2% of drivers admit to trying to run an aggressor off the road!

According to estimates by the AAA Foundation’s Annual Traffic Safety Culture Index, millions of drivers engaged in the following angry and aggressive behaviors in the 30 days before the survey, including:

  • Aggressive driving by switching lanes quickly or very close behind another car: 26% (57 million drivers)
  • Made rude gestures or honked at other drivers: 32% (71 million drivers)
  • Driven 15 mph over the speed limit on a freeway: 48% (106 million drivers)
  • Driven through a red light: 31% (68 million drivers)
  • Passed in front of a vehicle at less than a car length: 22% (49 million drivers)
  • Sped up when another vehicle tried to overtake you: 25% (55 million drivers)
  • Followed the vehicle in front of you closely to prevent another vehicle from merging in front of you: 34% (75 million drivers)
  • Merged into traffic even when another driver tries to close the gap between vehicles: 28% (62 million drivers)

For more information about aggressive driving and road rage, visit https://www.safemotorist.com/articles/road_rage.aspx.

  • 25 February 2024
  • Author: USACRC Editor
  • Number of views: 236
  • Comments: 0
Categories: Off-DutyPMV-4
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