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City Marshal/Police

Posted on: September 29, 2017

UNDERSTANDING AND AVOIDING ROAD RAGE

Whether you have witnessed others, been a victim yourself, or even caught yourself getting angry over another’s driving, you probably have experienced “Road Rage.”  What driver hasn’t experienced emotions when another driver does something that affects the smooth and tranquil drive to their destination?

Although it’s not always this dramatic or violent, it’s often intense. Many drivers have witnessed another motorist dangerously tailgating, swerving through traffic at high speed, or gesturing rudely at others on the road. Some drivers have even felt a surge of anger after being cut off or having another driver take a parking space they’d been patiently waiting for.

“Road Rage”, also known as Aggressive Driving, is defined as a driver who commits a combination of traffic offenses so as to endanger other persons or property.  NHTSA reports that “Road Rage”, emerged as a term to summarize a driver exhibiting angry and violent behaviors.  To further explain, aggressive driving often involves traffic infractions which are civil in nature.  “Road Rage” is the extreme version of aggressive driving and may involve criminal acts such as assault, aggravated assault, reckless driving, etc.…

Examples of behaviors that can be classified as aggressive driving and/or road rage include:

  • Preventing other drivers from changing lanes
  • Hollering, honking, gesturing at other drivers or passengers
  • Following too close or cutting in on other vehicles
  • Provoking or challenging other drivers
  • Exiting a vehicle to assault or batter another person or their vehicle
  • Using a vehicle as a weapon to intentionally threaten a person or another vehicle

Prevention is the key to avoiding aggressive drivers.  If you find yourself being targeted by an aggressive driver, the first thing to do is not panic.  Try to slow down and avoid the aggressing vehicle.  Don’t respond to gestures or yelling as this may agitate the aggressor even more.  Resist the temptation to punish someone’s bad behavior or to retaliate yourself.  Don’t intentionally commit an act that is listed above.  Even unintentional acts may set off an aggressive or “Road Rage” incident.  Call Police as soon as possible from a safe location and report the aggressing vehicle’s description, tag number, and direction of travel.  It is not a good idea to follow the aggressing vehicle, as this may escalate the situation.

Tips for Not Becoming an Aggressive Driver

·         Avoid driving when you are angry or irritated

·         Allow plenty of time to reach your destination to avoid being rushed

·         Be considerate and understanding of other drivers

·         Try taking deep breaths and slowing down your breathing if something upsets you

·         Remind yourself of being safe and the risks of becoming aggressive on the roadway

"Our goal is that everyone arrives safely at their destination," said Chief Weeks. "Officers will be looking for and ticketing aggressive drivers."

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City of DeFuniak Springs • 71 US Hwy 90 West• DeFuniak Springs, FL 32433• 850-892-8500•
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