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Aggressive Driving

A new analysis of aggressive driving data confirms some long-held beliefs: when men are behind the wheel, they are more aggressive and tend to speed, tailgate, merge dangerously, and make rude gestures or honk at other drivers more than women. But women also engage in some dangerous driving habits, like running red lights, and overall, younger male and female drivers tend to be more aggressive than older drivers.

Those are the main findings of a survey released last year by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, a nonprofit research and education association, that examined aggressive driving based on gender, age and behavior type.

“Speeding, red-light running, and cutting other drivers off can kill you, your passengers, and others sharing the road,” Jake Nelson, AAA’s director of traffic safety advocacy, said in a statement. “Driving aggressively isn’t worth the risk. When you get behind the wheel, be patient, be kind, and obey traffic laws so everyone gets home safely.”

While aggressive driving behavior is an everyday occurrence, it is compounded due to the pandemic and the holiday season, the safety group said. As a result of the potential for elevated tensions on the road, it “urges motorists to keep their cool and avoid dangerous driving habits,” noting that even “the calmest, most safety-conscious drivers can find themselves frustrated by other motorists.”

The survey results were based on self-reported responses of aggressive driving behavior collected in 2019. Some behaviors indicated a significant difference between men and women. For example, 31.5% of male respondents said they drove aggressively by switching lanes quickly and/or very close behind another car, but only 21.4% of females reported doing so. Other responses showed a slight difference: 32.2% of men reported driving through a red light compared to 30% of women.

However, even though there were statistical differences between men and women, the survey indicated a high incidence of troublesome driving overall: nearly 8 in 10 (79%) American drivers admitted to aggressive behaviors when behind the wheel.

“Speeding tops the list, with men being the biggest culprit, though women are not far behind,” the AAA said, stressing that contrary to common perception, speeding does not save time. The average amount saved on a 5-mile trip, driving 65 mph on a 45 mph posted road, the safety group said, is only 1.9 minutes.

In addition to presenting the results of the survey, the AAA reminded motorists to follow the rules of the road at all times: adhere to posted speed limits; maintain an adequate following distance; use turn signals; allow others to merge; use high beams responsibly; and always be considerate in parking lots by not parking across multiple spaces.

The safety group offered some tips if drivers find themselves near an aggressive driver:

• Don’t Offend;

• Be Tolerant and Forgiving: Assume that it’s not personal; and

• Do Not Respond: Avoid eye contact, don’t make gestures, maintain space around your vehicle, and contact 9-1-1 if necessary.

“If you encounter an aggressive driver on the road or find your temper rising, remember to slow yourself down, breathe deeply, and safely create distance between you and other motorists,” Nelson added. “Aggressive drivers are likely not thinking about their potential impact on others until it is too late.”

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Thanks to Forbes for the info!

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