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According to AAA, Sixty Percent of Motorists Admit to Losing Their Temper While Driving

BURNSVILLE, Minn.--Aggressive driving kills, says AAA Minnesota/Iowa. More than half of fatal crashes involve some form of aggressive driving—speeding, running another driver off the road, tailgating or yelling obscenities.

A 2008 survey by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found that 80 percent of respondents consider aggressive drivers to be a serious traffic safety problem. However, many of those same people said they drive aggressively. Relatively minor driving infractions — changing lanes without signaling, following too closely, driving too slowly, honking at other drivers — can easily escalate into potentially deadly altercations. Not every incident turns violent, but 60 percent of motorists admit losing their temper while driving — also known as road rage.

AAA recommendations to avoid aggressive driving:

Don’t offend

  • Signal when changing lanes and merging. Avoid cutting off other drivers.
  • Do not drive slowly in the left lane. If faster traffic wants to pass, move to the right lane.
  • Allow a two to four second space between your car and the vehicle ahead of you to prevent tailgating.
  • Keep your hands on the wheel. Obscene gestures often incite other drivers.

Don’t engage

  • Do not take other driver’s actions personally. There may be a reason why another driver is speeding or driving erratically.
  • Give aggressive drivers lots of space.
  • Avoid eye contact with aggressive drivers.
  • Get help. If possible, drive to a safe public place where you can park and call police. Going to your home leads a potentially violent person to where you and your loved ones live.
  • Do not get out of your car.

Adjust your behavior

  • Forget winning; driving is not a contest.
  • Give yourself plenty of time to get where you’re going. Eliminate your need to rush.
  • Practice relaxation. Soothing music and deep breathing help you arrive at your destination in a calmer frame of mind.
  • If you find yourself driving angrily on a regular basis, ask for help. An anger management course may dramatically change your attitude.