Drive defensively, not aggressively. Aggressive driving can refer to any display of aggression by a driver. It's often used to describe more extreme acts of physical assault that result from disagreements between drivers. "Road Rage" is a term believed to be coined by the American media, originally to describe the most violent events.
Although the media currently seem to refer to all aggressive driving as road rage, the New York State Police have pointed out that there is an important difference. "Road Rage", such as using the vehicle as a weapon or physically assaulting a driver or their vehicle, is NOT aggressive driving. Such acts are criminal offenses, and there are laws to deal with these violent crimes.
Aggressive Driving Seems to be Increasing
Part of the problem may be the roads themselves. The roads are more crowded. The number of vehicle miles driven each year is up 35% in the past ten years, and there are more vehicles on the roads. Yet the number of miles of roadway has increased by only 1%. Also, people are busier. Time is at a premium, and road congestion causes frustration.
According to the media, there are numerous events of aggressive driving or "road rage" on the public highways. There is growing concern among motorists about this problem.
Aggressive Driving may be characterized by the following traffic violations:
If you encounter an Aggressive Driver...
The New York State Police recommend these basic tips for dealing with an aggressive driver:
(Of special note: If you witness an act of aggressive driving, the police cannot issue a ticket simply because you've gotten a plate number. A police officer must witness the infraction and positively identify the driver of the vehicle in order to issue a ticket. However, if you travel a route on a regular basis and witness aggressive behavior at certain times, or all of the time, the State Police would be interested in knowing about the locations.)
However, there are some basic things that you can do to reduce your chances of ever becoming involved in an aggressive driving or "road rage" incident:
Be aware of actions that can provoke aggression
Motorists are advised to be patient and courteous to other drivers. You should correct any unsafe driving habits that may endanger, annoy or provoke other drivers. Be aware of actions that have resulted in violence in the past. Many of these actions are simply eliminated by practicing common courtesy. Others are behaviors which are, or may be considered, offensive. Avoid behaviors which are likely to provoke aggression, a few are:
Use common courtesy and be aware of how you're driving
Reduce your stress, adjust your attitude and keep your cool in order to think before you react.