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Aggressive Driving: Asking For Trouble

Aggressive drivers are becoming the norm, according to a Media and Injury Prevention Program at the University of Southern California.

"Aggressive driving is now the most common way of driving," says co-director Sandra Ball-Rokeach. "It's not just a few crazies -- it's a subculture of driving."

Stories of aggresive drivers chasing, punching or shooting their victims are common. But you might avoid becoming a victim if you know how to remain calm and avoid acting upon your feelings.

Are you an aggressive driver?

Do you:

  • Speed up when someone tries to pass you?
  • Tailgate people who are going slower than you?
  • Weave in and out of traffic?
  • Pass cars on the right?
  • Flash your headlights at vehicles?
  • Overuse your horn?
  • Make obscene gestures?
  • Yell out you window at people?
  • Race for a position on the highway?

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration considers some of these behaviors aggressive. So next time, think twice before doing any of these things.

Safety and preventative measures

To avoid an encounter with an aggressive driver, remember these tips:

  • Don't block the passing lane.
  • Avoid blocking the right-hand turn lane.
  • Don't take more than one parking space.
  • Don't tailgate.
  • Don't stop in the road to talk with a pedestrian or other drivers.
  • If you travel slowly, pull over to allow traffic to pass you.
  • Avoid eye contact with an aggressive driver.
  • Keep your eyes on the road.
  • Keep away from erratic drivers.
  • Don't challenge other drivers by speeding up to hold your own in your travel lane.
  • Ignore gestures; do not return them.
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