Data gathered by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety confirms the perception that men tend to speed, tailgate, merge dangerously, and make rude gestures or honk at other drivers more than women.
The survey finds that women also admit to some dangerous driving habits, such as running red lights.
Overall, younger male and female drivers tend to be more aggressive than older drivers, according to the survey. With everyday stress already compounded by the pandemic and now the holiday season, which can elevate tensions on the road, AAA urges motorists to keep their cool and avoid dangerous driving habits.
Regardless of gender, nearly 8 in 10 (79%) American drivers demonstrate aggressive behaviors when behind the wheel. Speeding tops the list, with men being the biggest culprit, though women are not far behind. Contrary to common perception, speeding does not save time on the road. The average amount saved on a 5-mile trip, driving 65 mph on a 45 mph posted road, is only 1.9 minutes.
“Speeding, red-light running, and cutting other drivers off can kill you, your passengers, and others sharing the road,” said Jake Nelson, AAA’s director of traffic safety advocacy. “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.”
A driver may be stressed or react wrongly to another driver’s action on any given day, and the holidays can add to the strain and anxiety. Introduce the pressures and concerns tied to a global pandemic, and even the calmest, most safety-conscious drivers can find themselves frustrated by other motorists.
“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. Aggressive drivers are likely not thinking about their potential impact on others until it is too late,” Nelson said.
AAA offers these tips to help drivers manage aggressive driving scenarios:
- Don’t Offend: Never cause another driver to change their speed or direction. That means not forcing another driver to use their brakes or turn the steering wheel in response to something you have done.
- Be Tolerant and Forgiving: The other driver may just be having a really bad day. Assume that it’s not personal.
- Do Not Respond: Avoid eye contact, don’t make gestures, maintain space around your vehicle, and contact 9-1-1 if needed.
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