Editors: Video soundbites of Auto Club spokesperson Doug Shupe discussing the AAA Foundation study are available for your use here.
While the California Highway Patrol reports a surge in aggressive speeding this year during the pandemic, data gathered by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety shows that men and younger drivers are the most likely to speed, tailgate, merge dangerously, and make rude gestures or honk at other drivers.
With everyday stress already compounded by the pandemic and now the holiday season, which can elevate tensions on the road, the Automobile Club of Southern California urges motorists to keep their cool, avoid dangerous driving habits and not engage with other aggressive drivers, which can make a bad situation more dangerous.
The CHP issued 20,347 tickets for speeding over 100 miles per hour between the start of the pandemic lockdown on March 19 and Nov. 1 – a 103% increase over the same period in 2019.
The AAA Foundation found the following in a 2019 survey of self-reported driving behaviors released this year:
Aggressive Driving Behaviors In Past 30 Days Among Drivers
Regardless of gender, nearly 8 in 10 (79%) of 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.”
AAA Rules of the Road:
- Follow posted speed limits and always drive at a safe speed for conditions.
- Maintain an adequate following distance.
- Use turn signals.
- Allow others to merge.
- Use your high beams responsibly.
- Be considerate in parking lots—Park in one spot, not across multiple spaces. Be careful not to hit cars next to you with your door.
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 the 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,” added Nelson.
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.
For more information, visit www.aaa.com/preventroadrage