Supposedly America has a road rage problem
America has a road rage problem. Or so they say.
The AAA Foundation estimates that more than 50 percent of the 210 million drivers holler at other motorists or purposefully tailgate, while 45 percent honk out of fury or frustration. For many officials, this poses a grave health scare for society. They couldn’t be more wrong.
Consider us to be part of the former group of pissed off drivers. Consider us to be fed up with drivers who believe using extreme precautionary measures or driving “defensively” permits them to care for other cars around them when changing or merging lanes, making a turn or going under the speed limit.
The problem with drivers today is that we’re taught to drive defensively in order to save time, money and lives in spite of the conditions around us and the actions of others. And that’s the problem: we don’t consider the action of others when driving. We disregard the cars behind us when we turn without using our blinkers. We disregard the concept of the left lane being for faster drivers when we pull into it haphazardly merging onto the highway. We disregard other drivers when we take two-wheel drive cars up I-70 in a blizzard and clog up the highway. The list goes on.
People disregard these things because they have a sense of entitlement built around the idea of defensive driving. If they go the speed limit, stay in their lane and turn when the arrow is green, it doesn’t matter about the people around them. It’s “safe.” Unfortunately, what happens is the exact opposite of safe: drivers become complacent on the roads and neglect the actions of those around them. In their attempts to be safe, they ultimately get less safe.
This does not justify some assholes for aggressive driving. Some people are in fact out of control, as the survey found 4 percent of licensed drivers — 8 million people —have either intentionally crashed their vehicle into another person’s or exited their vehicle to confront another driver. We live in a society. You can’t do that.
But in order to make for a safer driving environment, we must understand that overcautious, negligent drivers are as much to blame for chaotic roads as are aggressive drivers. Our proposal is a mixture of defensive and offensive driving. Be concerned with other drivers. Realize blinkers, fast lanes and road signs are not there as decorations but as a means of keeping order on the road. Don’t stop immediately while driving when you miss your turn, hoping to get over quickly. Loop around and go back.
If you can do all of this, we’ll promise to stop yelling obscenities and morbid statements from our four thousand pound steel weapon of mass destruction.