Aggressive Driving – Where Are Your Manners?

I drive every day in the city (of Vancouver). Each time, I am shocked and outraged by the lack of respect drivers show towards others when they are in a moving vehicle.

My particular pet peeves include drivers who fail to use a signal light, do not let other drivers merge, and are completely unaware that their driving actions may be causing a 10-block-long traffic jam behind them. You know that driver who is in the left lane at a green light, trying to get into the right hand lane, who will not budge for the other vehicles quickly lining up behind him or her? My suggestion? Turn left and go around the block please, because no one in the right lane will be polite enough to let you in.

Experiences like these got me thinking recently about the definitions of aggressive driving, defensive driving, and road rage. For example, I think of myself as a defensive, not an aggressive, driver. I really had to reflect on this, though, after an incident last week that precipitated some very aggressive expletives from me directed at another driver.

The NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) defines aggressive driving as occurring when “an individual commits a combination of moving traffic offenses so as to endanger other persons or property.”

Studies show that aggressive drivers typically engage in the following driving behavior:

  • Speeding
  • Unsafe or frequent lane changing
  • Failing to signal
  • Tailgating
  • Failing to yield the right of way
  • Running traffic lights (yellow means go!)

I certainly do not operate my vehicle without regard for others, but I am a bold driver. Sometimes, my bold driving is necessary because, for example, others will not let me into the lane I need to be in without an assertive move on my part! All I am asking is that if you are a driver, please show some common courtesy. Along with adhering to six, core rules of the road—stay within the speed limit, change lanes safely, signal before a turn, avoid tailgating, yield the right of way and obey all traffic lights, please use your manners when you step on the gas.

The most compelling reason for all this, besides reducing the frustration and stress caused to other drivers? Car-accident statistics would improve and so would the rate of injuries and deaths caused by motor-vehicle crashes. With that would come reduced insurance rates from ICBC.

A little common courtesy can change a whole lot of things for the better—for all of us. Do as your mother taught you¬—use your manners, please!

Stay tuned for more on the related topics of defensive driving and road rage.