For every aggressive driving incident serious enough to result in a police report there are hundreds or thousands more which never got reported to the authorities.
Aggressive driving has progressively increased during the 1990s, indicates a study sponsored by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. The study analyzed 10,037 police reports and newspaper stories about traffic incidents that led to violence and was prepared by Mizell & Company, an international security firm in Bethesda, Maryland. Reports of violent traffic incidents have increased nearly 7 percent per year since 1990.
"Yet this is only the small tip of a very large iceberg," says David K. Willis, President oft AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. "For every aggressive driving incident serious enough to result in a police report or newspaper article, there are hundreds or thousands more which never got reported to the authorities."
The study also found that events precipitating violent incidents are often remarkably trivial and the people involved are often just ordinary citizens. "People have been shot because they drove too slowly or played the radio too loud," Willis says. "But violent traffic disputes are rarely the result of a single incident. Rather, they seem to be the result of personal attitudes and the accumulation of stress in the motorist's life."
The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety advises motorists to be alert for potentially dangerous or competitive situations and to avoid them.
- Don't take your eyes off the road.
- Avoid eye contact with an aggressive driver
- Stay cool -- don't react to provocation
- Keep away from drivers behaving erratically