Automotive Fleet

SEP 2013

Magazine for the car and truck fleet and leasing industry

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PHOTO: ©ISTOCKPHOTO.COM/MANDYGODBEHEAR SPECIAL FLEET SAFETY SERIES SPONSORED BY VOLVO CARS NORTH AMERICA FROM TRAFFIC OFFENSE TO CRIMINAL OFFENSE According to AAA, the two most common factors of road rage are rushing and congestion. T here is a diference between aggressive driving and road rage. Aggressive driving is a trafc ofense, while road rage is a criminal ofense. Defning road rage is an important step to incorporating ways to manage this behavior in a feet safety policy. Te National Highway Trafc Safety Association (NHTSA) defnes road rage as "an assault with a motor vehicle or other dangerous weapon by the operator of one motor vehicle on the operator or passenger(s) of another motor vehicle." Te American Automobile Association (AAA) Foundation defnes road rage as "violent anger caused by the stress and frustration involved in driving a motor vehicle — a motorist's uncontrolled anger that is usually provoked by another motorist's irritating act and is expressed in aggressive or violent behavior with an intention to cause physical harm." And, according to AAA, the two most common factors of road rage are rushing and congestion. Whether it is a feet driver on a delivery run or a sales representative driving to a business meeting, these employees will likely face the two most common causes for road rage once on the road. 34 AUTOMOTIVE FLEET I SEPTEMBER 2013 Road rage can lead to altercations, assaults, and collisions that result in injuries and even deaths. BY ATHENA MEKIS Research Offers Best Practices to Avoid Road Rage Aggressive driving behavior includes driving more than 15 mph over the speed limit, running a red light, tailgating, erratic lane changing, and illegal passing. According to AAA's 2013 survey, these actions are a factor in up to 56 percent of fatal crashes. A separate AAA Foundation study looked at more than 10,000 road rage incidents committed over seven years and found they resulted in at least 218 murders and another 12,610 injury cases. When drivers explained why they became violent, the reasons were ofen trivial. Fleet managers should review the research and incorporate it into their feet safety policies. Te following is a list of solutions AAA ofers to avoid road rage: ● Don't ofend. Four driving acts are the most likely to enrage other drivers: cutting them of, driving slowly in the lef lane, tailgating, and gesturing obscenities. ● Don't engage. Steer clear of aggressive drivers. Avoid eye contact with them, and, if you feel physically threatened, drive to a public building with people around. Use your horn for emergencies only. Make time secondary. Employees should allow themselves a few extra minutes to be ahead of schedule, but even if he or she is running late, it is best to ask employees to simply make others wait. ● Practice relaxation techniques. Most people fnd relaxation in soothing music, a book on tape, radio news, or deep breathing. ● Don't take it personally. Instead of judging other drivers negatively, imagine why they may be speeding or swerving, such as hurrying to a hospital or dealing with a crying baby. ● The Course of Action After Encountering Road Rage Courses in anger management have been shown to reduce heart attacks, according to AAA. Tese same techniques can also help angry, aggressive drivers before employees fall under the feet's defnition of road rage and potentially lose their job. Drivers who successfully "reinvent" their approach to the road report dramatic changes in attitude and behavior, AAA said. Look for anger management courses as a method of recourse. Self-help books on stress reduction and anger management may also be helpful. AF

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