WHEREAS, aggressive driving can be defined as
committing a sequence of moving traffic violations in a short period of time which
occur in the presence of other vehicles and endangers persons and/or property; and
WHEREAS, aggressive driving frequently leads to the assaultive behavior that has become
commonly known as road rage; and
WHEREAS, traffic crash statistics show that aggressive driving habits are causal
factors in a significant number of traffic deaths and injuries; and
WHEREAS, public opinion polls indicate that citizens fear aggressive drivers and
support increased police traffic enforcement; and
WHEREAS, failure to address aggressive driving undermines public confidence in law
enforcement and promotes disrespect for the law; now therefore be it
RESOLVED, that the International Association of Chiefs of Police urges all law
enforcement agencies to adopt strategies to curb the incidence of aggressive driving; and
FURTHER RESOLVED, that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is encouraged
to develop incentive programs that provide additional highway safety funds for intensified
traffic enforcement efforts to jurisdictions with laws that enable law enforcement to use
technology; as well as promote research into the psychodynamics of aggressive driving; and
that prosecutors and courts are encouraged to treat aggressive driving as the danger to
public safety that it is; and that copies of this resolution be forwarded to the National
Highway Safety Administration; National Sheriffs Association, the National Center
for State Courts; and the National District Attorneys Association.
The Officer Workbook and Instructor Guide are recommended for use in conjunction with
RoadRageous Aggressive Driver Video Course (American Institute for Public Safety) Road
Rage and Aggressive Driving, (Prometheus Books, Amherst, N.Y.).
Aggressive Driving Police Initiatives
Definition of Aggressive Driving
Threshold Method for Profiling Aggressive Driving
Aggressive Driving Legislation
2. Dual Role: Traffic Enforcement and Education
Handing Out TEE Cards in Traffic Stops
A Sample of 10 TEE Cards
Why We Need Traffic Emotions Education
3. HANDLING AGGRESSIVE Drivers
Aggressive Driving Is an Important Social Problem
Managing an Angry Driver During a Traffic Stop
The Chain of Escalation in Angry Exchanges
Causes and Prevention of Emotionally Impaired Driving
The Aggressive Driver Mentality
Analyzing the Thinking of Vigilante Drivers
Aggressive vs. Supportive Driving
Public safety officers in the 21st century have more qualifications because advanced
training is required to meet the new demands on officers' technical knowledge. The federal
government requires certification training for officers who use Radar Speed Detection
devices, and new certification training is required for those with access to crime
information centers that maintain criminal records. Some states require police officers to
have annual training to maintain their powers of arrest. This is the age of aggressive
driving and officers have a new opportunity to play the dual role of traffic enforcement
and education. State legislatures began passing new aggressive driving laws in 1997 using
a variety of definitions for violations. Some laws use vague language that makes it
difficult for officers to accurately identify the target behavior. Traffic officers now
need specialized training in the technicalities of aggressive driving laws, aggressive
driving behavior, and prevention:
What language does the law use to define aggressive driving?
How serious is the problem nationally?
What police initiatives have been tried?
What can law enforcement do to educate the public about aggressive driving?
What are TEE Cards for Traffic Enforcement Education and when do officers hand them out?
How do officers deal with aggressive drivers during a traffic stop?
What are good interaction principles to follow during a traffic stop?
What are the causes and how can we prevent emotionally impaired driving?
As new aggressive driving laws are applied, law enforcement is increasingly called upon
to testify in court in aggressive driving cases. Officers are exposed to more angry people
during traffic stops for aggressive violations, yet they are expected to take more verbal
abuse and show greater restraint in the use of force. Special training in aggressive
driving prevention has become a practical necessity for all security and peace officers
involved in traffic control.
The dual role of law enforcement as Traffic Enforcer and Educator is supported by the
federal government as one of the new ways to contain aggressive driving. In order to
enhance public support and cooperation, officers need to be prepared to adequately explain
their dual role without lecturing or preaching. This workbook helps to accomplish this by:
Providing a better understanding of the aggressive driver mentality
Providing appropriate educational responses to motorists
This Officer Workbook is designed for either self-study or classroom use to provide
specialized training on aggressive driving prevention. An Instructor Guide is available
for classroom use in Police Academies or officer training centers. The course was first
used in March 2000 by the San Antonio Police Department in conjunction with the Aggressive
Driver Video Course RoadRageous distributed by the American Institute for Public Safety.
It is also recommended for use in conjunction with the authors' book, Road Rage and
Aggressive Driving (Amherst, N.Y: Prometheus Books, 2000). More information on the Web:
Aggressive driving is driving under the influence of impaired emotions. There are three
categories of impaired emotions:
Impatience and Inattentiveness
Recklessness and Road Rage
The majority of motorists drive in an emotionally impaired state at certain times. Some
motorists drive in this state more often than others, and pose a serious risk to
themselves and others. Driving violations can be identified by reference to these three
categories of impaired emotions. Each category of impaired emotion leads to different
types of traffic violations.
Category 1: Impatience and Inattentiveness
Driving through red
Speeding up to yellow
Cutting corners or rolling over double line
Improper lane change or weaving
Driving 5 to 15 mph above limit
Following too close
Not signaling when required
Erratically slowing down or speeding up
Taking too long
Category 2: Power Struggle
Blocking passing lane, refusing to move over
Threatening or insulting by yelling, gesturing, honking repeatedly
Tailgating to punish or coerce
Cutting off in a duel
Braking suddenly to retaliate
Category 3: Recklessness and Road Rage
Pointing a gun or shooting
Assaulting with the car or battering object
Driving at very high speeds
From COHuffman@aol.com Thu Nov 9 13:44:21 2000
Date: Thu, 9 Nov 2000
Subject: Aggressive Driving Symposium
Aggressive Driving and the Law
Sponsored by National Criminal Justice Association
and American Institute for Public Safety
in cooperation with
North Miami Beach Police Department
December 7, 2000 - 1:00 pm to 5:00 pm
December 8, 2000 - 8:30 am to 4:00 pm
"Aggressive driving is the leading concern among America's drivers."
U.S. Secretary of Transportation, Rodney Slater
Join the National Criminal Justice Association (NCJA), the American Institute for
Public Safety (AIPS), and the North Miami Beach Police Department for a 2-day symposium on
Aggressive Driving and Road Rage. Meet the leading experts in the field today in finding
solutions to this epidemic on the highways that claims lives everyday. The symposium will
feature discussions and workshops on strategies that law enforcement, prosecution and
courts can implement in their communities.
"We must raise the bar on safety. It requires a three-pronged approach: -
EDUCATION - ENFORCEMENT - AND A STRONG JUDICIAL EFFORT- to prevent this life threatening
behavior." U.S. Secretary of Transportation, Rodney Slater
This seminar will discuss the critical issues and opportunities to find solutions to
this epidemic on our nation's highways including legislative, educational, enforcement and
judicial initiatives. Experts from the American Institute for Public Safety (AIPS), a
nationally known organization providing training to prevent "road rage" as well
as developing interventions to respond to dangerously aggressive drivers will review the
nation's first court referral program for aggressive drivers requiring an educational
component, as well as a new approach for law enforcement officers to make the aggressive
driver traffic stop a positive attitude modification experience. AIPS offers programs that
blend humor in education and deadly serious information about the causes and consequences
of aggressive driving.
Faculty for the symposium includes:
Arnold Nerenberg, Ph.D. Dr. Nerenberg is nationally recognized as a leading behavioral
authority on aggressive driving and road rage. Commonly referred to as "America's
Road Rage Therapist" Dr. Nerenberg appears regularly on MSNBC and CNN giving advice
to drivers on how to control their anger, avoid becoming an aggressive driver or become a
victim of an aggressive driver. Dr. Nerenberg is a co-author of the aggressive driver
course "RoadRageous" and has held over 40 aggressive driving seminars
sponsored by the California Department of Highway Safety.
William B. Berger, M.S., J.D., Chief of Police of the city of North Miami Beach,
Florida, 2nd Vice President of the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP)
and Past President of the Florida Police Chiefs Association. Chief Berger currently sits
on the Board of the Florida Auto Theft Prevention Authority. He has been a safety advocate
for seat belt safety and has spoken on behalf of the National Highway Traffic Safety
Administration (NHTSA) in both Miami and Atlanta. He is a known authority on community
policing and a constant advocate of traffic enforcement as a community policing tool.
Christopher O. Huffman, Chief Operating Officer for the AIPS. Formerly Executive Vice
President of Cunard Line Ltd. and senior executive for Rolls-Royce Motor Cars Ltd. on both
sides of the Atlantic. The impeccable safety records of both companies have been
recognized worldwide. Chris is leading AIPS in its drive to provide and implement
educational solutions to aggressive driving and road rage.
Sergeant Rick Silberman. Sgt. Silberman is a 9-year veteran of the North Miami Beach
Police Department. He has worked Patrol, Community Policing and in the Personnel and
Training Division. Sgt. Silberman has been instrumental in the agency's mobile laptop
program and is the department's webmaster. He is a certified police instructor and has
helped develop law enforcement lesson plans for AIP's "RoadRageous" aggressive
driving enforcement program.
Who Should Attend?
This symposium will be invaluable for individuals responsible for developing and
implementing responses to aggressive driving and the damage caused to the community and
victims. A multi-disciplinary team made up of law enforcement officials, prosecutors,
court personnel, probation officers, treatment providers, highway traffic safety
officials, and victim advocates will return to their communities with proven effective
strategies to combat aggressive driving, materials to educate professionals and community
members to the nature and causes of aggressive driving and contacts with national experts
in the field. If three individuals register from one community, up to two additional
individuals from that community can register for half price. All registration forms must
be submitted at the same time.
Who is the American Institute of Public Safety? AIPS
The American Institute of Public Safety (AIPS) is dedicated to improving the level of
traffic safety awareness as well as saving lives by providing quality, humor-based, proven
driver improvement training programs to a wide variety of audiences. The AIPS offers
"Aware Driver" and RoadRageous training programs with major
emphasis on the attitudes and behavior modification to combat the aggressive driving and
road rage phenomenon. In addition, the AIPS works with law enforcement agencies and courts
around the country to develop and implement programs to respond to aggressive driving.
More information can be obtained by visiting the AIPS website,
Who is the National Criminal Justice Association (NCJA)?
The NCJA is the Washington-based nonprofit association representing the state and local
governments on crime control and public safety matters. The NCJA exists to foster the
development of criminal justice systems in states and units of local government that
enhance public safety; prevent and reduce the harmful effects of criminal behavior on
individuals and communities; adjudicate defendants and sanction offenders fairly and
justly; and use system resources effectively and efficiently. In pursuit of this mission,
the NCJA promotes recognition of the interrelationships among criminal justice system
components and advocates comprehensive planning and coordination in the development of
policies affecting the system. The NCJA's core membership comprises high-level state
executive branch officials who have been designated by their governors as their state's
representative to NCJA's Advisory Council, the association's governing body. The general
membership represents all facets of the criminal and juvenile justice systems. More
information concerning the NCJA can be found at http://www.sso.org/ncja
NCJA Southern Regional Meeting
Aggressive Driving and the Law
Sponsored by The National Criminal Justice Association and the American Institute for
Public Safety in cooperation with the North Miami Beach Police Department
Atlanta, GA 30303
Milwaukee aggressive driving study may become
August 08, 2000 Associated Press
MILWAUKEE-- A one-of-its kind federal grant to combat road rage helped cut traffic
accidents, and a program the city developed may become a model for addressing tailgating,
speeding and running red lights nationwide, authorities say.
Milwaukee was a test case for federal officials looking for ways to reduce road rage
incidents nationwide, and officials used a $500,000 grant to boost patrol units, purchase
new traffic monitoring tools and launch a media campaign with slogans such as "The
Rude Attitude Patrol."
State officials decided to fund anti-aggressive driving measures in other areas after a
1998 survey showed 89 percent of respondents witnessed aggressive driving the month
"After the first wave of ticketing, aggressive driving went way down, traffic
crashes went down and it became harder to give out tickets," Dane County Sheriff's
Sgt. Gordon Disch said.
For example, the fine for following too closely is $67.90, but upgrading the charge to
reckless driving costs $227 plus six points on a license. Disorderly conduct fines can go
up to $646, Munger said.
But educating drivers about the dangers of driving aggressively is even more effective
than ticketing, Munger said.
"When people are pulled over, we tell them about the risks of escalating
aggression," Munger said. "In an instant you can turn from villain to
Last summer, Denise Koenigs, her husband and their two children were injured when a
53-year-old man who said they were driving too slow rammed their vehicle through two lanes
of traffic into a ditch on Highway 60 near Hartford. Koenigs said she still has
"For a long time it was very emotional just to get in the the car," she said.
"Now I'm much more alert and cautious. I'd rather be ten minutes late than
Time and traffic jams top the list of excuses for aggressive driving, said John Evans,
director of the state Bureau of Transportation Safety, which set up a road rage task force
three years ago.
"Anyone who is 15 minutes late is a prime candidate," he said.
A study done for the National Highway Transportation Safety Board found during the
six-month enforcement period:
-- Crashes in Milwaukee went down 12.3 percent in program areas compared to the same
six months the year before. Crashes citywide decreased 4.8 percent.
-- Injuries and fatalities in Milwaukee were down 11.3 percent compared to the same
time in 1998. Citywide, injuries and deaths were down 6.6 percent.
-- City police wrote 12,378 more tickets for aggressive driving, a 29 percent increase
over the previous year. Those tickets did not include speeding.
-- Sheriff's patrols on Milwaukee's freeways wrote 2,700 tickets for aggressive
driving, excluding speeding, a 55 percent increase over ticket-writing from March to
September 1998, Milwaukee County Sheriff's Capt. Randy Tylke said.
"That's 2,700 more people who wouldn't have realized they were being watched for
aggressive driving. Generally they'll stop once they get a ticket," Tylke said.
Unmarked squad cars are key to catching aggressive drivers because "you have to
sneak up on them," Tylke said. During the first week, an officer in an unmarked car
had a tomato thrown at him. The driver was ticketed for tailgating and littering, Tylke
Besides more patrols, police blanketed the media with anti-aggressive driving
mini-campaigns such as the "Basket Patrol," which targeted drivers who
"weave" in traffic, and the "Flasher Patrol," to enforce using turn
The "Rude Attitude Patrol" got so much attention a civil liberties attorney
appeared on television to explain that rudeness is not against the law, Tylke said.
Nationally, NHTSA plans to base other anti-aggressive driving programs on Milwaukee's
strategies, said Joe Ann O'Hara, of the agency's traffic law enforcement division.
"We found that if you do a good job on enforcement, you'll spend less time
investigating accidents," Kuhlman said.
Patrolling roadways from the air
Aggressive drivers see red twice in Minnesota
By: Anna Cornish
Anna Cornish is a Public Information Officer with the Minnesota Department of Public
Safety, Office of Communications.
The Minnesota State Patrol is implementing a new means of apprehending aggressive
driversshooting them (with a video camera, of course). As it heats up outside, so do
drivers' tempers on roadways in Minnesota, USA. This flux in dangerous driving behavior
has the Minnesota State Patrol going to great lengths to address the issue of aggressive
"Aggressive driving is a lethal cocktail of dangerous driving
behaviorspeeding, following too closely, running stop lights and signs, weaving in
and out of traffic, and passing on the shoulder," says Minnesota State Patrol
Lieutenant Mark Peterson. "Speed alone is cited as a contributing factor in
approximately 30 percent of all fatal crashes. Combining this grim statistic with other
aggressive driving behavior is not only riskyit's deadly."
The Minnesota State Patrol is targeting areas in the Twin Cities area known for
aggressive driving with troops on the ground and in the air. Aircraft are equipped with
FLIR Systems Inc U6000 Series Thermal Imagers. These cameras include both a daylight video
camera and a thermal imager for use at times of low light or darkness. The pictures and
images from the cameras are transmitted to a portable receiver in a police squad car on
the ground. During the operation, fixed wing aircraft pilots spot aggressive driving
behavior, notify officers on the ground, who in turn apprehend the driver.
The process doesn't end there. After the ground trooper apprehends the driver, the
offender is afforded the opportunity to review his/her actions by watching the footage
shot from the fixed-wing aircraft above. Patrolling roadways from the air has been a
common practice by the Minnesota State Patrol for many years, but not until recently has
there been a direct link from an aircraft video camera to a car-based monitor.
Twin cities media will also receive copies of the aggressive driving and eventual
arrest footage. The goal of this operation is to end aggressive driving through education,
enforcement, and a high prosecution percentage. This new technology provides actual
footage of dangerous driving behaviornot of a stranger on a television screen, but
by you, in your car. Accountability is a powerful deterrent to intentional hazardous
behaviorespecially when that behavior is on the six o' clock news.
Learner drivers in Singapore have a new test to pass before getting their
mock road rage attacks from angry drivers.
Before learners can tear-up the L-plates, they will have to pass the 'practical' - a
confrontation with a mad, red-faced bulging-eyed 'motorist' to check how they handle
verbal abuse and physical intimidation during road rage incidents.
Jittery new drivers, often the target of abuse from more experienced motorists, will
get the mock 'stress' tests as a new part of the country's Highway Code.
As well as learning the 'mirror, signal, manoeuvre' mantra, they will be taught how to
behave under road rage conditions; how NOT to react; and advised to count to 10 if they
feel the red mist descending.
The new curriculum, to be introduced by Singapore's road transport department next
month, will also help learner drivers to deal with accidents, emergencies and driving in
heavy traffic through cities.
Mr K Balakrishnan, a spokesman for the department, said: "They will now be taught
how to control their emotions in an enacted scenario."
"When facing situations like these, drivers are most likely to feel anger, shock,
panic or confusion," he told the New Straits Times.
A recent case of road-rage in the sub-tropical country resulted in a road bully, a
karaoke lounge waiter, being jailed for 10 years for killing a factory worker following an
Andrew Howard, head of road safety at the Automobile Association, said the 'practical'
will probably not catch on in the UK, but road rage is a problem the world over.
"The British Highway Code has begun to have little bits of warnings about keeping
your cool and being courteous," he said. "It is all about common sense, being
courteous to others and calm.
An effective partnership must be created between the
three Es--Engineering, Enforcement, Education. This partnership can work to maintain a
highway learning atmosphere that will support in the public's mind, the concept of
Lifelong Driver Self-improvement.
Drivers in traffic need to be taught to act as a team with a structure that requires
voluntary cooperation for a collective traffic goal among otherwise independent
voluntary obedience to traffic control regulations
commitment to achieving high predictability in motorist behavior
"TEE CARDS" stands for Traffic Enforcement Education Cards
also known as Traffic Emotions Cards. They are created by
DrDriving for law enforcement officers who make a traffic stop for aggressive driving. The
traffic stop can be a window of opportunity for delivering Aggressive Driving Prevention
Information at a time when the motorist is especially focused to receive and listen to
such information. The officer chooses from one of several categories of aggressive driving
information cards and hands it to the motorist. The purpose is to build the motorist's
awareness of what the law considers aggressive and which behaviors were observed by the
officer. The officer chooses whether or not to issue a citation.
TEE CARDS express and
promote DrDriving's approach called Driving Psychology. This is the idea that driving
habits occur in three domains: emotions, thoughts, and sensory-motor actions. These three
must act together to be effective. TEE CARDS can also be used in other settings such as
law enforcement education
court mandated classes
family or individual efforts at Aggressive Driving Prevention.
driver self-improvement programs
quality driving circles
public information programs
books and readers
The educational objectives for TEE CARDS are:
to serve as a reminder and warning at a time the motorist is focused on the officer
to give motorists a feedback assessment on their mistakes
to point out emotionally intelligent alternatives to aggressive driving
to strengthen a driver's sense of social responsibility to other drivers
to provide facts and statistics about the consequences of aggressive driving
to promote the idea that anger management takes serious practice
to provide information on self-improvement activities for drivers
to promote acceptance of a personal Lifelong Driver Self-improvement Plan
to promote acceptance of Quality Driving Circles or QDCs
to help de-glamorize aggressive driving
to reinforce appropriate driving attitudes to children passengers riding in the stopped
to remind parents of their responsibility to model appropriate motorist behavior for the
sake of their children's future driving attitudes
Each card stands as a true mini-lesson unit that takes into account three types of
SECRETARY OF TRANSPORTATION RODNEY E. SLATER
AGGRESSIVE DRIVING AND THE LAW A SYMPOSIUM
JANUARY 22, 1999
President Clinton and Vice President Gore have made safety this
Administrations highest transportation priority --investing $6.8 billion over the
next six years to increase safety on our nations highways.
Your attendance and commitment to finding workable solutions regarding aggressive
driving shows that safety, too, is your highest priority.
Aggressive driving is one of the leading safety concerns among Americas drivers.
In the survey we are releasing today, more than 60 percent of drivers believe unsafe
driving --including speeding --by others was a major personal threat to them and to their
And as Secretary of Transportation I have met with the survivors of crashes caused by
Speed --improper lane changes --improper passing --red light running --operating a
vehicle in a manner which endangers or is likely to endanger others all fall under the
category of aggressive driving.
Who are these aggressive drivers? Unfortunately, about two-thirds of the drivers in the
National Highway Traffic Safety Administrations (NHTSA) survey admit to unsafe
driving. Why? --late for meetings --traffic congestion --frustration --we all, at one time
or another, have either purposefully or unwittingly taken on the role of an aggressive
We can and must do better --which is why we are here today. We must raise the bar on
safety. It requires a three-pronged approach --education --enforcement --and strong
judicial efforts to prevent this life-threatening behavior from occurring again and again.
A majority of drivers from the NHTSA survey believe that the amount of law enforcement
is about right. At least twenty-two states and the District of Columbia currently have
active programs to reduce aggressive driving violations.
The Federal government, law enforcement agencies and local communities are partnering
through programs like "Smooth Operator" to combat aggressive driving and we are
Right now in Wisconsin, a $476,000 NHTSA grant is helping the Milwaukee Police
Department to reduce aggressive driving. This 18-month demonstration project, the first in
the nation, will provide information and enforcement results to law enforcement agencies
across the country. I am pleased to announce we will expand the project into two
additional communities later this year.
The Federal Highway Administration next month will release the results of a very
successful, $600,000 "Red Light Running" campaign. Through education and
enforcement, crashes at 31 sites throughout the nation dropped significantly --some by as
much as 43 percent. Communities are so delighted with the results they are continuing the
campaign indefinitely --and without federal funding.
(...) We have a great opportunity, through this symposium, to formulate a national
policy regarding the seriousness of aggressive driving and to develop recommendations for
consistent treatment of offenders.
We can shift the paradigm on aggressive driving penalties just as we shifted the
paradigm on drunken driving penalties. No longer can these offenders expect a slap on the
wrist --there will be serious judicial consequences for their actions. We want --the
public demands --the same course of action for aggressive driving offenders.
America is making progress in the battle for safer roads, but safety is everyone's
responsibility and we must all continue our vigilance. Through education, enforcement and
uniform judicial policies we can raise the bar on safety. (...)
Aggressive Driving Questions
and Answers About TEE Cards
by Dr. Leon James
Question 1: How widespread is aggressive driving? Is it an important social problem?
We're looking at an enormous problem when we deal with aggressive driving.
There are 177 million licensed drivers in the U.S., and the majority have been raised
in a cultural atmosphere that
condones aggressive driving
encourages competition behind the wheel
allows the expression of hostility towards other motorists
promotes a sense of entitlement about having the right to drive the way they want
condones cynicism and disrespect of the law
promotes the idea of territorial freedom around the vehicle as one's private castle
leads motorists to be time-bound and feeling anxious about getting there
provides people with multi-tasking activities in cars without training (eating, phone
and communications equipment)
creates a diversity of drivers with different competencies and purposes for being on the
The 35 million American boys who are growing up today have seen an increase of 27% in
violence from 1981 to 1998. The anger culture today often equates "masculine"
with reckless and high risk behavior.
Parenting today does not include a focus on moral skills and emotional intelligence
a steady dose of violence in cartoons, movies, and video games desensitize the population,
raising public tolerance for aggressiveness against strangers and lowering the threshold
of expressing it overtly in public places.
These cultural factors have created and are maintaining the driving style of the
population. So the problem is vast and deep and serious:
40,000 deaths per year
6 million crash injuries per year
100 billion aggressive driving exchanges per day
250 billion dollars direct cost per year
untold numbers of stress related health problems and human suffering
Question 2: What traffic education role is desirable for law enforcement officers?
A major initiative by law enforcement officials and personnel is needed to re-educate
the public. Traffic related work puts officers in a position of importance regarding the
traffic education of motorists. Consider these facts::
Americans spend 500 million hours per week in their cars
they travel 3 billion miles annually
the current death rate is 1.6 per 100 million miles
the average driver receives 1 ticket every three years
a motorist will commit 2,000 traffic violations for each one being caught
by the year 2020 traffic fatalities will be the world's third leading cause of deaths
(after heart disease and depression)
since the year 1900, 3 million Americans died in car crashes (vs. 635,000 American
casualties in all wars combined)
Law enforcement officers have for decades been playing a major role in traffic safety
education for elementary public schools. This educational role of police officers is going
to increase because the need for it is increasing. Consider the traffic stop. It is a
window of opportunity for an educational mini-lesson because the motorist and passengers
have got your full attention. In some cases they will know what they did wrong, and in
other cases they will not know. The officer needs to be prepared in order to be
authoritative and effective.
Question 3: What do law enforcement officers need to know in order to play an effective
traffic education role?
There are two parts to this answer.
Part 1: Knowing how to identify the aggressive driver's specific behavior.
For instance New Jersey police uses these traffic violations
Speeding Following Too Close Unsafe Lane Change Driving While Intoxicated
Reckless, Careless or Inattentive Driving Disregard Of Traffic Signs and Signals
Improper Passing Driving While Suspended
The New Jersey Chiefs of Police and Traffic Officers Association have identified
aggressive and impaired drivers as the primary targets of patrol activities. Traffic
enforcement officers are working to identify aggressive driving through observed motor
vehicle violations such as
driving while intoxicated (DWI), speeding, following too closely,
unsafe lane changes, tailgating careless and inattentive driving
disregarding traffic signals and signs failure to keep right
flashing lights to move the slow driver out of the way cutting drivers off
hand gestures weaving through traffic needlessly honking the horn
Part 2: Being adequately prepared to deliver an effective mini-lesson
Knowing how to suggest driving tips to aid in dealing with aggressive drivers without
upsetting them or causing the law-abiding motorist harm. For instance, New Jersey officers
have been taught to give out these tips:
Make every attempt to get out of the aggressive driver's path
Do not challenge them Avoid eye contact Do not make or return gestures
Do not block the passing lane and avoid switching lanes without signaling
Do not tailgate Allow plenty of time for your trip Stay away from drivers behaving erratically
More effective methods involve the use of a Traffic Enforcement Education Curriculum.
DrDriving's TEE CARDS are samples of such a curriculum. Officers themselves need to
know and understand the curriculum before they can believably distribute the cards and
legitimately play the combined role of enforcer and educator. This knowledge will make the
officers better traffic educators as well as better drivers, on and off the job.
DrDriving recommends the RoadRageous Video Course as an effective method of teaching
law enforcement officers a knowledge and understanding of aggressive driving psychology.
This course prepares the officer to understand the TEE CARDS they distribute. A
description of the course may be viewed at this Web address: DrDriving.org/video
Question 4: What are "Traffic Emotions"?
Driving involves the whole person: emotions, thoughts, sensory input, motor output.
It's common knowledge that your driver personality in traffic can be very different from
how you act and feel at other times. This is because our emotions in traffic are specific
to that environment or situation. Traffic emotions are generally undisciplined habits we
acquire in childhood while riding in cars. Most drivers are unaware of their traffic
emotions until they make an effort to monitor themselves.
Question 5: What is "Emotions Education"?
People believe that emotions and feelings just happen due to circumstances. However
psychologists have proven that emotions and feelings are "affective habits" we
acquire as part of our up-bringing. It's common knowledge that you can change the way you
feel about something if you are motivated to do so. Educating your emotions is necessary
for survival and happiness. One of our primary responsibilities as drivers is emotions
education. We are required to monitor our emotions behind the wheel so that we may modify
them. Emotions education is being used in public schools (e.g., "Self Science
Program" and "Conflict Resolution" Curriculum) and in the workplace
("Emotional Intelligence" workshops and "Anger Management" clinics).
Question 6: Why do we need traffic emotions education?
Our society is gearing up to face and handle the epidemic of aggressive driving that
causes 42,000 fatalities, 6 million serious injuries, and 250 billion dollars in annual
cost, not counting untold human suffering. Law enforcement initiatives are becoming more
aggressive, and invasive, and States are passing new and tough aggressive driving
legislation that land people in jail. Motorists consider traffic aggressiveness as their
number one worst daily hassle. People's health is affected, and the nation's glue of
civility is torn apart by the war zone on our highways. Neither legislation, nor law
enforcement, nor driver education can solve the problem totally, though they all help and
are necessary, and should be increased. But what will solve the problem altogether is
general, widespread traffic emotions education.
Question 7: How do TEE CARDS help and who needs them?
We need to place in people's hands a method of learning and changing. We need to
empower people, not just with cars, but with "inner power tools" that will make
them effective in their own traffic emotions education. Each TEE CARD is an inner power
tool. When you study one TEE CARD, you're building one block in your Driving Psychology.
The more TEE CARDS you study, the more building blocks you have for your knowledge of
driving psychology. This is the knowledge that you need for traffic emotions education.
My research as DrDriving convinces me that every single driver needs traffic emotions
education, and TEE CARDS will help everyone of all ages and all experiences. Driving is a
lifelong activity and it is so complex and so changing over time that you constantly have
to keep up-grading yourself. Children need TEE CARDS because they use the roads and
parking lots and ride in cars. Our driver education starts then, not later. People who
drive all day long--like police, truckers, taxi cabs, etc., also need TEE CARDS. Race car
drivers too, because they get to drive home on our roads!
Question 8: Are there additional benefits to TEE CARDS?
Yes. Society, the nation, the community, the neighborhood, the family, the school, the
workplace--all benefit when drivers change their hostile emotions and cultivate positive,
supportive emotions. This change generalizes to other situations because emotions
intervene everywhere all day long.
Question 9: What formats and sizes do TEE CARDS come in?
The design of TEE CARDS is a combination of scientific knowledge, instructional design,
and creative or artistic presentation. They come in all shapes and materials since
distributors or producers create their own innovative features. However, one aspect
remains unchanged in all TEE CARDS: their content. This is provided exclusively by
DrDriving. They are the creation of Dr. Leon James and Dr. Diane Nahl, the two founders of
We need more parental involvement in a positive way.
Currently the parental influence on children is negative. We expose our children to years
of aggressive driving attitudes as they ride in our cars. Then, as they get behind the
wheel, they act like their parents, or worse. We start our driver education as infants
riding in cars. We pick up attitudes and feelings and orientations--all non-verbally, by
Later, we do it verbally as well. We imitate and practice these attitudes on
streets, in parking lots, in shopping centers. So we need to teach children about
civility, human rights, and compassion in public places where we share space. Attitudes
towards others' rights and respect for authority should be taught in elementary school
(this is called Affective Driver Ed).
Then in intermediate school, children should be
taught how to reason about traffic and pedestrian behavior and events (this is called
Cognitive Driver Ed). Finally in high school, teenagers would get hands on driving
instruction (this is called sensorimotor Driver Ed). Beyond that, each individual would be
enrolled in a QDC of their choice, either neighborhood, church, or workplace. This plan
would take care of Lifelong Driver Ed and would transform our killing highways into a
highway community in one generation. I have written a video course that focuses on the
this social responsibility of drivers--available here.
As a society, we must recognize that cultural transmission and tradition are
responsible factors in aggressive driving, and contribute to it. Therefore cultural
techniques of re-education are needed to reverse the generational trend. We can collect
all sorts of advice and hints for how to stop the increase in aggressive driving (see my
large collection here, culled from the Web). If this trend is not reversed, we can expect
aggressive driving to increase, despite the more extensive law enforcement and electronic
'surveillance' initiatives that are being instituted throughout the country.
solution or elimination of this problem lies in consciously and deliberately reversing the
cultural tradition that allows us to express hostility behind the wheel (see here for a
list of the top 100 complaints drivers have about one another). It's obvious that feelings
run very intense and to solve this problem is easier said than done. In my role as
DrDriving, I have been providing various types of self-management tools and socially
dynamic methods of motivating drivers to accept the idea of Lifelong Driver
Education as a
matter of social responsibility, as outlined in this document. The overall goal of driver
education must be explicitly stated in positive terms, rather than merely negative. The
goal must be to evolve a cultural norm for driving that can be called Supportive Driving,
in opposition to Aggressive Driving. Oddly enough, research by psychologists has remained
limited to a few problems--see my large bibliography of driving research here
We need to understand the difference between these two opposing driving styles and
philosophies. Car society is now beginning its second century. For the first century
society was able to license drivers through minimal training and examination, and this
approach worked for a while, but things started braking down in the 1950s when more and
more drivers began to drive the fast moving vehicles placed in their hands. The death rate
climbed to above 50,000 for many years. It was brought down to its current 40,000
fatalities a year through better car design, better road engineering, more safety laws,
better paramedical services.
Still, 40,000 fatalities year after year turns the highways
into war zones (about 40,000 American fatalities were incurred in the entire six-year
Vietnam war). Add to this amazing carnage, 5 million crashes with enormous suffering and
disruption to lives for millions, and an economic cost of 200 billion per year, and you
begin to realize that we are having an enormously serious problem to fix. The goal: to
turn the 177 million drivers in this nation (the number is climbing...) into Supportive
Drivers. Since this philosophy is contrary to tradition, habit, and convenience we are
faced with people's massive opposition to their self-transformation. Drivers have their
own theory as to why drivers makes them mad. These popular but non-adaptive attitudes and
rationalizations must be abandoned in favor of emotionally more intelligent alternatives.
I believe that the enormous driving challenge that is facing our society today can
become an opportunity for strengthening our community and evolving more humane and
compassionate relations with each other. Instead of mutual antagonism, we will feel and
express mutual support. Driving can increase our humanity by forcing us to make peace on
our highways and streets and parking lots. We must, or else we will see an increase of
hostile behavior in public places, as people are now beginning to talk about
parking lot rage pedestrian rage bicyclists rage passengers rage
air rage (sky rage) etc. See here.
and so on. Let's not go that route! And yet more and more people will be tempted to slide
into these dangers forms of behaviors due to social imitation and emotional contagion.
Listing of Complaints
"What makes me mad"
Dr. Leon James
Note: I kept the language typed in by the respondents, but I lumped similar versions
that refer to basically the same act. You'll note, however, that additional lumping
together is possible, depending your situation. The purpose of this list is to help law
enforcement become familiar with how motorists describe each other's behavior. This type
of empirical list can also be consulted when considering the language of aggressive
driving legislation--see above. You can obtain more examples from my article on the Nine
Zones of Driving Behavior.
people who don't know how to drive through four-way stops
putting on the turn signal a mile early
slowing down then speeding up then slowing down then speeding up then
talking on hand held cell phone when traffic is congested
hostile --not merging when lanes are closed until last possible
cutting into your lane then slowing down (cutting off or cutting too
close or cutting in slowing down)
following too close
general disregard for anyone else on the road
gestures intended to insult the other driver
going slow in the fast lane (or hogging)
having bright lights on (not lowering them)
honking (when they shouldn't)
jamming in front rather than waiting in line
jockeying for position at the red light
never giving any one a break
not allowing me to change lanes
not concentrating on what is occurring on the road.
not getting out of the passing lane when a car is coming up fast
not letting you into a lane
not paying attention
passing too close
passing unsafely, just being plain stupid
pedestrian abuse--being rude to walkers who have the right of way
shining bright lights
slamming on brakes
speeding up to beat the traffic light
speeding up when one is trying to change lanes so that you have to
wait and enter the lane behind them
stereo too loud
thoughtless and in a hurry
trying to run over me
wanting to just slam on the brakes when people are tailgating me
yelling (cursing, yelling back)
disobeying traffic laws
driving on your side of the road-forcing you to stop
failure to yield
going through red lights
going too fast
lane changing in a reckless manner without signaling or erratically
or weaving through traffic
not keeping up with speed limit (too fast or too slow)
not stopping at stop signs
passing on a double yellow line
passing on the right shoulder when a car is turning left
racing on the freeway
running red lights
turning without signaling
showing off their car
want to get somewhere fast, rushing, being impatient
being boxed in
blocking passing lane (holding up traffic in the left lane)
closing the gap (speeding up to prevent a vehicle from changing
lanes, even when the lane-changer has signal on)
cutting drivers off (slowing down in front of me)
double parking in rush hour.
driving slow (5-10 mph under speed limit even under good conditions)
not being considerate of other drivers
failure to keep right
following too closely (sometimes with brights on)
going under the speed limit when its not necessary
honking when at a red light
leaving their brights on at night
making a complete stop just to turn a corner
merging at the last minute with 1/2 mile warning
not signaling when changing lanes or making turns
not slowing down for pedestrians (even in a marked crosswalk)
not yielding to merging traffic
not yielding to pedestrians
other car speeding up when I am passing on two lane highway
parking in handicap zone
passing stopped school buses
racing people to cut them off before the lane ends
weaving or zig-zagging (switching lanes continuously trying to get to
San Antonio Police
Department's Cool Operator
The San Antonio Police Department is the first in the nation to use DrDriving's TEE
Cards. Its special program has three components:
1) Special aggressive driving prevention course for its officers using the RoadRageous
Video Course and the Officer Workbook.
2) TEE Cards handed out during traffic stops. See their Drive Smart--Be a Cool Operator
Program to which we contributed
3) Aggressive driving surveys before and after the initiative. Take a look at the Online
Aggressive Driving Survey for San Antonio
4) PSAs during the initiative. (see below)
Driving Radio PSA
Sounds of the road, cars
whizing by, loud
Voice One: Look at the guy.
Hes been jumping from lane to lane, weaving in and out. Now hes riding the
bumper of that white car.
Voice Two: Slow down and give him
room. I dont want be next to him when he whips over again.
Police siren, starting out low, building in
Voice One: Al1 right. Thats
what I like to see. Hes busted!
Voice Two: That must be the
Aggressive Driving Patrol. I heard about it on the news. Police officers are riding in an
unmarked car, ticketing aggressive drivers.
[Voice over-as if coming from the radio]
Chief: This is Chief Al Philippus of
the San Antonio Police Department. Be a safe driver not an aggressive driver.
Its the law.
Driving Radio PSA
:30 Live Copy
Aggressive driving is a dangerous, illegal and growing problem in our
community. But, if you think aggressive driving is something only other people
do think again.
If you speed, weave through traffic, tailgate, or run red-lights, you
are among the growing number of aggressive drivers. But you're not alone. Most people,
even law-abiding citizens, drive aggressively at times. The problem is, aggressive driving
So, take a deep breath - slow down - allow more time get to your
destination - and back off the other guy's bumper. You'll get there. But, not if you have
a wreck. Drive Smart -- be a Cool Operator.
A message from the San Antonio Police Department.
:30 Live Copy
The way you drive is contagious. Think about it. If you are angry and
hostile toward other drivers, youll get anger and hostility in return.
If you tailgate the driver in front of you trying to get him to move
over or speed up, hes probably going to hit his brakes instead.
On the other hand, if you are courteous and cooperative toward other
drivers, youll usually get the same treatment in return. After all, when was the
last time a driver yelled at you for letting him merge or pass safely?
Angry, aggressive driving is dangerous, illegal and leads to automobile
crashes. But you can stop it. Drive Smart -- be a Cool Operator. Its contagious.
A message from the San Antonio Police Department.
Driving Radio PSA
"Put Your Pride in the Back Seat"
:30 Live Copy
Aggressive driving is a dangerous and growing problem in
our community. Speeding, weaving through traffic, tailgating, and not yielding are common
How you react to an aggressive driver is important. You cant
change the other drivers behavior but you can control your own. When a driver
rides your bumper or cuts you off, put your pride in the back seat and move out of the
way. Resist the urge to teach the other driver a lesson.
Challenging an aggressive driver turns YOU into an aggressive driver.
Its just not worth it. Drive Smart -- be a Cool Operator.
A message from the San Antonio Police Department.
Driving Radio PSA
"Be a Cool Operator" :30 Live Copy
As a part of Project Cool Operator, San Antonio Police Officers
are ticketing aggressive drivers.
If you speed, weave through traffic, run red lights, fail to yield, or
change lanes without signaling, look in your rear view mirror. There may be a police
officer behind you pulling you over.
Aggressive driving is dangerous and illegal. It is a leading cause of
traffic crashes, injuries and deaths. But you can stop it. Drive Smart -- be a Cool
A message from the San Antonio Police Department.
San Antonio Police
"DRIVE SMART BE A COOL
Education (highest level)
Some high school
High school graduate
Where do you live in San Antonio? Zip Code ________
If not in San Antonio, what county
Type or model of car you drive _______________
Years of driving experience?
1-4 years 5-9 10-14 More than 14
Are you a commercial driver?
Yes No If Yes, Explain ___________
1. How would you characterize your driving in
the past 12 months? Pick only one.
(5) Mostly aggressive
(4) Frequently aggressive
(3) Occasionally aggressive
(2) Frequently non-aggressive
(1) Mostly non-aggressive
2. How would you characterize other people's
driving in San Antonio during the past 12 months? Pick only one.
(5) Mostly aggressive
(4) Frequently aggressive
(3) Occasionally aggressive
(2) Frequently non-aggressive
(1) Mostly non-aggressive
3. Has driving in SA become more or less aggressive in the past 12 months?
(5) Much more
(3) About the same
(1) Can't say
PLEASE COMPLETE OTHER SIDE
behaviors would you associate with aggressive driving?
Driving through red lights
Tailgating (following too close)
Frequent lane changing or weaving
Blocking cars trying to pass
Braking suddenly to punish
Not yielding right of way when
Passing on the median to avoid
Changing lanes without signaling
5. In the
last 12 months have these behaviors:
Stayed the same
drivers in San Antonio generally hostile or friendly to each other during your daily drive
to work or home?
(3) Neither hostile or friendly
(2) Somewhat friendly
(1) Very friendly
many incidents of aggressive driving have you experienced in the past week during your
daily commute to work or home?
6-10 More than 20
type of initiatives by law enforcement do you support to curb aggressive driving?
Combination of both education
More visible police presence
More use of warnings
No.44C2 Attribution Bias
in Driving Exchanges
"The driver is an idiot and wants you to miss your
It's normal to try to figure things out when
something happens: what's going on, who is doing it, why they're doing it, and so
on. Typically, we assess incoming information and come to a logical
conclusion. When it comes to driving, drivers often ignore important
information and make the wrong conclusion which then gives them trouble. The
following statements describe how drivers feel in some common situations, and the percent
of people surveyed who agree or disagree with that conclusion or mentality.
driving in the left lane in heavy traffic and you're trying to switch to the right lane so
you can make a right turn at the next intersection. The driver in the
car next to you sees your signal and closes the gap, preventing you from entering
the lane. You miss your turn as a result. What do you think probably happened?
1) The driver is an idiot and wants you to miss your turn.
I agree with this 46%
No, I do not agree 54%
2) The driver was not being alert and closed
the gap by habit, not even realizing it.
I agree with this 50%
No, I do not agree 50%
3) The driver is power hungry and enjoys
denying what you want.
I agree with this 57%
No, I do not agree 43%
4) The driver needs better training to avoid
I agree with this 84%
No, I do not agree 16%
The vast majority of drivers
agree that one is not supposed to close the gap and deny entry to another car, and a
driver who does that "needs better training to avoid such errors" (item 4) and
learn to become "more alert" or cooperative (item 2). But,
about half of the respondents agree with the idea that making such an error turns
you into "a power hungry idiot who enjoys offending others" (items 1 and
3). How about you??
If half of the drivers on the road think that the other half are power hungry
idiots who enjoy annoying you, then we have a serious problem on our highways!
Note that a majority of
people disagree with the explanation that the driver who closes the gap does it "by
habit, not even realizing it" (item 2). And yet this is answer is more likely,
as you yourself can know by observing your own driving more closely. You will find
that it's a common thing to do--unconsciously closing the gap when you notice a car
wanting to switch to your lane ahead of you. It's done unconsciously because we acquire
the tendency in childhood while we ride in our parents' car. And if not, we still do
it for years and it becomes unconscious.
Here are some common
things people say when asked why drivers make them mad. Do they sound familiar to
Drivers are macho idiots
acting like idiots talking on cell phones trying to impress girlfriends.
For the most part, people are tired of being taken
advantage of, or dealing with idiots, so
they take it out while driving.
Some are just plain idiots,
some don't know any better and some are selfish.
People are idiots
driving slow in the passing lane or pulling out in front of me and then going slow.
Many crashes are caused by people who can't stand not
to be first and drive like a pure idiot.
Then you have two idiots, than three, then
...well you know the results. One idiots
leads to another.
Again, it's not aggressiveness that bothers me. It's
the fact that people are stupididiots who don't' know how to drive.
For the most part, people are tired of being taken
advantage of, or dealing with idiots, so
they take it out while driving.
additional information, visit the Web at DrDriving.org
or e-mail DrDriving@DrDriving.org
TEE CARDS Copyright 1999 Dr.
Leon James and Dr. Diane Nahl
Do not use without permission
No.42C2 Symptoms of
Paranoia, Suspicion, Blame
Look at some of the
symptoms of confrontational thinking behind the wheel. Here are the
results of a national survey on the Web See how you would answer each item.
driver said: "If a driver behind me blows his horn and there is no one else around,
its obvious hes blowing his horn at me. Why else would he be honking?"
Yes, I agree with
this 48% No, I do
not agree 52%
2) One driver said: "A lot of
drivers can see that Im in a hurry. So what do they do? They intentionally try to
slow me down or block my way. Thats how they get their kicks."
I agree with this 22%No,
I do not agree 8%
3) If two drivers start yelling at
each other, then one of them gets out of the car and starts a fist fight with the other,
the driver who got out of the car and started the fist fight is solely responsible. The
driver who just yelled and didnt want to get into a fight, is not responsible.
I agree with this 17%No,
I do not agree 83%
Let's look at item 3.
You can see from the results that the vast majority of drivers can figure out that if you
get into a fight you share the blame no matter who started it, as long as
it's clear that you had a choice to stay out of it. People understand that if
you yell at someone, a fight can start. So it doesn't matter if later you claim you
didn't mean to start a fight. Note that 17% still don't understand this--that's 1 in
every 6 drivers! They need more training in how to think appropriately about driving
Item 2 is a kind of
paranoia to which drivers are vulnerable since driving situations are often unclear.
It's possible that a driver might intentionally slow you down and get a kick out of it,
but the fact that we think this way every time, or most of the time, is a sure indicator
that it is paranoia, not reality. Ask yourself whether you get your
kicks by intentionally slowing others down. It seems that it's always the
other driver who tries to do you in. That's not reality.
Item 1 splits the
population down the middle. The reality is that you don't really know why a driver
does something. Keep track of how many times you think a driver is going to
do one thing, then does another. It happens often. So the fact is, we're not
very good at explaining why a driver has honked (maybe the hand slipped, maybe they saw
someone and are trying to catch their attention, maybe they're fooling around with each
other inside the car, maybe the horn has a short, etc.).
Your 'Gunny Sacking' List
that leads to aggressive driving
Observe which ones you subconsciously keep track of
How many cars you're passing
How many cars pass you by
Which lane is faster or slower as you progress
Whether someone 'forced' you to brake
How many lights you made without having to stop
How many times you got to be the 'leader' of the pack
How many minutes you were able to shave off on today's trip
Whether some driver was acting "pushy" towards you
Whether you got away with speeding over that stretch of road
Feeling insulted and wondering whether you're a wimp if you don't retaliate
Whether you were able to prevent someone from entering your lane
Whether someone prevented you from doing something
Most drivers keep track of several of these items. How
The spirit of territorial
competition governs this economy of keeping track and acting on it. This mental driving economy serves to maintain an aggressive
culture on highways and streets. As soon as our gunny-sack of complaints is full on any
particular trip, we sense the passion of self-righteousness swell in our chest, and we
feel justified in letting it fly, exploding with rage, with
disapproval, with condemnation, with thoughts of violence. Next
time you catch yourself keeping track of these competitive points, tell yourself to JUST
STOP IT, and then think about all the reasons why it's smarter,
safer, and more pleasant not to drive that way.
Answer each question yourself and ask a passenger who knows you, to fill out the back,
answering about you as a driver.
complain to myself about other drivers or the traffic.
I get annoyed or irritated by some drivers.
I feel frustration and anger in congested traffic.
I drive like I'm in a hurry, leaving slower drivers
I honk at drivers who upset me.
I tailgate slower drivers who refuse to move over.
I yell at drivers, and if they deserve it, I give them the
I break speed limits.
I go through red lights.
drive impaired (alcohol, medication, fatigue).
2 or more EVERY answers=Your road rage tendency is at a dangerous level.
5 or more SOME answers=You have moderate road rage.
7 or more NEVER answers=You're in control of yourself. Congratulations!
Now compare your answers about yourself with the
passenger's answers about you.
on How to Manage Your Outbreak of Anger in Traffic
Slowly count to ten.
you control by interfering with your natural tendency to vent your anger and whip yourself
into a rage or frenzy. While you force yourself to count slowly, your adrenaline in
the blood goes back down to normal levels.
Count your blessings.
Forgive and forget
the positive side of driving, even traffic. Congestion and traffic are more
aggravating when you fail to cope with your expectations. Think about the
people who are waiting for you to arrive and how you don't want to disappoint them.
Think about your family members and favorite people: one of them may be in the car you
just cut off or denied entry into your lane. If you have religious feelings, think
about how you would drive if God were your passenger!
Make funny noises
you something to do other than venting your anger or seeking to return an insult.
Laughter not only interrupts your negative thinking, it unloads the stress.
Use the Castanza Technique
in a bad mood, act the opposite of what you feel like. It worked for George on
Seinfeld--remember that episode?
Pretend you're from Hawaii and drive with Aloha
have to feel pleased in order to act like a peaceful driver. Even if you don't feel
like being nice or polite, you still can act that way. The other motorists will not
know the difference--and that's what counts. Do your courtesy waves and
smiles. Put on a pleasant face. The way you drive is contagious. If
you're nice, others feel the pressure to be less hostile. They can't help it.
You're influencing their behavior, not by retaliating, but by peacemaking.
Think of alternative reasons why someone does
Diving with emotional intelligence is the ability
to think of alternative explanations about the behavior of other drivers, and to accept
them as legitimate. For example, the slow driver up ahead who is holding up the lane
may not be a jerk or an idiot: Perhaps he is sick. Perhaps she is old.
Perhaps he is confused. Perhaps she is not aware of the drivers behind her.
Perhaps he is a student driver. All sorts of possibilities may be true when
you consider the great diversity of drivers in our vast motorized nation--about 125
million of them on the road every day.
Develop an attitude of latitude
Convince yourself of
this: We need to create a culture of patience on
our highways. t is smart to subdue our emotions when they carry us away into
hostilities with our mobile community. It is intelligent to choose positive
explanations, rather than negative, because they may be equally true, and at the same
time, they are more peaceful, less disturbing, more community oriented, less alienating,
more deeply satisfying.
Try it next
time you drive, and prove to yourself that you can do it, and that it is ultimately
more deeply satisfying than the "you stupid jerk" approach.
Commit yourself to a Lifelong Program of Driver
that you are part of the problem by the way you drive.
This is not easy. Most drivers think
of themselves as
"excellent" and are not aware of their own mistakes and habits. But if
you can admit that aggressive driving is a cultural norm you learned in childhood when
being driven by parents, then you can begin see it as a national or societal problem
in which we are both perpetrators and victims.
(2) WITNESS your
own errors and transgressions.
We need to take stock of how we function as drivers.
Ask yourself: Are you captive of
your own negativity and irrationality? We must realize that along
with learning to drive, comes learned negativity and learned irrationality.
These are cultural norms or habits of driving
transmitted from generation to generation.
Unconscious habits can be made conscious, and then they can be modified.
Ask yourself: Are you thinking in the
language of retaliation?
We learn our driving style and outlook from
our parents and from the media. By the time we start driving at 15 or 16, we have
been exposed to thousands of scenes depicting
Behaving Badly (DBB). So now we need to backtrack from all that aggressiveness,
hostility, and speed with which we become familiar in movies and commercials.
(3) MODIFY your errors and habits one step at a time.
When you see the mistakes of other drivers, choose to be concerned rather than cynical. This is
your free choice. It's a moral decision. When someone is tailgating you, choose to be a peacemaker, not a warrior. This is a
rational choice because it allows you to retain control over
the situation. If you choose the warrior's way, you loose control
over the situation, not knowing how the other person will respond to your provocation.
A hit-and-run "gone
terribly wrong" was how sheriff's officials described a fender-bender between two
pickup truck drivers that ended in a shootout Thursday night in northeast El Paso County.
One man was killed. The other remained at Penrose Hospital on Friday with a gunshot wound
to the abdomen.
The shooting stemmed from a
crash that occurred about 7:30 p.m. Thursday on Powers Boulevard just south of Stetson
Hills Boulevard. The man in the red Dodge Dakota was "driving erratically" when
he bumped Bispo's blue Ford pickup, Hilte said.
The Dakota driver then wheeled
around Bispo's Ford and sped north on Powers Boulevard, Hilte said. Bispo, a civilian
employee at Fort Carson, followed as the driver turned east onto Dublin Boulevard and
parked on the shoulder.
"He pulled over about a
car length back, and it just went bad from there," Hilte said. Both men got out of
their vehicles wielding handguns.
Words were exchanged.
Shots were fired.
Blood was spilled. Bispo's
girlfriend was still on the phone with 911 dispatchers when the shooting started. On-scene
investigators found about a dozen shell casings - two from the Dakota driver's revolver,
the rest from Bispo's 9 mm semiautomatic pistol.
While enlisted in the Army,
Bispo qualified as a sharpshooter with an M-1 rifle, according to military records. The
Dakota driver died of a gunshot wound to the chest shortly after the shooting. Neither
driver was licensed to carry a concealed weapon.
Here are two drivers who got into a dispute, the result of which was that
one driver is dead, while the other faces possible charges of a serious nature for his
future. This is not a good situation for either driver, obviously.
Warning: this has happened hundreds of times this year, where one driver is dead,
and another is facing homicide charges. The one who did the killing did not plan to
do so. Could this happen to you? The fact is that most of the "killers" in a road rage
dispute were taken by surprise at the ferocity of their response.
these elements in the story on the left:
(1) the first driver was
driving in an alcohol impaired state. He chose to do so, which led to the next
(2) the first driver left
the scene of the crash after causing a fender bender with a second car. He chose to
do so, which led to the next event.
(3) the second driver went
in pursuit to obtain the license number. Pursuing another vehicle is not dangerous
and illegal. But the driver had a second motive: to confront the fleeing
driver. Evidence: he did not just get the license number. He
chose to stop, when he could have just driven off after getting the license plate.
(4) The first driver chose
to stop. This may have been an attempt to confront the second driver, or something
else. We do not know. The second driver saw this, and he did not know either.
(5) The second driver chose
to stop behind the first car. This then set up the next event. If he had not
stopped, or if he had stopped some distance away, the first driver may still be alive.
(6) The second driver chose
to approach the first car, or at least, chose to exit his car. He could have stayed
in the truck and wait for police to arrive.
(7) The second driver chose
to exit his car with a weapon. This weapon was visible to the first driver.
(8) The first driver chose
to shoot. If he had not started to shoot, he may still been alive today.
(9) The second driver chose
to shoot back. The first driver gets hit and dies.
As you can see by these 9
steps, each driver had several chances to back down and not make the next move that led to
disaster. Is this a road rage case? Yes, because it involves two drivers
making a series of moves that lead to a violent exchange, when either one of them could
have broken the deadly dual by not going along with the next step in the series.
Remember: it takes an
unbroken series of links in a long chain of bad choices to get into a road rage shoot out.
Children Against Road Rage
Drivers Behaving Badly on TV--Activities To Do
1. In a
classroom or family setting, you can discuss various TV programs and commercials. Have
everyone contribute to examples of Drivers Behaving Badly. Discuss each one in terms of
its risks and its potential for unconscious imitation by drivers.
2. In a family or group setting, you can view videos or TV
and point out scenes of Drivers Behaving Badly. Discuss their potential for lulling us to
minimize risk and injury from certain events, giving us a distorted image of danger and
injury. Some of the things you can point out that happen frequently are the following. Use
this list to identify and record scenes of DBB.
taking the eyes of the road (count the
hitting a parked car or object and not
riding up a rocky mountain or river bed with
jumping out of the car while still in motion
yelling at passengers, other drivers,
driving and drinking
driving in a confused mental state
going through red light when in a hurry
passengers fighting or partying passengers
urging driver to speed and take risks
children behind the wheel, driving trying to
get away from a police car with sirens on
chasing an ambulance or emergency vehicle
driving off in anger, burning rubber
driving through traffic in a reckless manner
joking about running over someone
deliberately running over someone
3. Encourage children to keep a TV log of
Drivers Behaving Badly by writing down the date, the program or commercial, and the event.
Take time to discuss with them the implications of uncritically watching thousands of such
events before you get to be a driver.
4. Have children of all ages make drawings
or posters of Drivers Behaving Badly scenes and have them discuss the consequences of
watching these scenes uncritically.
Children Against Road Rage
Drivers Behaving Badly on TV--Power
Drivers Behaving Badly
The power rangers have just gotten into their
racecars and are speeding across a dry lakebed.
The tires are kicking up huge amounts of dust
and particles into the air.
The cars are also driving over trees and
The cars seem to fly and join up with each
other to form a huge robot.
The cars in this cartoon are just running
over anything in their path
Power Rangers Turbo
cartoon is geared for young children and the material is presented in a format for a child
to view, but the hidden meaning in the cartoon plays on the thinking of a child. It is
appealing to the child in order to get the child to want the toy that comes with the
cartoon. It is also showing the child that they can do anything as long as they are
fighting with someone.
When you are behind the wheel, try to get in touch with your higher feelings and use them to fight your lower feelings
Reaffirm to yourself
the value of cooperation, community, altruism, support, tolerance, and rationality. The
highway really enlarges our community membership. It is like a 'moving neighborhood' or even a 'virtual neighborhood' in
which the membership may last only a few seconds, or a couple of minutes. The drivers
around us are not enemies and competitors, they are neighbors and citizens representing
great diversity--to which we need to accommodate willingly, as in a neighborhood.
Each little exchange with another driver constitutes a 'mini-encounter' and for a few seconds we form a 'mini-relationship' -- just like we do at the post
office or bank line, though not the same way. Think with compassion not rejection, about
drivers who are sick--yet MUST drive
drivers who are in emotional turmoil due to
drivers who are new to the area and don't
know exactly where they're going
drivers who have children in the car who are
making a distracting racket
drivers who are old and less alert and
reactive, thus needing more leeway
drivers who are inexperienced
drivers who are anxious and scared to make a
drivers who don't know how to park in a small
Above all think of this: what kind of a
person are you really, really, when behind the wheel you act like you don't care about
these human needs that are really, really there on the highway, and when you act like
someone who cares only about yourself, feeling no concern for the legitimate needs of
other drivers all around.
No.57C2Anger Control: Distinguish more accurately between insult or
mistake or incapacity on the other
yourself that we start our careers as drivers with a culturally inspired norm of negative
attitude and hostile competition on highways, as clearly portrayed by drivers behaving
badly in car commercials, cartoons, and movies, as well as repeatedly enacted by our
parents who drive us to school or soccer and ballet practice.
yell at passengers who are terrified by the
way we drive
bad mouth pedestrians, police officers,
transportation engineers, city councilmen, and safety experts.
To break through this negative
driving culture, start with your own anger behind the wheel. Remind
yourself that getting angry behind the wheel is an automatic, natural response to one's
territoriality feelings. Observe how your anger quickly dissipates within 5 to 7 seconds, UNLESS you rekindle the fire of emotion by venting your
anger through self-righteous indignation, e.g.
How dare they do this?
That's really stupid.
What gives them the right to...
I can't let them get away with that
During the critical 5 to 7 initial seconds after the
"offending" event, use breathing tricks to control the emotion
breathe slowly and deeply
count to 10
make funny animal sounds
The breath controls
the thought, and thought supports the emotion.
Then, when the surge of adrenaline is over, and your
breathing returns to normal, give yourself a pep talk
how it's better to stay calm
how you would prefer that
how you want to be more tolerant and
how you don't want any hassles
Make yourself distinguish
This increases your
emotional intelligence as a driver and allows you to control your emotions
in an adequate way, given that you are being constantly challenged on the road. Aggressive
driving is a response to biased interpretations. Drivers get mad when they
interpret another driver's act as an insult or negligence. The negative emotion cannot occur UNLESS we interpret
the other's act as an intended insult or a negligent lack of concern for our safety.
By deciding in our mind that the driver's
act is insult or negligence, we are automatically setting ourselves up for the fall--the
emotional explosion of anger through which we lose it and then act dangerously and
mindlessly. If you let it go that far, you need to back up, reverse yourself, by using the
other techniques for self-control. But it's far easier and more effective if you prevent
the anger from occurring in the first place. And you accomplish this by maintaining the
distinction between insult vs. mistake, negligence vs. incapacity.
99% of the time you can correctly assume
that the other driver's act was not an insult but a mistake, or else, that it was not some
heartless negligence but some incapacity or impairment due to life circumstances. This
positive interpretation may not be our first preference, since getting angry is so natural
and satisfying! However, getting angry is shortsighted, and we are left with danger,
insecurity, emptiness, and guilt; or else, with selfish domination and anti-democratic
Positive interpretations of the behavior of
other drivers is the hallmark of supportive, hassle free, smart driving, conscious
driving. It is driving with excellence, safety, and cost effectiveness. It protects you
from driving stress and from the insanity of other drivers. You are contributing to the
general welfare of the highway community and you are affirming the dignity of human