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TEE Cards -- Traffic Enforcement and Education -- Traffic Emotions Education

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Definition of Aggressive Driving

For Law Enforcement and Safety Officials:
Aggressive Driving Questions and Answers About TEE Cards

International Association of Chiefs of Police

IACP Resolution on Aggressive Driving

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 be it

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.

original here


DrDriving's Ongoing Survey of What Drivers Consider Aggressive
Current results:
34. How many many traffic stops have you been subjected to in the past 12 months?
Answer Count Percent
1 or 2 26 20.31%
3 or 4 3 2.34%
5 or more 3 2.34%
zero 96 75.00%
35. To what extent are you an aggressive driver?
Answer Count Percent
I break 1 or 2 driving rules daily 56 44.80%
I break several driving rules daily 14 11.20%
I just about never break driving rules 55 44.00%
36. Rate your excellence as a driver on a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being excellent.
Answer Count Percent
5 9 7.20%
6 3 2.40%
7 28 22.40%
8 35 28.00%
9 28 22.40%
10 11 8.80%
See the full results here

Aggressive Driving Prevention Course

For Law Enforcement
Traffic Enforcement Education with TEE Cards


by Leon James, Ph.D. and Diane Nahl, Ph.D.
Traffic Psychology Educators

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


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: DrDriving.org.

Leon James, Ph. D. and Diane Nahl, Ph.D.

For more information please email Dr. Leon James

Definition of Aggressive Driving

Aggressive driving is driving under the influence of impaired emotions. There are three categories of impaired emotions:

  1. Impatience and Inattentiveness
  2. Power Struggle
  3. 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
  • Rolling stops
  • Cutting corners or rolling over double line
  • Blocking intersection
  • Not yielding
  • 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

  • Driving drunk
  • 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, http://www.aipsnews.com

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

Registration Form here

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 national model

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 before.


"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 victim."

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 nightmares.

"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 dead."

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 said.

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 signals.

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

Date: 2000-09-01

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 drivers—shooting 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 driving.

"Aggressive driving is a lethal cocktail of dangerous driving behavior—speeding, 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 risky—it'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 behavior—not of a stranger on a television screen, but by you, in your car. Accountability is a powerful deterrent to intentional hazardous behavior—especially when that behavior is on the six o' clock news.

original article here

Learner drivers to get 'road rage' practice

Learner drivers in Singapore have a new test to pass before getting their license - 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 accident.

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.

original here

The Three Es: Engineering, Enforcement, Education
by Dr. Leon James

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

  1. voluntary cooperation for a collective traffic goal among otherwise independent strangers
  2. voluntary obedience to traffic control regulations
  3. commitment to achieving high predictability in motorist behavior
  4. lifelong participation in a Quality Driving Circle (QDC)


"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
  • public schools
  • driving schools
  • safety clubs
  • court mandated classes
  • family or individual efforts at Aggressive Driving Prevention.
  • driver self-improvement programs
  • commercial fleets
  • quality driving circles
  • public information programs
  • radio campaigns
  • posters
  • 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 car
  • 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 behavioral objectives:

  • affective objectives (regarding attitude, responsibility, emotions, alertness)
  • cognitive objectives (involving knowledge, judgment, emotional intelligence)
  • sensori-motor objectives (competence in vision and vehicle control).


Definition of "aggressive driving"

(Arizona Law)

For aggressive driving, a person must be caught violating the state's ''reasonable and prudent speed'' law, plus at least two of the following:

• Failing to obey a traffic control device.
• Making an unsafe lane change.
• Overtaking and passing a vehicle on the right by driving off the pavement.
• Following too closely.
• Failing to yield.

The driver also must create an immediate danger to another person or vehicle.

Aggressive driving is a Class 1 misdemeanor that can carry a six-month jail sentence, a fine up to $2,500, plus a 30-day suspension of driver's license and 8 points on the driver's record.

original here

Original article at: http://www.dot.gov/affairs/1999/12299sp.htm
JANUARY 22, 1999

President Clinton and Vice President Gore have made safety this Administration’s highest transportation priority --investing $6.8 billion over the next six years to increase safety on our nation’s 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 America’s 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 families.

And as Secretary of Transportation I have met with the survivors of crashes caused by aggressive driving.

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 Administration’s (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 driver.

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 seeing results.

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. (...)

For Law Enforcement and Safety Officials

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 highway

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

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),
following too closely,
unsafe lane changes,
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 Driving Psychology.

Question 10: How do I get the TEE CARDS?


Please e-mail DrDriving with your request and specific interest.

The New Driver Education for the Year 2000
by Dr. Leon James

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 osmosis.

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.

The full 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" -- Motorists Speak Out  
by Dr. Leon James

Based on DrDriving's Road Rage Survey--National Results 1998

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.

  1. people who don't know how to drive through four-way stops
  2. putting on the turn signal a mile early
  3. slowing down then speeding up then slowing down then speeding up then slowing down
  4. talking on hand held cell phone when traffic is congested
  5. hostile --not merging when lanes are closed until last possible second
  6. aggressive braking or acceleration
  7. being rude
  8. blocking (driveways, turns, passing lane, street, entrance ramp)
  9. cutting into your lane then slowing down (cutting off or cutting too close or cutting in slowing down)
  10. following too close
  11. general disregard for anyone else on the road
  12. gestures intended to insult the other driver
  13. going slow in the fast lane (or hogging)
  14. having bright lights on (not lowering them)
  15. honking (when they shouldn't)
  16. jamming in front rather than waiting in line
  17. jockeying for position at the red light
  18. never giving any one a break
  19. not allowing me to change lanes
  20. not concentrating on what is occurring on the road.
  21. not getting out of the passing lane when a car is coming up fast behind them
  22. not letting you into a lane
  23. not paying attention
  24. obscene gestures
  25. passing dangerously
  26. passing too close
  27. passing unsafely, just being plain stupid
  28. pedestrian abuse--being rude to walkers who have the right of way
  29. preoccupied
  30. preventing passing
  31. reckless driving
  32. shining bright lights
  33. slamming on brakes
  34. speeding up to beat the traffic light
  35. speeding up when one is trying to change lanes so that you have to wait and enter the lane behind them
  36. stereo too loud
  37. thoughtless and in a hurry
  38. trying to run over me
  39. wanting to just slam on the brakes when people are tailgating me
  40. yelling (cursing, yelling back)
  41. disobeying traffic laws
  42. double parking
  43. driving on your side of the road-forcing you to stop
  44. failure to yield
  45. going through red lights
  46. going too fast
  47. lane changing in a reckless manner without signaling or erratically or weaving through traffic
  48. not keeping up with speed limit (too fast or too slow)
  49. not stopping at stop signs
  50. not yielding
  51. passing on a double yellow line
  52. passing on the right shoulder when a car is turning left
  53. racing on the freeway
  54. running red lights
  55. tailgating
  56. turning without signaling
  57. running late
  58. showing off their car
  59. want to get somewhere fast, rushing, being impatient
  60. being inattentive.
  61. being boxed in
  62. blocking passing lane (holding up traffic in the left lane)
  63. closing the gap (speeding up to prevent a vehicle from changing lanes, even when the lane-changer has signal on)
  64. confrontational
  65. cursing
  66. cutting drivers off (slowing down in front of me)
  67. double parking in rush hour.
  68. driving slow (5-10 mph under speed limit even under good conditions)
  69. not being considerate of other drivers
  70. failure to keep right
  71. following too closely (sometimes with brights on)
  72. gesturing insults
  73. going under the speed limit when it’s not necessary
  74. honking
  75. honking when at a red light
  76. leaving their brights on at night
  77. making a complete stop just to turn a corner
  78. merging at the last minute with 1/2 mile warning
  79. not signaling when changing lanes or making turns
  80. not slowing down for pedestrians (even in a marked crosswalk)
  81. not yielding to merging traffic
  82. not yielding to pedestrians
  83. other car speeding up when I am passing on two lane highway
  84. parking in handicap zone
  85. passing illegally
  86. passing stopped school buses
  87. racing people to cut them off before the lane ends
  88. weaving or zig-zagging (switching lanes continuously trying to get to the front)

San Antonio Police Department's Cool Operator Program

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)

Aggressive Driving Radio PSA

Sound Effects Text
Sounds of the road, cars whizing by, loud horn honks Voice One: Look at the guy. He’s been jumping from lane to lane, weaving in and out. Now he’s riding the bumper of that white car.
  Voice Two: Slow down and give him room. I don’t want be next to him when he whips over again.
Police siren, starting out low, building in volume  
  Voice One: Al1 right. That’s what I like to see. He’s 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. It’s the law.

Aggressive Driving Radio PSA

"Think Again"

: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 causes wrecks.

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.

Aggressive Driving
Radio PSA

"It’s Contagious"

:30 Live Copy

The way you drive is contagious. Think about it. If you are angry and hostile toward other drivers, you’ll 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, he’s probably going to hit his brakes instead.

On the other hand, if you are courteous and cooperative toward other drivers, you’ll 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. It’s contagious.

A message from the San Antonio Police Department.

Aggressive 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 examples.

How you react to an aggressive driver is important. You can’t change the other driver’s 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. It’s just not worth it. Drive Smart -- be a Cool Operator.

A message from the San Antonio Police Department.

Aggressive 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 Operator.

A message from the San Antonio Police Department.

Survey demographics

sapd.gif (3426 bytes)

San Antonio Police Department


Age ___________ Male Female
Education (highest level) Some high school

Some college

Graduate studies

High school graduate

College degree

Graduate degree

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 ___________

Survey questions

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

(4) Somewhat more

(3) About the same

(2) Less

(1) Can't say

4. Which behaviors would you associate with aggressive driving? Yelling, insulting, gesturing

Driving through red lights

Tailgating (following too close)


Frequent lane changing or weaving

Blocking cars trying to pass

Braking suddenly to punish tailgaters

Not yielding right of way when required

Passing on the median to avoid traffic

Changing lanes without signaling

Other (explain)___________________________


Yes No

Yes No

Yes No

Yes No

Yes No

Yes No

Yes No

Yes No

Yes No

Yes No

5. In the last 12 months have these behaviors: (3) Increased

(2) Stayed the same

(1) Decreased

6. Are drivers in San Antonio generally hostile or friendly to each other during your daily drive to work or home? (5) Very hostile

(4) Somewhat hostile

(3) Neither hostile or friendly

(2) Somewhat friendly

(1) Very friendly

7. How many incidents of aggressive driving have you experienced in the past week during your daily commute to work or home? 1-5 16-20

6-10 More than 20


8. What type of initiatives by law enforcement do you support to curb aggressive driving? More education

More enforcement (tickets)

Combination of both education

and enforcement

More visible police presence

More use of warnings

Other (explain)__________________ _________________________

Yes No

Yes No


Yes No

Yes No

Yes No

Sample TEE Cards 


No.44C2     Attribution Bias in Driving Exchanges
  "The driver is an idiot and wants you to miss your turn"

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.

You're 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.

Yes, 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.

Yes, I agree with this   50%       No, I do not agree  50%

3) The driver is power hungry and enjoys denying what you want.

Yes, I agree with this   57%       No, I do not agree  43%

4) The driver needs better training to avoid such errors.

Yes, 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??

Consider this:   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 you?

  • 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 stupid idiots 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.

For 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 Confrontational Thinking
                 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.
1)  One driver said: "If a driver behind me blows his horn and there is no one else around, it’s obvious he’s 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 I’m in a hurry. So what do they do? They intentionally try to slow me down or block my way. That’s how they get their kicks."

Yes, 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 didn’t want to get into a fight, is not responsible.

Yes, 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 situations.

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.).


For additional information, visit the Web at
www.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.1C1     The Nation's Top Ten Driving Offenses



Observe which ones  you do

1 Cutting off or, cutting in and slowing down  
2 Lane changing in a reckless manner or, weaving through traffic  
3 Turning without signaling  
4 Cruising in the passing lane, not moving over  
5 Taking too long to turn or to get moving  
6 Yelling, insulting, or gesturing  
7 Rushing or being impatient all the time  
8 Tailgating and following too close  
9 Passing on the right shoulder when a car is turning left  
10 Running red lights or, speeding up to yellow  

For additional information, visit the Web at
www.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.2C1          Driver Check-up


Your 'Gunny Sacking' List
that leads to aggressive driving

Observe which ones  you subconsciously keep track of

1 How many cars you're  passing  
2 How many cars pass you by  
3 Which lane is faster or slower as you progress  
4 Whether someone 'forced' you to brake  
5 How many lights you made without having to stop  
6 How many times you got to be the 'leader' of the pack  
7 How many minutes you were able to shave off on today's trip  
8 Whether some driver was acting "pushy" towards you  
9 Whether you got away with speeding over that stretch of road  
10 Feeling insulted and wondering whether you're a wimp if you don't retaliate  
11 Whether you were able to prevent someone from entering your lane  
12 Whether someone prevented you from doing something  
13 Other:____________________________  
Most drivers keep track of several of these items.  How about you?

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.


For additional information, visit the Web at
www.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.4C1         Test Your Road Rage Tendency

Instructions: Answer each question yourself and ask a passenger who knows you, to fill out the back, answering about you as a driver. on EVERY trip on
1.   I complain to myself about other drivers or the traffic.      
2.   I get annoyed or irritated by some drivers.      
3.   I feel frustration and anger in congested traffic.      
4.   I drive like I'm in a hurry, leaving slower drivers               behind.      
5.    I honk at drivers who upset me.      
6.    I tailgate slower drivers who refuse to move over.      
7.    I yell at drivers, and if they deserve it, I give them the                finger.      
8.    I break speed limits.      
9.    I go through red lights.      
10.  I 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.


For additional information, visit the Web at
www.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.8C2             The Driver's ThreeFold Self:  Phases 1 and 2

threefold1.gif (10817 bytes)

threefold2.gif (9405 bytes)


For additional information, visit the Web at
www.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.9C2               DrDriving's HINTS
       on How to Manage Your Outbreak of Anger in Traffic

Slowly count to ten. This gives 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
Reflect on 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 This gives 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 When you're 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 You don't 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 something 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 Self-improvement You cannot rely on your memory or impression or reputation you have with yourself as a driver, which is mostly exaggerated and unrealistic.   To be accurate and realistic, you need to keep a Driving Log or Diary and make appropriate entries after each trip.  Or, you can record yourself while driving, speaking your thoughts aloud.   What a revelation when you listen to it later!  It's a wake-up call to a driving personality makeover.


For additional information, visit the Web at
www.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.15C2      Rethinking Behind The Wheel Aggression
                                         How to do a
         Driving Personality Makeover

DrDriving's ThreeStep Program

(1) ACKNOWLEDGE 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 generationUnconscious habits can be made conscious, and then they can be modifiedAsk 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 Drivers 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.


For additional information, visit the Web at
www.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.30C6     Scenarios Analysis--Newspaper Stories

Road Rage Shoot Out in Fender Bender

Road Rage Shoot Out

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.

Notice 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 event.

(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.


For additional information, visit the Web at
www.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.33C7               CARRworkbook
                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.

  1. taking the eyes of the road (count the seconds)
  2. hitting a parked car or object and not stopping
  3. giving chase
  4. riding up a rocky mountain or river bed with large boulders
  5. jumping out of the car while still in motion
  6. yelling at passengers, other drivers, pedestrians
  7. driving and drinking
  8. driving in a confused mental state
  9. going through red light when in a hurry
  10. passengers fighting or partying passengers urging driver to speed and take risks
  11. children behind the wheel, driving trying to get away from a police car with sirens on
  12. chasing an ambulance or emergency vehicle
  13. driving off in anger, burning rubber
  14. driving through traffic in a reckless manner
  15. joking about running over someone
  16. deliberately running over someone
  17. Other: ____________________________________
  18. Other: ____________________________________

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.


For additional information, visit the Web at
www.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.34C7               CARRworkbook
                 Children Against Road Rage
         Drivers Behaving Badly on TV--Power Rangers
Drivers Behaving Badly Source Evaluation
  • 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 bushes.
  • 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
Cartoon:  Power Rangers Turbo This 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.

For additional information, visit the Web at
www.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.55C2                      Anger Control:
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 themselves
  • drivers who are in emotional turmoil due to life circumstances
  • 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 left turn
  • drivers who don't know how to park in a small space.

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.


For additional information, visit the Web at
www.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.57C2                             Anger Control:
   Distinguish more accurately between insult or negligence,
and                             mistake or incapacity on the other

First, remind 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.

With this aggressive driving socialization background, we find it normal to

  • cuss
  • be impatient
  • take risks
  • rush
  • tailgate
  • lane hop
  • flip the bird
  • fight for a space
  • cut someone off
  • close ranks to prevent entry by another
  • speed
  • drive through stop signs and red lights
  • 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
  • Etc.

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
  • sing
  • 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 about

  • how it's better to stay calm
  • how you would prefer that
  • how you want to be more tolerant and supportive
  • how you don't want any hassles
  • Etc.

Make yourself distinguish

  • between mistake and insult,
  • between incapacity and negligence.

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 sentiments.

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 beings.


For additional information, visit the Web at
www.DrDriving.org   or e-mail DrDriving@DrDriving.org
TEE CARDS Copyright 1999 Dr. Leon James and Dr. Diane Nahl
Do not use without permission

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