Over just a single decade, fatal crashes linked to aggressive driving rose nearly 500%, jumping from 80 in 2006 to 467 in 2015, according to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
In fact, road rage is a factor in more than half of all fatal crashes, according to SambaSafety. Examples of road rage include yelling out the window, rude or obscene gestures, throwing objects, unnecessary horn honking, tailgating, ramming, sideswiping, or forcing a driver off the road.
No matter how experienced and professional, any fleet driver can be prone to aggressive driving and road rage at times. Multiple factors can trigger it — from working long hours, sitting in traffic jams, or dealing with confrontation with other aggressive drivers.
It is up to fleet operators to do all they can to prevent their drivers from making unsafe choices out of anger or frustration. SambaSafety offered the following advice on ways to prevent road rage.
Tip 1: Alleviate stress
Most road rage incidents happen because of already emotionally charged drivers. If your drivers find themselves frustrated or upset, it could prove worthwhile to calm down before choosing to get behind the wheel. Even small factors, such as spilled coffee or a driver not using their blinker, can contribute to heightened stress and emotional levels when a driver is already on edge.
Tip 2: Be on time
Running late is one of the leading reasons given for road rage. Urge your drivers to leave a few extra minutes early to reduce stress levels and encourage safe driving behavior. Padding a schedule with 10 to 15 extra minutes can keep drivers safer on the road.
Tip 3: Don't practice erratic behavior
As a fleet operator, it is up to you to continually remind drivers that certain aggressive driving behaviors won't be tolerated. Remind them never to tailgate, speed, weave in and out of traffic, drive slowly in the left lane out of spite, flash headlights, cut off other vehicles to make a point, yell out the window, or make hostile gestures at other drivers. Courteous behavior while behind the wheel is also safe driving behavior.
Tip 4: Don't engage with hostile drivers
Other aggressive drivers can prompt your driver to respond and escalate the situation — which can result in a deadly accident. Instead, make sure your safety policy encourages drivers not to engage with hostile drivers. They should do their best to ignore and avoid aggressive drivers by slowing down, changing lanes, or even exiting the highway. Also, remind your drivers to avoid eye contact with aggressive drivers, even if the aggression is aimed directly at them.
Tip 5: Provide frequent driver training
Driver training is a proven method of reducing crashes and violations related to road rage. Fleets who train monthly have far fewer overall violations — 25% less than the industry average and 50% less than fleets that train twice a year, according to SambaSafety.
Training can teach drivers about what causes road rage, how to handle specific situations safely, and boost crucial defensive driving techniques.
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