How to Avoid Losing Your Temper on the Road This Summer

Summer is a time for road trips and adventures.  Unfortunately, summer in Utah is also known for terrible road congestion with an influx of drivers heading out for holiday. However, did you know crashes nearly double during the summer months? One of the causes for these crashes is aggressive driving.

When many of us think of aggressive driving a few behaviors may come to mind. For example, speeding, road rage, or possibly some colorful word choices.  Are you guilty of aggressive driving? Take a look at these not-so-obvious forms of aggressive driving to see if you may need some improvement before heading out for your family vacation this summer.

TAILGATING

You approach a vehicle in the fast lane who appears to be driving significantly slower than the posted speed. As you approach, you hope they will move over. Instead, they stay in the same lane, going the same speed, so you get closer to try and give them a hint, right? Wrong! As a driver, it is not your job to teach other drivers a lesson. Tailgating does not allow any stopping distance, in fact, it takes one to two seconds to even react to the vehicle in front of you. Two seconds may sound like enough time, but when a vehicle is traveling at high speeds, two seconds is critical in the event of a crash.

How to fix it

Are you following too close? Remember to keep a minimum 3-second following distance between your vehicle and the vehicle ahead of you.

COURTEOUS DRIVING TIPS

  • Plan ahead to avoid the worst congestion and allow yourself plenty of time to travel.
  • Relax. Getting stressed and upset will not get you there any faster and it might shorten your life.
  • Don’t drive when you are feeling angry, upset or fatigued.
  • Driving should not be a race.

Emotional Driving

Similar to using a cellphone or tending to children, your emotions can become a distraction when you’re behind the wheel. If you’re upset or emotionally distraught, your mind cannot multitask. This is also known as inattention blindness—where only 50% of your mind is focused on driving, while the other 50% is focused on your emotional concerns. When you get behind the wheel, try to focus 100% of your attention on the road.

How to fix it

If you find yourself emotional, angry, or distraught, don’t get behind the wheel. Call a family member or a friend to come get you. If that is not possible, simply wait until you can give 100% of your attention—and positive emotions—to your driving.

Aggressive driving can come in many different forms. As you plan your summer activities, factor in ways to manage your aggression and stay safe. Be a calm, focused driver and encourage others to do the same during the 100 Deadliest Days.