We have all seen what we consider to be aggressive driving. Perhaps in a quiet moment we might admit to it.
What's it all about? It's easy to identify because it always relegates safety to a low priority and intentionally increases risk.
The causes vary from an instantaneous reaction to something by being aggressive, to a permanently aggressive style that is indicative of some deep-rooted form of insecurity or lack of confidence. Some aggression is apparently passive, like the deliberately slow driver who has no problem obstructing traffic and leaving the consequent problems for others to deal with. In every case there is an intention to enforce your will on others.
Aggressive driving is connected with an emotional state that interferes with good risk management. It could be stress, grief, nerves, impatience, anger or a need to dominate. It always has little consideration for other drivers. Sharing the road is a co-operative process not recognized by aggressive drivers. An habitually aggressive driver is trapped in novice mode, demonstrating a lack of awareness of risk, or a willingness to increase it, or both. It is the most unforgivable form of incompetence. More concerning is the aggressive driver who's unaware of a dangerous style that's become routine.
A large part of good risk management and therefore safety is keeping your emotions under control. Only then can you focus on risk, be fully situationally aware and minimize unnecessary disruptions to the traffic flow. It will involve having to cope with other drivers that you consider incompetent. Coping with them is a sign of competence! Like it or not they are a part of every trip.
A positive driving style that has accounted for risk and hasn't unnecessarily disrupted or intimidated other drivers is not aggression. Missing are the typical aggressive traits of deliberate risk elevation and lack of consideration for other drivers.
If you secretly consider yourself a superior driver to all the others, (not uncommon amongst aggressive drivers) why would you drive in such a way that your safety depends on their capacity to avoid you, i.e. their skill?
A driver who thinks all the others are incompetent should be driving with extraordinary care and diligence to avoid being clobbered by one of them! Consider impatience.
It's the emotion behind much aggressive driving. Why tailgate because the car in front is going too slow for you? Is the car in front travelling at the same speed as the ones further ahead but simply not tailgating? Have you really been held up? How much time was really involved? Just start earlier and relax. Driving is a full-time job.
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