A reduction in incidents of road rage and aggressive driving is an important mission of the Vermont DMV. The preventable individual driving behaviors and decisions made by aggressive drivers can lead to loss of life and life-threatening injuries to our friends, family, and children. Our goal is to change these behaviors and outcomes through enforcement, education, and assistance.
Society is moving at a faster pace now more than ever. It is possible the increased value of time is causing us to be much more aggressive on the road, especially during commuting hours. Some drivers only see the traffic ahead of them as an obstacle to overcome at any cost. When we couple this with society's becoming accustomed to instantaneous communications, the problem becomes more pronounced. Whatever the reasons may be, this attitude can place those who share the roadway in jeopardy.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the definitions of aggressive driving and road rage are as follows:
"The commission of two or more moving violations that is likely to endanger other persons or property, or any single intentional violation that requires a defensive reaction of another driver."
"An assault with a motor vehicle or other dangerous weapon by the operator or passenger(s) of one motor vehicle on the operator or passenger(s) of another motor vehicle caused by an incident that occurred on a roadway.
Aggressive Driving & Road Rage Symptoms
- Mentally condemning or thought of violence toward other drivers.
- Verbally expressing condemnation of other drivers to passengers in your vehicle.
- Not obeying traffic safety rules because you don't agree with them.
- Engage in aggressive and risky driving:
- Following too close.
- Weaving in and out of traffic.
- Speeding up to beat a traffic light.
- Cutting between vehicles to change lanes.
- Using the horn excessively.
- Flashing headlights excessively at oncoming traffic.
- Braking to get others to back off your bumper.
- Passing another driver, then slowing to teach them a lesson.
- Allow plenty of time for the trip, listen to soothing music, improve the comfort in your vehicle, and understand that you cannot control the traffic, only your reaction to it. In the end, we may very well discover that personal frustration, anger, and impatience may be the most dangerous "drugs" on the highway.
- Be polite and courteous, even if the other driver is not. Avoid all conflict if possible. If another driver challenges you, take a deep breath and move out of the way. Never underestimate the other driver's capacity for mayhem.
- When entering traffic or changing lanes, make sure that you have enough room.
- Make sure you have established a safe following distance between your vehicle and the one in front of you.
- Don't make aggressive hand gestures to the other drivers when they offend you with their driving.
- Signal when turning or changing lanes.
- Control your anger; remember it takes two to start a fight.
- Avoid prolonged eye contact with the bad or angry driver.
- Get help. Call police on your cell phone or go to a public telephone or place. Don't pull to the side of the road.
- Forget about winning. No one wins in a highway crash.
- Put yourself in the other driver's shoes. They may be driving that way because of an actual emergency!
What You Can Do
Aggressive driving has become a serious public safety threat across the nation. Throughout the United States, law enforcement administrators, traffic safety experts, public health officials, mayors, legislators, and governors are being enlisted to help find a solution. Yet experience has shown that significant steps to improve traffic safety in this nation are made when citizens act. The NHTSA Web site has an Aggressive Driving page that offers a toolkit for starting a grassroots effort in your community to battle aggressive driving.
Report Aggressive Drivers
Incidents in-progress should be reported immediately by calling 911.
Incidents in the past, including ongoing or reoccurring patterns of aggressive driving on state or interstate highways, should be reported to the Vermont State Police barracks responsible for that area. If you have witnessed or been a victim of an aggressive driving act, please call and provide the following information that is needed by law enforcement:
- The location that you last saw the vehicle.
- Direction of travel (toward where).
- What road or highway.
- Color/colors of the vehicles.
- Were weapons involved?
- What happened?
- Are you a victim or a witness?