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Friday, January 26, 2007
Police Employing New Laser Technology to Thwart Aggressive Drivers
In Westminster, Colorado, police have begun using two new laser speed guns with "Distance Between Cars" technology to help curb aggressive driving by catching those who are following too closely.
"Aggressive driving is up 51 percent since 1990 and is associated with 66 percent of all fatal traffic accidents," said traffic commander Al Wilson. "We need additional tools to help address the aggressive driving trend that is becoming more evident."
Last week in Woburn, Massachusetts, a war of words quickly escalated into an alleged confrontation in which a driver threatened another driver and allegedly swung an aluminum baseball bat. If found guilty of these allegations, the defendant could be charged with assault by means of a dangerous weapon. By being charged with a crime like this, which is a felony, not only would one bring court appearances, lawyer fees, and large fines upon oneself, one would run the risk the chance of probation, or even a prison term.
Never let anger take precedence over safe driving. The consequences are just not worth the risk. Here are a few guidelines to help you avoid being the victim of road rage:
• If you accidentally cut another car off, try to signal an apology to the other driver.
• Avoid driving slowly in the left lane. Since this is a passing lane, move over to the right so other drivers can pass by.
• Don’t tailgate. Allow at least a one-car length for every 10 mph of speed between you and the car ahead.
• Keep your hands on the wheel and avoid making gestures, even harmless ones such as shaking your head.
• It is wise to avoid eye contact with an angry driver. Looking or staring at another driver can turn an impersonal encounter into a personal duel.
• Do not, under any circumstances, pull off to the side of the road and try to settle things. An angry driver cannot start a fight if you do not join in.
• Get help if you believe the other driver is following you or is trying to start a fight. Use your cell phone to call 911 or drive to a location where there are other people, such as a convenience store, mall, police station, etc.
• Discourage an aggressor by using your horn to attract attention.
• Put yourself in the other driver's shoes. Maybe there's a crying baby in their car. Whatever the reason for their aggressive driving behavior, stay cool and don't take the other driver's actions personally.
Aggressive driving has been shown to cause heart attacks. Courses in anger management offer techniques to help angry divers. Drivers who successfully change their approach to driving often report positive changes in their attitude and behavior.
Remembering these simple tips may make driving a more enjoyable experience. Stay calm and drive safely.
For more information about driver safety, The National Safety Commission and Lowest Price Traffic School offer safe teen driving resources for first time drivers and their parents.