Aggressive driving is one of the largest causes of fatal accidents in the United States. And it seems that Tampa Florida has the second highest rate of deaths due to road rage in the country. Who is first? According to an AAA survey it is San Bernardino CA with 13.4 deaths per 100,000 drivers as compared to Tampa with a rate of 9.5. Carry that across one million drivers and that is a lot of un-necessary deaths. You have to wonder why Florida auto insurance does not cost more than it does.
In a recent survey by the AAA Foundation's annual Traffic Safety Culture Index, eight out of ten drivers ranked aggressive driving to be one of the most serious and potentially dangerous situations they faced regularly on the highways. And they are right. Aggressive driving accounts for more than half of all traffic fatalities.
Aggressive driving and road rage seem to have become synonymous but are defined differently in many states. Aggressive driving can include speeding, racing, ignoring signs, and tailgating as well as confrontations with other drivers. These are all considered potentially aggressive behaviors.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) uses the following factors to identify crashes involving aggressive driving: speeding, tailgating, failing to yield, weaving in and out of traffic, and passing on the right, making improper and unsafe lane changes, and running stop signs and red lights. They excluded crashes in which drugs or alcohol were a factor. Within these parameters, they found that aggressive driving is the dominate factor in 56% of all fatal crashes.
What about the rest of the country? Places you would naturally assume like New York don't make the top ten. Big mean cities like Boston, Pittsburgh, Cleveland, nope, not even on the list. In fact Florida has the top honor of being listed 4 times in the top ten. Tampa as mentioned earlier is number 2, Orlando with 8.1, Miami with 8.1, Ft. Lauderdale with 7.3 are 4, 5 and 6 respectively. As a state, Florida ranks number 10 with South Carolina as number one. The report is based on metropolitan areas with populations over one million.
Other interesting facts brought to light by the survey:
- Cities with better mass transit or other alternatives to the automobile had lower rates.
- Older cities with older neighborhoods with simple grid street patterns had lower rates.
- The larger more sprawled out metropolitan areas like San Bernardino CA, San Antonio TX, Dallas--Fort Worth TX, Tampa--St. Petersburg Florida all had higher rates of aggressive driving.
- Another surprise the sampling brought out is that residents of metro areas with low transit use were 61 percent more likely to die in an aggressive driving crash than people who live in areas with high transit use.
So, the next time you are out driving look at the person in the car next to you. Is this person going to run you off the road if you get a little too close? You never know but the experts all agree that the best way to avoid becoming a statistic is to avoid trouble in the first place. Just keep your head, stay calm, dive defensively and make sure your car insurance is up to date.