Distracted Drivers: Road Rage & Texting While Driving
Author: Lynsey Trolley Geotab
The danger of texting while driving has become a hot topic. The Canadian Province of Ontario has implemented increased fines, and in the United States President Obama has signed an executive order prohibiting federal workers from texting while driving government vehicles. However, the road has been a dangerous place for drivers long before the introduction of the cell phone, and road rage continues to be a major issue.
What is Causing Drivers to Be Distracted?
Leasetrader.com conducted a survey on over 3,000 American drivers in order to determine what the most dangerous distractions are during driving. 18.3% of men agreed that the most dangerous distraction today is road rage, followed by eating/drinking (14.7%), checking out other drivers (10.9%) and other passenger conversations (9.5%). Women in the survey had different opinions, ranking the primary distraction in driving to be kids in the car (26.3%), putting on makeup (16.6%), and navigation (9.5%), all above texting.
What is Road Rage?
It is important to have a strong understanding of road rage and aggressive driving in order to implement fleet management policies around this topic. The AAA Foundation defines road rage as “violent anger caused by the stress and frustration involved in driving a motor vehicle – a motorist’s uncontrolled anger that is usually provoked by another motorist’s irritating act is expressed in aggressive or violent behaviors with an intention to cause physical harm.”
Common characteristics of an aggressive driver include:
- High-risk drivers, more likely to drink and drive, speed, or drive without a seatbelt
- Drivers with high frustration levels and low concern for others on the road
- Motorists who run stop signs, disobey red lights, speed, tailgate, weave in and out of traffic, make unsafe lane changes, blow their horns, make hand or facial gestures
What Causes Road Rage?
As a motorist, you may have driving habits that are linked to other motorists’ aggressive driving. Texting, according to the 2014 Road Rage Report conducted by NorthStar for Expedia, has surpassed tailgating in terms of behaviour that triggers the most anger in other drivers. For almost 7 of 10 American drivers surveyed, ‘The Texter’ is viewed as the most aggravating driving behaviour, followed by ‘The Tailgater’ (60%), ‘The Multi-Tasker’ (54%), ‘The Drifter’ (43%) and ‘The Crawler’ (39%).
How to Avoid Road Rage:
- Avoid communicating with an aggressive driver
- Do not further engage with a motorist who is acting aggressively; do not respond with further negative behavior which may escalate the situation
- Drive in a responsible manner, and avoid aggravating driving behaviour
- Obey traffic laws including not texting while driving
- When necessary, report unsafe motorists to authorities
Along with a fleet safety policy, Geotab’s sophisticated GPS fleet management solutions can help organizations develop company-wide management polices to improve driver behavior, enhance driver safety, and on-road productivity. The Geotab GO device offers reporting and driver notification on harsh acceleration, braking, and cornering, as well as speeding above posted road speeds, and if seatbelts are being worn.