Try to Avoid Offending Other Motorists, AAA Warns North Jersey Drivers

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
try to avoid offending other motorists aaa warns north jersey drivers

Warm spring weather seems to have motorists in northern New Jersey acting on their not-so-best behavior. So much so, that a local American Automobile Association branch has issued a plea urging motorists to avoid road rage and “resulting driver confrontations.”

The Situation needs to simmer down.

“In the past few weeks, we have noticed that road rage incidents are increasingly in the news,” said David Hughes, President and CEO of AAA North Jersey, in a release. The organization has released a list of tips — don’t offend, be tolerant and forgiving, don’t respond — that could also prove useful in non-automotive situations.

Riding public transit and meeting your significant other’s family for the first time comes to mind.

Years ago, New Jersey enacted its #77 aggressive driver hotline to clamp down on instances of road-bound hotheads, and just recently expanded that tool to enforce distracted driving. The state added the feature after seeing an 8 percent rise in traffic fatalities in 2016.

While tempers flare amongst drivers trying to get out of state (or just to Newark), the Garden State isn’t alone in its ragey-ness. A survey of American drivers published last year by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety revealed that nearly 80 percent of drivers pop a vein behind the wheel in a given year. That’s the number of people who displayed at least one incident of “significant” aggression, anger or road rage.

The most popular way of expressing displeasure with another motorist is through tailgating, the survey found. All it takes for that situation to go south is a quick brake check by the leading motorist. Yelling and bashing the horn came in a close second.

New Jerseyans can take solace in one fact: they’re not in Florida. That state posted the highest number of gun-involved road rage incidents over the past two years (146), according to gun violence tracking website The Trace.

[Image: zlady/ Flickr ( CC BY-NC 2.0)]

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  • -Nate -Nate on Apr 19, 2017

    'Fugeddaboutit Steph ~ it's JOISEY . . I can't say I miss it one bit . . -Nate

  • Driver7 Driver7 on Apr 19, 2017

    I recently moved from New York City (Brooklyn, to be precise) after 20 years of living there. During that entire time, I owned a car, and drove regularly in the city, and in nearby areas. Many New York City drivers are aggressive - none more than the famed taxi drivers. Driving in NYC is not for the faint of heart. But it's not as risky as driving in New Jersey. I drove in New Jersey regularly, and the drivers there are more dangerous because they are both aggressive and reckless. Example: I would be driving on the New Jersey Turnpike late at night, with no car ahead of me for a quarter-mile or more. A New Jersey driver would suddenly pass me - then cut me off. Why do people in New Jersey drive this way? After thinking about that matter for a while, I concluded that driving in New Jersey is like being a member of a baboon pack - other pack members (other drivers) are constantly trying to assert dominance over you. The pass-and-then-cut-off driving maneuver is the equivalent of the ritual mounting behavior that baboons use to assert their higher status over lesser members of the pack. New Jersey drivers engage in all sorts of reckless driving to prove their dominance. To learn about truck transport, writer John McPhee rode for 3,000-plus miles with a hazmat trucker, Don Ainsworth. In the book, "Uncommon Carriers," McPhee quoted Ainsworth's ratings for drivers in various U.S. regions: " 'Atlanta has a lot of wrecks due to aggressive drivers who lack skill. In Los Angeles, there's a comparable percentage of aggressive drivers, but they have skill. The worst drivers anywhere are in New Jersey. Their life [sic] cannot mean a great deal to them. They take a lot of chances I wouldn't take - just to get to work on time.' " Mr. Ainsworth is correct about New Jersey drivers.

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