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Why Do Drivers Lose Their Cool Behind The Wheel?

Aidan Wakely-Mulroney (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)
Flickr http://bit.ly/2wG64DY

In the heat of summer, some drivers on the road have a short fuse. Others are running out of patience at the pumps, waiting to get fuel

Seventy-eight percent of drivers surveyed by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety have shown aggressive behavior behind the wheel, according to the group's latest data

Commonly known as "road rage," these expressions of frustration can include seeking confrontation or racing with other drivers, tailgating, failing to observe signs, sudden lane changes, honking and yelling.

More serious incidents go past reckless driving and escalate to violence with firearms or intentional collisions.

Much of the research on aggressive driving nationwide is discretionary or self-reported, and Texas only tracks incidents in which a crash occurs. How can dangerous driving behavior be better addressed?  
Local authorities typically identify these issues on a case-by-case basis, but are taking preventative measures.

"We have unmarked 'aggressive driver' police vehicles that are used along the roadways to capture drivers who are driving in ways that might induce a confrontation on the roadway," Sergeant Jesse Salame of the San Antonio Police Department said in a statement to TPR News.

"We hope that by being out there and actively looking for these behaviors, we can prevent some of the dangerous and avoidable outcomes that stem from people losing their cool on the roadways."

How else can San Antonio maintain safer streets and highways in regards to aggressive driving? Why do people act differently behind the wheel? 

With delays in fuel delivery causing long lines for gas statewide, how can drivers avoid aggression in times of scarcity? 

This is a community conversation and we want to hear from you. Leave a voicemail with your questions and comments in advance by calling 210-615-8982. During the live show (12 - 1 p.m.), call 210-614-8980, email thesource@tpr.org or tweet at @TPRSource.

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Jan Ross Piedad Sakian is TPR’s News Operations Producer. In this role, she develops strategy on collaborative and digital initiatives for the station. Since 2016, Jan Ross has served in a coordinating capacity for TPR’s state and national partners, including The Texas Newsroom.