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115 people die each day from traffic crashes in
Nearly 42,000 people die every year from traffic crashes, sending four million more to emergency rooms and hospitalizing 400,000, half with permanent disabilities.
On-the-job traffic crashes cause 3000 deaths, 332,000 injuries and cost employers over $43 billion, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and can reduce employee productivity by 40 percent.
In addition to the emotional toll, on-the-job traffic crashes annually cost employers about $3.5 billion in property damage, $7.9 million in medical care and emergency service taxes, $17.5 billion for wage premiums, $4.9 billion for workplace disruption (to hire and train either new employees or temporary employees) and $8.5 billion in disability and life insurance costs.
If you multiply these figures by 10 (one decade), automobile crashes in the U.S. mount to nearly half a million violent deaths every decade, and 2 million permanently disabled, costing about half a trillion dollars every decade.
Driving psychology in a lifelong driver education program tied to licensing and renewal, is the answer that will save most of this national and personal disaster. The articles below outline this solution.
400 billion aggressive exchanges per year in the U.S.Here is the way we figure it: 125 million (drivers on the road daily) X 1,000 (mini-exchanges between drivers during two commutes per day) X .01 (1 percent proportion of hostile or stressed exchanges) X 365 (days per year) = about 400 billion stressful or aggressive exchanges per year in the U.S.
Sidewalk Rag/Pedestrian Rage/Walking Rage || The Psychology Hypermiling || The Merging Debate || The Emotional Use of the Gas Pedal || Articles by Leon James || Definition of Road Rage || Territoriality: What the Car Says About You || The Great Rubbernecking Debate || Tips for Truckers from DrDriving -- How to Deal With Anger || DrDriving's Bookstore ||
From: Hearing Before the Subcommittee on Surface Transportation Of the Committee on Transportation and infrastructure House of representatives One hundred fifth congress July 17, 1997 Washington, D.C.
"Enforcement is important, Mr. Chairman, but we really need to study the causes behind road rage, and I'm looking forward to hearing from our witnesses this morning on ways in which we can identify and respond to the triggers which lead to aggressive driving. Perhaps we can incorporate some of these ideas when we move to reauthorize ISTEA."
"This committee has been fighting and will continue to fight to provide adequate funding so we can relieve congestion, and that certainly will have a very significant impact on reducing the aggressive driving that we're experiencing in this country."
does not have the capacity to change the emotions
and the aggressive feelings of people out on the
highway, but we do have a responsibility and the
jurisdiction to try to change the environment
which causes that aggression, and that environment
is caused largely by congestion."
"In 15 years, I've
identified many detailed psychological
of aggressive driving and have developed an
empirically-based theory of what causes aggressive
driving and what behavioral
techniques can be used to measure and
My research has
confirmed to some degree nearly every driver has feelings
of rage and thoughts of retaliation. For the
past year, the media has increased coverage of
road rage incidents, and people are asking
questions for which scientific data are not yet
available. Is aggressive driving increasing? Are
there differences or is it a universal epidemic?
What causes the increase in aggressive driving and
can it be controlled?
I think what's on
the increase is the amount of habitual road rage
we see today. I define habitual road rage as a
persistent state of hostility behind the wheel,
demonstrated by acts of aggression and a continuum
of violence, and justified
by righteous indignation.
Driving and habitual
road rage have become virtually inseparable.
Road rage is a habit acquired in
childhood. Children are reared in a car
culture that condones irate expression as part of
the normal wear and tear of driving. Once they
enter a car, children notice that all the sudden
the rules have changed. It's okay to be mad, very
upset, out of control, and use bad language that's
ordinarily not allowed.
By the time they
get their driver's license, adolescents have
assimilated years of road rage. The road rage
habit can be unlearned, but it takes more
than conventional driver's ed."
"the definitive book on the aggressive driving epidemic."To read excerpts || To order from Amazon.com
"With strong documentation and easy-to-follow steps, Dr. James and Dr. Nahl show us how to adopt a more gently paced way to stop racing against time and people to get someplace and truly enjoy getting there. They show us how being a better driver helps us lead a better, happier, healthier life."
Paul Pearsall, Ph.D. Author of The Pleasure Prescription and Toxic Success: How to Stop Striving and Start Thriving
14. · Partnership Driving
15. · Philosophy of Driving
17. · Psychology and Driving
30. · Pedestrian Rage
42. · Red Light Running
46. · Music and Driving
50. · Road Rage Overview
51. · Driver Personality Test
52. · Driving Vignettes
53. · Driving Cartoons
Teen Drivers |
| Parking Rage |
| School Buses |
| Police and Legislation
| Boat Rage | RoadRageous Video Course
| Distracted Driving
| Bicycling | Motorcyclists and
Aggressiveness || Excerpts About Bicyclists
From Our Book ||
Surf Rage |
Emotional Spin Cycle
| Bookstore |
Road Rage Book
| Road Rage Articles || DrDriving's
What Your Car Says
(click to go down to that Section)
including these topics:
Issues Part 1 -- Right Lane vs. Left Lane Feelings | Tailgating | Social Responsibility
Issues Part 2 -- Driving the Speed Limit | PSA Radio Spots | Car Phones | Automatic Pilot | DUI Counseling
Issues Part 3 -- Why I Tailgate | Coned Lane: When to Merge | Social Responsibility
Issues Part 4 -- Road Rage | Driver Education | Driving Personality | Stereotypes About Women Drivers
Issues Part 5 -- Merging When Lane is Coned | Continuing Driver Education
Issues Part 6 -- Good Drivers' Association | Slay Your Driving Dragon
Issues Part 7 -- What B.A.D. Drivers Do
Issues Part 8 -- Tailgating and Aloha Spirit Driving
Issues Part 14 -- Aggressive Drivers and Road Rage | New Name "Crashes" vs. "Accidents" |
Issues Part 15 -- Princess Diana: The Road Rage Incident of the Century: Day 1
Issues Part 26 -- Speed limits | DUI | Crosswalks |Traffic calming methods | .
Brits driven mad by reckless road antics
The top 10 things experienced on the road which are most likely to cause road rage are:
1. Drivers who change lanes dangerously (68.4%)
2. Drivers who do not indicate before manoeuvres (67.8%)
3. Drivers who use a mobile phone while driving (68.5%)
4. Drivers who tailgate (64%)
5. Drivers who pull out of side roads without having right of way (59%)
6. Cyclists who are not paying attention to the road (e.g. jumping traffic lights) (54%)
7. Drivers of large vehicles (e.g. bus or lorry drivers) who drive unsafely on the road (53%)
8. Pedestrians who are not paying attention to the cars on the road (42%)
9. Slow drivers (40%)
10. Traffic jams (29%)
If you’d like to test your knowledge of the rules of the road please visit:
Survey of 2,129 adults in Britain conducted by YouGov on behalf of 1ST CENTRAL between 6th and 7th October 2014.
*Based on 50.5m British adults, figure taken from ONS
- Nine in 10 people suffer from road rage -
- 34.5m people in Britain become enraged by drivers who change lanes recklessly -
- One in 25 18-24 year olds take selfies at the wheel -
Drivers 'don't regret road rage'
Nearly two in three drivers have engaged in road rage in the last three years and nearly all thought their behaviour was justified, a poll shows.
More than 10% of motorists even admitted it could be good to be a bit aggressive on the road.
And nearly 60% of the road ragers said they had behaved badly after being annoyed by the poor driving of others, the survey from Zurich Insurance found.
From: The Press Association
April 4, 2008.
Best Driver in the World Blog: http://bestdriver.blogspot.com/ Check out the solutions.
One In Six Have Been Road Rage Victims
- And nearly 300,000 have had cars damaged in road rage incidents, says MoneyExpert.com
One in six drivers have been victims of road rage incidents in the past 12 months, new research from www.moneyexpert.com * shows.
More than 7.4 million
motorists have been involved in confrontations with other
drivers with younger drivers the most likely to be on the
receiving end of other road users’ anger, the independent
financial comparison website says.
The survey found that nearly
300,000 drivers had their cars damaged as a result of road
rage confrontations – graphically illustrating the need for
insurance. According to the RAC Foundation some ten per cent
of drivers have been involved in an accident with an
Several motor insurers such
as Sainsbury’s Bank, which pays up to £1,000 compensation if
drivers are assaulted, offer cover for road rage as part of
their standard policies while others such as women-only
insurer Sheila’s Wheels provide counselling services.
Sean Gardner of
MoneyExpert.com, said: “Most of us will have lost our
tempers while stuck in traffic and can sympathise with the
sense of frustration felt by other drivers.
“But any sympathy goes out
of the window for drivers who take out their anger on
others. Shouting and swearing at other motorists is bad
enough but damaging other drivers’ cars is beyond the pale.
“Our study did not
thankfully find any evidence of physical assault but that is
perhaps more down to luck than anything else. The fact that
one in six of us has suffered from road rage is worrying.
And of course many of us may be guilty of road rage
that around one in twenty fully comprehensive car insurance
policies have a specific allowance for personal injury
caused by road rage. However there are often exceptions and
caveats, such as whether you caused the altercation and
whether you are related to your assailant.
The most common form of road
rage reported by motorists is tailgating – driving too close
to another car – or other forms of aggressive driving.
Around three-quarters of those who have suffered road rage
in the past year were tailgated.
Half of the road rage
incidents reported by motorists resulted in verbal
confrontation while four per cent saw cars being damaged.
Around 16 per cent of
motorists say they have suffered road rage in the past year
– that rises to 19 per cent of 18 to 34-year-old motorists.
Drivers aged 55 or over are least likely to be victims.
Drivers in the North of England are more likely to be road rage victims with 18 per cent reporting incidents while just 12 per cent of motorists in London have been victims.
What causes aggressive driving?
Are men and women equally aggressive?
By Dr. Leon James
Bonnie Berkowitz and James Smallwood/The Washington Post.
Dr. Leon James (“DrDriving”)
Walking is not just getting from one place to another. A pedestrian does not just move through physical space, but at the same time through social space and mental space. Social space maps out normative paths, selecting some physical motion as allowable, and others as not allowable. Walkers suddenly stop as they seem mesmerized by their tiny mobile device. They are violating normative paths allowing themselves to compel nearby pedestrians in both directions to negotiate their way around the physical block.
The Effect of
Age, Gender, and Type of Car Driven Across
by Dr. Leon James (2001)
The pattern of results thus far lead me to the following conclusions:
Aggressive driving is made
up of a syndrome
habits that stick together
with plenty of individual variation.
Young drivers are more aggressive in all driving behaviors than older
drivers; senior drivers are the least aggressive.
Men are more aggressive than women when they drive sports cars and light
trucks (S-10, Pick-up, Ram, Ranger, F-150, Silverado, Dakota, etc.); women
are more aggressive than men when they drive SUVs and luxury cars. For
economy and family cars, it depends on the specific behavior.
There appear to be three psychological categories of vehicles people
drive: tough driving cars (sports, light trucks, SUVs), soft driving cars
(economy, family), and special driving cars (vans, luxury). Each of these
psychological categories has its own aggressive driving syndrome that
distinguishes it from the others.
It is evident that aggressive driving is a cultural norm that is generationally transmitted as a habit imbibed in childhood when riding with parents and reinforced by repeated media portrayals of drivers
behaving badly. To get us out of this, I propose a program of Lifelong Driver Education.
Eastbourne course will help women fight road rage
By Emily-Ann Elliott 6/6/2008
Women drivers are to be
taught how to use everyday objects to defend themselves
against road rage maniacs. (...)
Publicity material for the
event on June 12 states: "As part of the course, volunteers
from the audience will be invited to take part in role-play
by a personal self-protection specialist and learn how to
beat the bullies behind the wheel and, if diplomacy fails,
how to use everyday objects normally found about one's
person for self-protection and to ensure a rapid escape from
a would-be attacker." (...)
Gail Taylor, marketing
manager of Eastbourne Motoring Centre, said: "Personal
safety and security are imperative for everyone,
particularly women today. "The menace of aggressive,
inconsiderate driving on our roads seems to be increasing at
the moment and we believe that all it takes is a little care
and consideration to avoid situations which can escalate
into the kinds of tragic incidents we have all heard about
recently. "We want women to enjoy their independence and
freedom and be able to travel safely and confidently on our
roads. "We hope that, by highlighting the risks facing women
drivers, the course will provide them with a wealth of
information and practical advice." (...)
See also: Gender and Driving--Men vs. Women
Driving literacy facts that every driver needs to know!
by Dr. Leon James
World wide, about 1.5 million people are killed in road accidents every year -- that's 15 million killed on the roads every decade. Road accident research has pointed towards driver error in the majority of cases. In the U.S. about 42,000 traffic fatalities occur every year and about 1.5 million injuries annually at a total cost of 200 billion dollars -- that means in every decade we kill 420,000 Americans on the roads, injure 15 million Americans on the road, and pay a whopping two trillion dollar cost in repairs, injuries, insurance, and economic loss. Our foreign oil dependence and domestic shortage would be solved if we stopped using the gas pedal emotionally in traffic every day.
Almost all of "driver error"
can be traced to insufficient emotional intelligence
training behind the wheel. All drivers can train themselves
to acquire emotional intelligence behind the wheel. We have
proposed that driver education start early in elementary
school when we can train young people to acquire respect and
compassion for others in public places -- pedestrians,
drivers, passengers, road workers, law enforcement. We
describe a threestep method for driver personality
makeovers. Every individual is raised to be an aggressive
driver and pedestrian through years of training on the back
seat of the car driven by parents and other adults -- road
rage nursery! Add up the years of daily television watching
and video gaming involving drivers behaving aggressively,
dangerously, and violently. By the time we start driving we
automatically drive aggressively, have competitive feelings
and intentions behind the wheel.
The threestep self-modification approach can provide adult drivers with a new supportive driver personality style, to replace the aggressive driving feelings, emotions, intentions, judgments, condemnations, and acts of risk and folly that all of us experience and tolerate on a daily basis. Driving is the most dangerous thing we do on a regular basis, and it has the highest cost as well. We can change that.
on car crashes and injuries
may also be found on these Web sites:
Best solution for traffic woes? Eliminating the drivers
By Emily Mulhausen - Columbia News Service | Saturday, May 17, 2008
(...) The best way to eliminate congestion, some experts say, is to take the driver out of the driver's seat. "We wouldn't have to deal with people behind the wheel," said Dr. Jerry Schneider, a University of Washington professor emeritus of urban planning and civil engineering. "It would be a totally hands-off, brain-off experience."
Driverless design concepts include Personal Rapid Transit, which involves passenger taxi-pods on rails; automatic highway systems that direct driverless cars using magnetic guidelines; and dual-mode systems with cars that can be driven normally on smaller roads and for shorter distances, but could go driverless on specialized electric rails, or "guideways," for high-speed controlled travel.
"In the morning you would drop the kids off at school, drive to the guideway, sit back, read the paper, and automatically get off where you want to go," said Kirston Henderson, the president and inventor of MegaRail Transportation Systems, a dual-mode company based in Texas. (...)
Indeed, increased efficiency from higher speeds, standardized spacing between cars and driverless driving could dramatically increase road capacities. A normal highway lane can carry about 2,000 cars an hour, Schneider said, while a dual-mode "lane" could handle 15,000 or more. Traffic congestion is a "$78 billion annual drain on the U.S. economy in the form of 4.2 billion lost hours and 2.9 billion gallons of wasted fuel," says the Texas Transportation Institute in its 2007 Urban Mobility Report, with the average rush hour commuter losing $710 a year while stuck in traffic. (...)
But solutions that focus on
the physical aspects of traffic may be overlooking the real
"Congestion is often not caused by the road, but by the way drivers are driving," said Dr. Leon James, a psychology professor at the University of Hawaii and a pioneer in the small field of traffic psychology. When one driver in traffic makes a mistake, tailgates, or changes lanes unnecessarily, hundreds of cars may have to suddenly put on the brakes.
"We call it a traffic wave," he said. "Everything suddenly slows to a crawl, but there's no obstruction."
That, in turn, has a psychological effect. "Congestion makes you feel frustrated and panicky," said James, who recommends a program of lifelong driver's education to help deal with the cognitive problems caused by driving. "Many people are driving around in a constant seething rage." (...)
Traffic accidents lead to
approximately 40,000 deaths per year in the US. The world
toll in 1999 was 1 million deaths and 40 million injuries In
2020, the worldwide death toll from traffic accidents is
expected to rise to about 2.3 million Road accidents are the
leading cause of death for males 15-44. Pedestrians and
cyclists accounted for 19.3% of all traffic fatalities in
the US and 13 Western European nations in 1992. of all
crashes: 85% are attributed to road user error
Brief Summary of How Driving Psychology Explains
What is Aggressive
Aggressive Driving is a
philosophy (P), an attitude
(A), and a weakness (W).
You can remember this as AD = PAW.
Road regulations and civility do not apply to me some of the time.
Driving is a competition for who gets through first. I am more entitled than others -- me first. I can't be a wimp and let other motorists take advantage of me.
Aggressive driving is an emotional weakness or a lowered ability to cope with routine everyday exchanges with other motorists. It is a lack or insufficiency of emotional intelligence. It involves mental venting to oneself behind the wheel, and social venting to one's co-workers, friends, or any stranger who will listen.
The PAW syndrome of aggressive driving is part of the culture of disrespect on highways. It is a world wide phenomenon present in epidemic proportions in every country studied so far. It is a generationally transmitted socialization habit and therefore is going to increase and get worse with every subsequent generation -- unless we stop it through lifelong driver education programs and quality driving circles for driver self-improvement activities tied to license renewal.
DDC 4, 5th edition includes two new 10-minute video sessions:
“Chain of Choices” looks at the choices
that each driver makes every day. Proper following distance,
common courtesy road rage, driver distractions are covered
from Dr William Glasser and Dr. Leon James on why people choose the driving behaviors they do. View a short-clip from “Chain of Choices”
Speeding? From National Public Radio --
Listen to this program now online
Talk of the Nation, June 7, 2007 · Most states are tough on drunk drivers, but it is actually speeders who cause the most deadly car crashes. Yet, even when they are caught, many speeders get off easy. Guests discuss the psychology behind our desire to speed and why we think nothing of going above the limit. Leon James, professor of psychology, University of Hawaii; co-author, Road Rage and Aggressive Driving
Judith Stone, president, Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety
Richard Retting, senior transportation engineer, Insurance Institute of Highway Safety
From Wisconsin Public Radio two programs on drivers and roads:
How "real" is road rage?
Read a few news stories on road rage around the world from
Construction Rage -- see
news stories here.
What is Aggressive Driving? News clip for
Medics and FORSCOM military bases.
WHYY Radio PA Voices In The
Family 12/22/08 Traffic Psychology
It's Monday morning on the
Schuylkill expressway, and it is a very loud, frustrating
parking lot. And you... well you are speaking in a language
of expletives you never would say outside the comfort of
your car. This behavior has become acceptable, but most of
us wouldn't dare act this way otherwise. Or would we? On the
next Voices in the Family, Dr. Dan Gottlieb talks
with the author of Traffic, Tom Vanderbilt about why
we drive the way we do and what it says about us. Dr. Dan
will also speak with Professor of Psychology at the
University of Hawaii, Dr. Leon James, who specializes in
traffic psychology. Hear Voices in the Family Mondays at
noon, with a repeat broadcast Sunday at 6 a.m.
Psychology of Vanity Plates
Dr. Leon James
Professor of Psychology
University of Hawaii
Also called “personalized plates” or “personal plates”. I see it as people’s attempt to fight the anonymity of the daily driving experience on roads and highways, and thus to try to re-humanize the driving environment that has evolved into something stressful and unhealthy, competitive and risky, frustrating, and anonymous. Personalized plates extend the current exploding mobile social networking movement and can be expected to increase and become more important in the immediate future of motorists, passengers, and pedestrians.
Several issues are involved in this cultural practice:
3. Cultural Meaning
4. Psychological Meaning
a. it is a reference to a personal relationship (person, group, or place) that may be unintelligible to outsiders (solidarity, friendship, or opposite—insult, hate)
b. it uses a generally recognizable word or name to express support for it (social cause, political principle, place or location, company ad, etc.)
c. it commemorates along with some others a conference or event that ties them together
d. it presents a hidden message that others can decipher and appreciate (self-disclosure, wise advice, etc.)
States filter license plate applications, rejecting or banning sexually explicit or religious and racial slurs.
3. Cultural Meaning
a. it is an act of self-expression through content and style of the vanity plate
b. it is equivalent to a “speech act” or act of declaring something publicly about oneself
c. (i) it is expressing and sharing humor (“It’s fun…” or “Let’s laugh together”, etc.), or expressing user generated semiotic ambiguity while driving (“See what I have for you today…”, “I can be charming and original…”, etc.)
(ii) it is promoting a particular variety of socio-political activism (“I support this…” or “I am against this…” etc.)
4. Psychological Meaning
a. willingness to pay more for the plates (indicating engagement and strong motivation)
b. mark of distinction through its uniqueness and inventiveness, either positive (“I am clever…”, “I can amaze you…”, etc.) or negative (mean attacks, intention to hurt)
Vanity Plates: Contest Entries and Awards
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
How do you handle it?
Here are some of the things people say.....
EVALUATION OF THE LATE
MERGE WORK ZONE TRAFFIC CONTROL STRATEGY
Several alternative lane merge strategies have been proposed in recent years to process
vehicles through work zone lane closures more safely and efficiently. Among these is the late
merge. With the late merge, drivers are instructed to use all lanes to the merge point and then
take turns proceeding through the work zone. Its efficiency has been tested on only a limited
basis. The purpose of this project was to determine when, if at all, deployment of the late merge
The late merge concept was evaluated by comparing it to the traditional merge using
computer simulations and field evaluations. Computer simulations included analysis of 2-to-1,
3-to-1, and 3-to-2 lane closure configurations to determine its impact on throughput and the
impact of factors such as free flow speed, demand volume, and percentage of heavy vehicles.
Field tests were limited to 2-to-1 lane closures, as recommended by state transportation officials,
and examined the impact of treatment type on vehicle throughput, percentage of vehicles in the
closed lane, and time in queue.
Results of the computer simulations showed the late merge produced a statistically
significant increase in throughput volume for only the 3-to-1-lane closure configuration and was
beneficial across all factors for this type of closure. For the 2-to-1 and 3-to-2 lane closure
configurations, the late merge increased throughput when the percentage of heavy vehicles was
Field tests showed similar trends with regard to throughput. Although throughput
increased, the increase was not statistically significant because of the limited number of heavy
vehicles at the site. More drivers were in the closed lane, indicating a response to the late merge
signs. Time in queue was also reduced, although the reductions were not statistically significant.
The authors conclude that the late merge should be considered for 3-to-1 lane closure
configurations but not until a sound methodology for deployment has been developed and tested
in the field. For the 2-to-1 and 3-to-2 configurations, the late merge should be implemented only
when the percentage of heavy
vehicles is at least 20 percent.
Evaluation of 2004 Dynamic
Late Merge System (DLMS)
for the Minnesota Department of Transportation
The DLMS is designed to
utilize the best aspects of the Early and Late Merge
strategies. Through the use of technology, this DLMS traffic
control strategy can dynamically change its lane use
instructions based on the current traffic demands. This
alters the traffic control theory from an early merge
strategy under light traffic demand to a late merge strategy
during periods of congestion. The motivation for this
approach stems from a desire to make the roadways safer and
eliminate conditions where motorists typically exhibit
conflicting driver behaviors. (...)
Shorten Queue Lengths before
By encouraging the use of both lanes in congested conditions, the length of a forming queue should be greatly reduced under the Dynamic Late Merge System. If all drivers follow the posted instructions, the queue length could be reduced by half, ensuring that no vehicles would encounter the back of a queue before first seeing the construction advanced warning sign.
Increase Traffic Capacity
through Work Zone:
Based on experiences from
previous studies, it is hoped that having a single merging
point at a defined location will increase the number of cars
through the work zone. Reduce Aggressive Driving: If no
other benefits are achieved, reducing the stress level for
drivers at the work zone could be beneficial enough to
warrant the use of the Dynamic Late Merge System. Recent
years have seen an escalation in the number of road rage
incidents and aggressive driving behaviors around work
zones. Impatient and antagonistic drivers have blocked other
vehicles from passing or have driven around queues on the
roadway shoulders or medians. Eliminating the causes of
these outbursts could stabilize the behaviors of already
frustrated drivers. (...)
The messages posted at the three CMS locations were the same as those of the US10 deployment during the summer of 2003: furthest from the taper “STOPPED TRAFFIC AHEAD” – “USE BOTH LANES,” next “USE BOTH LANES” (...)
The typically observed behavior when drivers encounter the advanced warning signs of a construction zone lane closure is for drivers to move out of the closed (discontinuous) lane to the lane continuing through the construction zone. Some drivers have even been observed to brake radically in order to join the end of a queue forming in the continuous lane after seeing the first static advanced-warning sign. These early merging behaviors result in a long single lane queue; a scenario with many dangerous driving conditions. (...) The two advanced warning CMS farthest from the taper alert drivers to the stopped traffic ahead and instruct them to continue using both lanes.
Quote: The usual signs are there for advance warning of lane closure so get over as soon as you can.
No they are not. They are there so you know which lane is closed and know which way you have to merge and how far.
Quote: The signs you link too are irrelevant to this topic
They are 100% relevant as it is people doing as those signs advise doing what the OP was complaining about.
Quote: They are 100% relevant as it is people doing as those signs advise doing what the OP was complaining about.
It is also obvious that using all the road space available and letting everyone merge smoothly at the merge point is more efficient and reduces the length of the queue.
For your information the sequence of traffic management signs at those works were as follows:
"WHEN QUEUING USE BOTH
Diagram 7072 "800 yds"
"WHEN QUEUING USE BOTH LANES"
7072 "600 yds"
7072 "400 yds"
"MERGE IN TURN"
7072 "200 yds"
So it's fairly obvious from those signs that what they expect people to do when there is heavy traffic is to use both lanes up to the point just before the 200 yds sign where they are told to merge in turn. Do you think those sign would be there if they wanted people to merge at the 800 yds sign?
Quote: What's the point of merging at 800 yds when there is still 800 yds of road ahead of you? It sounds like common sense to me. It gets more traffic through.
So everyone is at fault then really, moving across too soon causes the arrogant drivers to become impatient, and steam along the almost empty lane at 70mph to overtake a few people.
Quote: No, only the idiots who move across too soon causing stop-start traffic three times longer than necessary are at fault.
Quote: I never drive down the hard shoulder to jump ahead in a queue, since it's illegal. But at impending roadworks, I will happily admit that I drive down the outside lane and merge further up. There is nothing illegal about it. I do not do it aggressively, nor do I brag about it. I simply put my indicator on and wait for someone to let me in - since someone always will. Or I move into a big enough gap if there is one. I fail to see the point in queueing for something, when it's perfectly legal to do what I just described. As someone already said, people are too English about it!
I get annoyed when there are roadworks with a sign indicating that a lane is closing so many yards up the road. The traffic flow is slowed right down by some berk 400 yards from the cones trying to cut in 20 cars from the roadworks, only because he/she is scared to upset someone. Damn drive to were the road actually closes then merge in turn.....some roadworks even put signs up telling you to do so! Then you get the big lorry in the closing lane picking a car next to it and matching its speed......allowing 400 yards plus of empty road ahead of it, jeez. Should be a fixed penalty fine for NOT merging in turn and using the whole road in roadworks/lane closure situations. At least the govt should make it clear/official that its an offence or add it to the highway code
I AM ONE OF THEM. I AM A
I have aggressively straddled two lanes with my car in order to block late merges in construction zones. I get pissed when people fly by me in the other lane AFTER I've already merged.
I have shook my fist fiercely at people who refuse to merge with everyone else a 1/2 mile before the merge zone....those a*&holes!!!
LO AND BEHOLD. I was WRONG. And some people I met from California and Pennsylvania were laughing at me as they tried to explain that people in Minnesota and Wisconsin simply don't know how to merge. They blamed it on Minnesota nice....We see a sign that says the lane is going to end, and we move over immediately cuz it's the polite thing to do. RIGHT?
WRONG. I am changing my ways, henceforth, even though I know the early mergers are going to get pissed.
From the Minnesota Department of Transportation
"ST. PAUL, Minn. — Fifteen percent of drivers admitted to straddling lanes in order to block late merges in construction zones, according to a recent study conducted by the Minnesota Department of Transportation.
To address the more than 2,700 crashes and 18 fatalities occurring in highway construction zones last year, Mn/DOT commissioned a study to better understand the behaviors and attitudes that trigger driving decisions in merging situations as drivers enter a work zone.
'Our goal is to increase safety in work zones by reducing the confusion and frustration drivers often experience when merging,' said William Servatius, Mn/DOT's Office of Construction. 'Many times crashes occur due to aggressive driving, abrupt lane changes or sudden stops, so we want to help drivers make good choices while traveling through our work zones.'
In an attempt to minimize the problems discovered in the research, Mn/DOT also conducted a month-long field study on Highway 10 in Anoka to assess a new Dynamic Late Merge System, a traffic control strategy to improve merging at lane closures.
'The fully automated system using remote traffic microwave sensors and a Doppler radar provides instructions to drivers via changeable message signs on when to merge and how to merge according to the current state of traffic,' said Craig Mittelstadt, Mn/DOT's workzone safety specialist. 'For example, if traffic is heavy, the system will instruct motorists to use both lanes and take turns once they've reached the defined merge point just before the lane closure.'
This strategy often referred to as the 'zipper' improves traffic flow, reduces conflicts and hopefully will decrease the number of crashes when traffic demand exceeds the capacity of a single lane closure.
'Basically, we want drivers to know that under normal traffic speeds, they should try to merge early to avoid unsafe merging maneuvers; however, when traffic is congested, drivers should use both lanes all the way to the definite merge point,' said Servatius.
'We can't completely rid the
roads from congestion in a workzone, but data from the study
revealed this method shortened queue lengths by 35 percent
and reduced lane changing conflicts,' said Mittelstadt. 'We
also hope for a decline in crashes and aggressive driving
Minnesota is one of the first states to use the Dynamic Late Merge System and plans are to continue this research in the upcoming construction season.
'People have been trying for years to research the proper way to merge, but there are so many factors to consider,' said Servatius. 'It's difficult to say what's the right way - instead we're looking for the best way.'
Here is what looks to me
a sensible solution (says Dr. Leon James).
It is electronic signage
dynamically adjusted to the flow of traffic. From ADDCO
Smart Traffic Solutions (TM) at http://www.cotrip.org/its/ITS%20Guidelines%20Web%20New%20Format%202-05/Web%20Solutions%20Packages/ITS%20Solution%20Packages%20-%20Web%20Copy/Work%20Zone%20Safety/SMART%20Lane%20Merge.pdf
Please read their description of Dynamic Message Signs and how they work.
Can't we all just merge?
The raging battle of I-690
by Hart Seely
(...) Still, at some point,
everybody has to merge. The state seeks to get it done early
on, far before the point of bottleneck. And as drivers on
the left are passing, scorning many chances to slide into
the traffic and instead going all the way to the front,
their counterparts on the right are boiling over. They were
there first. "Basically, what they're thinking is, it's
wrong to pass me. It's unfair," said Dr. Leon James,
co-author of the 2000 book "Road Rage and Aggressive
Driving." "They are reacting emotionally when they see a car
passing by. They sit there and rehearse in their minds all
the ways that they are being treated unfairly by these rude
drivers. The more their line slows down, the more the idea
Our Road Warrior Ride shotgun with reporter Hart Seely and experience the heartache and adrenaline rush as driver is pitted against driver and three lanes are forced to become one. Click below to watch the video.
Watch the video here
(This is an excellent
example of self-witnessing behind the wheel. The video
brings out the actual dilemma as drivers experience it in
the merge dilemma)
A few comments by readers of the Post Standard
The obvious answer - one I'm amazed has eluded the DOT for all this time - is not to announce that one lane will be 'ending'. Just put up signs that both lanes will merge into one. Use cones to merge everybody to the middle, then steer the one column wherever you want it. As long as nobody thinks they are in the lane that will continue to exist while others are in a lane about to vanish, everybody will just keep driving and merge one-to-one (with a few exceptions for the truly selfish). They have done this on the 690E-481N connection a few times, and traffic slows down but with no stoppage and no murderous road rage.
Other states do it that way
and laugh at our problems.
Posted by freqflyer on 06/08/08
Here in the Washington DC
area we have major traffic. We use the *merge at the end of
the lane* rule, it works perfectly.
Posted by FairmntBob on 06/08/08
There is no logic to the merge later to keep the line down theory. The bottleneck is the one lane, and only one lane can go through it. The sooner the merging is out of the way, the smoother the one lane of traffic can go through the one lane available, without extra stopping and going for merging. A single lane of 50 cars takes the same (or less, if there is last second jockeying) time as two lanes of 25 cars. It just looks longer. As to the line backing up farther back if the merging is early, that's a good thing because people can see the line and take an exit to avoid the mess!
People going up farther are simply cutting ahead in the line... if you can't see that you aren't paying attention!
August 3, 2008
The Urge to Merge
By CYNTHIA GORNEY
HERE IS THE CALDECOTT TUNNEL PROBLEM. If there’s another person with you right now, you may end up raising your voices as you consider it. I’m just warning, is all. The last time I brought up the Caldecott Tunnel Problem among friends, two people who had been a happy couple for a long time started arguing, and then they looked at each other as if something new and disturbing were presenting itself, and when I got up to go, one of them was pounding the table and yelling at her beloved, “But that is so wrong!”
This is the point at which the North American driving populace, as you know, cleaves into two camps.
Two-thirds of us, according to calculations I have made while brooding inordinately about this inside my Subaru, are lineuppers, slowing rapidly from 70 to 30 or 20 or whatever and taking our places — courteously and patiently, as our mothers taught us to do, respecting the broad tenets of social justice and the primacy of fairness to all persons on the road, regardless of income or ethnicity or car model or perceived level of personal importance — where was I? Oh. Sorry. Taking our places at the end of the line, I was saying, the long two-lane line that has formed to the right, creeping toward the mouth of our tunnel bore. There is still some empty lane space beside us on the left, true, where the cones are gradually closing those left lanes down. But people are already lined up. If we passed them on the left to get in farther ahead, we would be cutting the line.
One third of us, on the other hand, zoom on by. For purposes of this problem, I shall call these sidezoomers. (When I raised the Caldecott Tunnel Problem with my father, who is 83, he startled me by suggesting a longer label that included more bad words than I believe I have ever heard him use at one time.) Sidezoomers have a variety of strategies, each exaggerated by the configuration of the Caldecott but replicated in bottlenecks across the land: there are the ones who zoom by a few dozen cars, angling in when they see a plausible opening; and there are the ones who zoom all the way up, to the very top of the cone-off funnel, at which point they thrust their aggressive little self-entitled fenders toward the lineup and nudge themselves in. And there are those who opt for frontage-road sidezooming, which requires maneuvering into the far-right highway lane in order to get off at a certain pretunnel exit that dumps cars onto a surface street alongside Highway 24. They zip along that street and get back on 24 at the next entrance, slipping in ahead of the bumper-to-bumper highway lineup they just bypassed. So now they’re cutting the line, too, but from the right.
And that very last exit lane before the tunnel, also on the right? You can’t get back onto the highway once you’ve exited there, but if you’re a sidezoomer you can slide into the empty exit-only lane, still on the highway but pretending you’re leaving, and then you drive and drive right past all the lineuppers until whoops, now at the last minute you’ve changed your mind and you’re not exiting at all; you’re sneaking back into the line.
So I started consulting professionals on my own: traffic engineers, the highway police, queuing theorists. The learning curve, it must be said, was robust. I hadn’t known queuing had theories. But of course it does, mathematicians and business-operations people have to work them out, the heart-attack patient gets in ahead of the sprained ankle and nobody has a problem with that, and anybody who has been to Europe intuitively understands what one engineer meant when in midsentence he said to me, “perfect England,” meaning culturally mandated compulsive queuing, and, “perfect Italy,” meaning culturally mandated compulsive nonqueuing. I learned about the father of modern queuing theory, an early 1900s Dane whose specific who-goes-first challenge was the new Copenhagen telephone system, which required callers, disembodied but queued nonetheless, to be moved along in a way both maximally efficient and acceptable to all. I learned some of the ways a crush of traffic is and is not like a crush of opera fans outside Lincoln Center — the speed factor, the isolating qualities of an auto’s steel bubble, the coarsening effect of no-eye-contact anonymity. I learned that Officer Sam Morgan, of the California Highway Patrol, occasionally uses the term “cranial-rectal inversion” when referring to drivers of especially poor judgment, which was one of the most satisfactory things I learned all summer, come to think of it. I asked each professional the same questions:
1. If you were inside your personal vehicle, approaching a bottleneck that offered you the options of lineup or sidezoom, which option would you select?
2. For practical purposes —
maximum vehicle flow, minimal hang-up — who’s right?
A University of Washington engineer named Bill Beaty, who was one of the first traffic scholars I located, has come up with his own bottleneck-behavior labels: Cheaters and Vigilantes. He disapproves of both. When I acknowledged belonging to the choleric wing of the vigilante order, he was unyielding but sympathetic. “That’s just human,” he said. Beaty is a proponent of the third-way prescription, which I’ll get to in a minute; he’s an electrical engineer, not formally trained in traffic flow but so interested in it that for a decade he has kept up a link-filled Web page, amasci.com/amateur/traffic/links.html, connecting to scores of diagrams and scholarly papers and discussion groups, a whole subuniverse of people preoccupied with the physics and psychology of traffic. (You can click from Beaty’s page to a comic Italian animated traffic short, a German traffic-flow simulator that twitches and rotates and a live-cam shot of one nasty section of Seattle’s I-5.)(...)
Nearly every time I asked one of the traffic people to assume the role of the great vehicle arranger in the sky, remote-controlling each of us bottleneck drivers as if we were so many video-game characters, the reply went as follows:
FIRST, EVERYBODY REMAINS UNRUFFLED, without abrupt changes of lane or speed, as the lane-drop comes into view. Everybody takes three deep, cleansing breaths — all right, the experts didn’t say that, but they meant to — and considers both the imminent needs of everybody else and the system as a smoothly functioning whole.
Then everybody begins to slow, not too much, all in concert. All cars remain in their lanes, using all the real estate. (On the question of frontage roads and exit-only lanes, the experts waffled; those are arguably part of the real estate, they agreed, but they are meant for a different purpose, and this scenario relies upon everybody buying into the same rules. So no frontage-roading or fake-exit-laning, unless there’s a sign specifically instructing otherwise.) People in the narrowing left lanes refrain from shooting ahead, while people in the right through lanes — this is hard to swallow, for those of us inclined toward vigilantism, but crucial — leave big spaces in front of their cars for the merging that is about to commence. We resist the freeze-out-the-sidezoomer urge. We prepare to invite them in.
Finally, at clearly marked or somehow mutually agreed upon places, everybody starts conducting beautiful “zipper merges.” That’s the technical term — one-two, one-two or one-two-three, one-two-three — as indicated by the roadway configuration. The process has now worked at its ideal efficiency/equitability ratio: if all have behaved correctly, the tunnel passage has been both benign and, relatively speaking, quick. Personal sacrifice has been called for, to be sure. The former sidezoomers have sacrificed the pleasure of high-speed bypass, also known as I Beat Out the Stupid Sheep Just Now, Ha Ha (less truculent rendition: I Want to Get Home More Than I Care About Strangers Whose Faces I Can’t Even See). The former lineuppers have sacrificed the pleasure of self-congratulatory umbrage, also known as Hmph, Good Thing Society Has People Like Me. Together we have all ascended to the traffic decorum of the army ants, who as Vanderbilt observes are among the earth’s most accomplished commuters, managing to get from one place to another in large groups without cutting each other off, deciding their time is more valuable than everybody else’s, or — apparently this is the fast-lane domination method for certain traveling land crickets — eating anybody who gets in the way.
Cynthia Gorney teaches at
the Graduate School of Journalism at the University of
California, Berkeley. Her most recent article for the
magazine was about Spanish-Language advertising.
Traffic Waves by Beatty Explained
Government of Australia
Final Report April 2005
Key concepts: Road Violence, Road Hostility and Selfish Driving.
Selfish driving involves time urgent or self-oriented driving behavior, which is committed at the expense of other drivers in general, but which is not specifically targeted at particular individuals.
The Committee came to the conclusion that road violence is not caused by any single factor. Rather, an act of road violence is the result of the complex interplay of a number of factors. In the Committee’s view, road violence is no different from other forms of violence even though the involvement of motor vehicles can increase the potential for physical harm. The model shown on page 186 (Figure 10.1) of the Final Report explains the Committee’s understanding of the interaction of the various factors involved. In any road violence incident there will be a chain of events starting with a triggering event. Person related and situational factors play a role in the interpretation of the triggering event that in turn play a role in how an individual will react to the trigger that may result in a road violence incident taking place.
The Committee believes that
this model can assist in analyzing the effectiveness of strategies and
initiatives relating to violence associated with motor
See the full report here: Inquiry into Violence Associated with Motor Vehicle Use
These stunts, which can earn a driver a seven-day vehicle impound and license suspension as easily as a street race, can include:
1. Doing a "wheelie" on a motorcycle
2. Doing donuts
3. Passing another vehicle and remaining in the oncoming lane longer than necessary to complete the pass
4. Driving a vehicle with someone in the trunk
5. Not having the driver sit in the driver's seat
6. Preventing other people from passing
7. Interfering with other vehicles by cutting them off or causing them to stop or slow down in circumstances where they would not normally do so
8. Intentionally driving close to another vehicle, pedestrian or fixed object (this includes tailgating)
9. Turning left in front of oncoming traffic as soon as the light for both directions changes to green
10. Driving a motor vehicle at a
rate of speed that is 50 km/h or more over the speed limit.
Younger drivers with the longest commutes are most likely to react to an aggressive or rude driver. Those with the longest drives are the most likely to make an obscene gesture.
To get the survey results, Prince Market Research, an independent marketing research company, conducted 2,512 interviews between Feb. 4 and March 23. The survey has a margin of error of 2 percent.
State takes on aggressive driving to change
By Mike Cronin
TRIBUNE-REVIEW Sunday, May 25, 2008
Local and state law enforcement, health department and nonprofit officials have created Smooth Operator, a $2 million state-funded program that seeks to modify bad behavior on roadways and save lives.
"Sixty-five percent of
traffic fatalities in the state are due to aggressive
driving," said Jay Ofsanik, a PennDOT spokesman. (…)
Pennsylvania's approach is
part of a nationwide movement toward attempting to define
and prevent aggressive driving. State and federal officials
don't agree on what defines aggressive driving, but
generally agree it's a combination of driving behaviors that
include speeding, weaving, passing improperly and
Operator went statewide last year, said
David Pritt, a PennDOT spokesman. Seven Western Pennsylvania
counties receive an annual share of $740,000 to pay for
police to work overtime several two-week periods a year and
specifically look for aggressive drivers. The next period is
scheduled for June 23-July 6. The most recent was April
Aggressive driving is a habit, Pritt said. "It's different than road rage," Pritt said. "Aggressive driving is being done on a daily basis. Road rage, like shouting profanities at another driver, is a description of what occurred during an incident."
Thirteen states have
aggressive driving laws, said Matt Sundeen, a transportation
analyst with the Denver-based National Conference of State
Legislatures. Georgia and Indiana levy the harshest
penalties, where people convicted face fines up to $5,000
and jail time of up to one year.
In Pennsylvania, an
aggressive driving bill introduced in October by state Rep.
Anthony Melio, a Bucks County Democrat, remains in
committee. If passed, the law would levy a $300 fine on
drivers who endanger a person or property by violating two
or more traffic rules, such as passing and disobeying
traffic signals. (…)
Neighboring Ohio and West Virginia do not have aggressive driving laws. Officials there, as in Pennsylvania, try to change driving habits through stricter application of existing laws or education.
U.S. Rep. Nick Rahall,
D-W.Va., supports an education
campaign to battle aggressive driving.
"Laws alone have a limited
effect in changing human behavior," said Rahall, vice
chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure
Speaking from experience, Leon
James, a University of Hawaii professor who
specializes in traffic
psychology, said perhaps the best way to reduce
aggressive driving is through personal responsibility.
"I learned you have to have
an attitude of latitude," James said. "You have to be more
tolerant of what other people do. Be less critical and
judgmental. Because what they do, you do."
How to respond to an aggressive driver:
• Do not make eye contact.
• Do not "argue with your car."
• Yield to the other driver in a dispute over who has the right-of-way.
• Let tailgaters pass you.
• Watch for tailgaters to pull in front of you too quickly.
• Always think: "What can I do to make this situation safer?"
How to stop driving aggressively:
• Try to change one thing every day.
• Do not race another driver.
• Give yourself enough time to get to a destination.
• Don't tailgate.
• Go with the flow and speed of traffic.
• Don't get in the car to drive when angry.
Sources: J.J. Miller, AAA safety adviser; Leon James, University of Hawaii professor who specializes in traffic psychology
Calif. cell phone laws at a glance
29, 2008 By The Associated Press, AP
Here is an overview of the
two cell phone laws that take effect Tuesday in California:
- Drivers under 18 are prohibited from using a wireless telephone, pager, laptop or any other electronic communication or mobile service device while driving. They cannot talk on a cell phone, even with a hands-free device, nor can they text-message. They will be allowed to make calls in an emergency.
- Drivers 18 and over must use a hands-free device when using their cell phone while driving. Text-messaging is not specifically banned for adults, but the California Highway Patrol said they can be cited for negligence under existing laws.
There is no grace period for violators. Beginning Tuesday, anyone seen driving while holding a cell phone to their ear will be subject to base fines of $20 for the first ticket and $50 for subsequent tickets, plus additional fees that will more than triple the fine.
Department of Motor Vehicles will not assign a
violation point to motorists' driving records.
Drivers of all ages - with
or without a hands-free device - can use their cell phones
in an emergency.
See also: Distracted Driving
The New York Times By STEWART AIN
Published: June 8, 2008
Stopping Aggressive Drivers From on High
(...) The Long Beach police have begun cracking down on speeders and reckless drivers with a novel approach — stationing an officer in a utility-truck bucket 25 feet in the air.
The officer radios information on traffic violators he spots to three officers on the ground. Instead of pursuing the violators in a police car, the officers stop all traffic and then “surgically extricate” them from the traffic, Lieutenant Tangney said.(...)
There were 24 fewer accidents during the first three months of this year even though the project did not begin until February. That was a 10 percent drop compared with the same period a year ago, Lieutenant Tangney said. At the same time, he said, the department’s 45 patrol officers have issued about 400 more traffic summonses, a 20 percent increase. (...)
Aggressive driving, rapid acceleration and braking can affect fuel mileage. By avoiding such behavior, you can see savings up to 30 percent. That could be a savings of more than $1 per gallon. See original article here
Hypermiling: the new way to save money on the road
Rob Barrett finds driving a new kind of challenge. That's because the Eden Prairie dad is coasting along using a new driving trend: hypermiling.
"You take a two thousand pound car, you accelerate to 60 miles per hours. That's like a thousand joules of energy," Barrett said. "You just throw it all away by putting on the brakes."
Instead, Barrett -- like other hypermilers across the country -- rely on a technique of coasting and little accelerating. They also use the standby techniques of driving the speed limit and keeping their tires inflated to the right pressure. The trend is getting traction, especially with rising gas prices. "It's only going to go up and it's not going down. If I can use half as much it's just great," he said.
Barrett estimates he's gone from 27 miles per gallon... to 40, using his 1999 Acura Integra, not a hybrid. That's 50 percent better gas mileage, which is saving him money.
Fuel economy-maximizing behaviors
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Various terms describe drivers using unusual driving techniques to maximize fuel efficiency. A few of these are:
· Hypermilers are drivers who exceed the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimated fuel efficiency on their vehicles by modifying their driving habits. The term 'hypermiler' originated from hybrid vehicle driving clubs and Wayne Gerdes in particular. As people began comparing fuel efficiency, they noticed that by using certain driving techniques, they could greatly improve their mileage. With the aid of real time mileage displays, drivers were able to refine these driving techniques and greatly exceed the EPA rating for their vehicle. Decades before the word 'hypermiler' was used, the techniques were used in events such as Mobil Economy Run dating to 1936.  Gas rationing during World War II forced some drivers to adopt these techniques, but they largely fell out of favor with the population after the war. Hypermiler Wayne Gerdes can get 59 MPG in a Honda Accord and 30 MPG in an Acura MDX.
· Ecodriving is a term used in Europe to name initiatives which support energy efficient use of vehicles. The campaigns include training courses with hands on training - fuel gauges etc.
(...) He said he would drive below the speed limit whenever he could do so without holding up traffic, and Engels said he doesn’t mind taking a curious turn or two on his way to a destination. (...) Engels is a hypermiler – a growing number of drivers who modify their driving habits to exceed EPA fuel efficiency standards for their vehicles.” (...)
Engels owns a hybrid car that he customized with aerodynamic hubcaps and an internal radio antenna to cut down on drag, but he said anyone can benefit from hypermiling. (...) “Actually, the people that have regular cars can turn out better percentage performance than the hybrids do,” he said. (...) In addition to well-known fuel-saving techniques – such as maintaining proper tire pressure and keeping windows rolled up and air conditioners turned off – hypermilers try to keep their vehicles in constant motion. (...)
Hypermilers driven to maximize gas mileage
Tuesday, July 8, 2008
HAMILTON / The Dallas Morning News
Chuck Thomas regularly putters along on the highway at 50 mph in his Honda Insight, swerves into turns rather than hitting the brakes, and, when nobody is looking, jumps from the car and pushes it into a parking space.
All just to save a little
Mr. Thomas of Lewisville
belongs to an emerging subculture born of the ability to
track gas mileage via a dashboard gauge. Hypermilers use a
variety of techniques to maximize fuel efficiency: airing
the tires up to or beyond the recommended pressure, forgoing
air conditioning, coasting whenever possible (sometimes with
the engine off), timing their arrivals at intersections to
hit green lights and traveling around 50 mph on the highway.
Since he began hypermiling,
Mr. Thomas has been squeezing 85 to 90 mpg out of his hybrid
Insight, a car rated at 53 mpg.
"Fanatic is what the lazy
call the dedicated," notes Mr. Thomas at the bottom of his
posts at CleanMPG.com, a Web site devoted to the hypermiling
community and its fuel-efficient techniques.
Hypermilers cite several
reasons for maximizing mileage, including protecting the
environment, saving money, having fun while driving, and
even decreasing American dependence on foreign oil.
"Hypermiling is a little
addictive," said Reid Stewart, an attorney from Irving who
started when he bought a BMW with a gas mileage gauge. "It
becomes a competition with yourself to see how well you can
Hypermilers do sacrifice
travel time for the sake of gas mileage. In a televised
event, Mr. Gerdes and a reporter each drove from Chicago to
New York in a hybrid Toyota Prius. According to Mr. Gerdes,
the reporter made it in 13 hours at 39 mpg. Mr. Gerdes
needed 15½ hours, but he did it on one tank of gas at 71
"There's a thousand reasons
to choose to be a hypermiler," Mr. Gerdes said. "There's
only one reason not to, and that's: 'I've got to be there
KEYS TO BETTER GAS MILEAGE
Digital mileage gauge: This device hooks into the vehicle's computer and gives instant feedback on fuel consumption, allowing drivers to see what practices burn excess fuel. It costs about $150.
Tires: Filling tires to the recommended or maximum pressure can have a big impact on fuel economy. While there is less friction in a highly pressurized tire, it also can make the ride bumpier.
Speed: Varying speeds can be ideal for gas mileage, but driving more than 60 mph always decreases fuel economy substantially. Every 5 mph over 60 mph reduces fuel economy by the equivalent of 30 cents per gallon.
Weight: Keep the car as light as possible. Every 100 pounds off the vehicle can increase fuel economy by 1 percent to 2 percent.
Gas and brake pedals: Only use the pedals when absolutely necessary, which means keeping an eye on the road ahead and planning your drives accordingly. Don’t accelerate toward a stop sign. Coming to a complete stop nets 0 miles per gallon, so setting a pace in a traffic crunch and timing green lights can go a long way toward helping gas mileage.
Sources: fueleconomy.gov and hypermiling expert Wayne Gerdes
tricks save gas but stir up some criticism
By Liz F. Kay and Josh
Mitchell | Baltimore Sun reporters June 11, 2008
(...) Estimates of
potential savings vary, but one expert says the driver of a
nonhybrid vehicle could improve his fuel economy 50 percent
by applying basic tips. (...) Other hypermilers stress the
environmental benefits. But some auto experts question the
safety of advanced hypermiling techniques such as "drafting"
- closely following tractor-trailers to cut down on the flow
of air against a vehicle.
a University of Hawaii professor who has written about the psychology
of driving, said hypermiling can become a form of
aggressive driving if, for example, drivers practice it in
the fast lane, forcing others to drive around them, or if
they coast through stop signs.
"If you were behind someone
who's practicing certain features of hypermiling, you get
very annoyed," James said. "Hypermiling can be a selfish
thing to do."
Ed Kriston of AAA said that
the automobile group encourages gentle driving to save gas
but discourages aggressive types of hypermiling. "Some of
the things they do are very dangerous," he said. He pointed
to drivers going below the speed limit on highways such as
Interstate 795, where the limit is typically higher than
those posted on most highways. (...)
The biggest factor in
getting better gas mileage is driving at a moderate speed -
55 mph instead of 65 or 75 mph - the publication reported.
When the Toyota Camry's cruising speed was increased from 55
to 65 mph, the car's fuel economy dropped from 40 mpg to 35,
it reported. Other techniques include keeping tires properly
inflated and avoiding frequent bursts of acceleration,
sudden braking, the use of premium fuel and driving on a
(...) Hypermilers also use
their air conditioning more efficiently, Gerdes said. He cools
his car before he starts the engine by opening windows and
"I don't go so slow that it
would be annoying," said Semmes, a founder of the Mount
Washington Green Club. He also shifts into neutral when
going downhill and tries to get behind big trucks, although,
he said, "I'm afraid to get too close, so I'm not sure it
makes a difference." Semmes is motivated by his concern for
the environment, but he also hypermiles, he said, "because
it's cool." Other drivers gave various reasons for starting
to slow down.
(...) Other drivers said the
potential savings on gas wouldn't compensate for time lost
by driving slower. "That's what old people do," said Carl
Henninger, 27, another Costco customer. "It would definitely
make a difference, but I'm not going to change my life for
50 cents a gallon." (...)
Sources: Consumer Reports,
AAA Advises Hypermilers to Steer Clear of Dangerous
Updated: June 24, 2008
(...) They are referring to the measures drivers take to conserve fuel called "hypermilling." AAA defines it as trying to exceed a vehicle's fuel efficiency rating by drastically modifying driving and maintenance habits.
"The goals of hypermiling are positive, such as eliminating aggressive driving and saving energy," said Marshall L. Doney, AAA Automotive vice president. "Unfortunately, some motorists have taken their desire to improve fuel economy to extremes with techniques that put themselves, as well as their fellow motorists, in danger."
Hypermiling includes cutting off the vehicle's engine or putting it in neutral to coast on a roadway, tailgating or drafting larger vehicles, rolling through stop signs and driving at erratic and unsafe speeds. AAA says such actions put drivers at risk because loss of power to steering and brakes limit how they will react to quickly changing traffic conditions.
Doney says these extreme driving behaviors are dangerous, and some are illegal. There are, he says, several safe and legal techniques motorists can use to conserve fuel, such as smooth and easy acceleration and braking, maintaining a steady speed, using cruise control and looking ahead to anticipate changing traffic conditions.
Hypermiling, the term given to a range of techniques whose goal is to cut costs, may also include how motorists maintain their vehicles to obtain optimal fuel economy. That can include keeping tires properly inflated, which can improve mileage by two to three percent, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.
AAA notes some drivers have taken this advice too far by over-inflating their tires, which the Rubber Manufacturer's Association says can make them more susceptible to road hazard damage and result in premature wear to the center portion of the tread. Over-inflation can also cause handling issues because less tire surface is making contact with the road.
Using the recommended grade of motor oil is also helpful in improving fuel economy. However, some hypermilers opt to use the lowest 'weight' oil which has the lowest kinematic viscosity. Engineers say using too light of oil can cause major damage to a vehicle's engine. (...)
"We recommend that motorists avoid jackrabbit starts and lead-foot braking that are proven fuel wasters," said AAA Idaho spokesman Dave Carlson. "Don't go overboard on hypermiling techniques that can hurt you or damage your vehicle."
When Hypermiling Is Considered Aggressive Driving
These are all good and
legitimate reasons for joining the group of hypermilers.
Now here are some cautionary
things that hypermilers should be aware of and make them
into part of their practice. These are recommendations I
have on the basis of the driving psychology principle that
aggressive driving consists of imposing a level of risk on
others that they are not prepared to handle.
Part of the proper practice
of hypermiling on public roads and parking lots, is to
always take into account what is the effect of their
practice on other drivers. We are almost never alone in
public places, The way we walk and drive has an immediate
and unavoidable impact on another pedestrian or motorist.
This is obvious to everybody.
The problem is that we can
fabricate a justification for ignoring this obvious reality.
We all need to ask ourselves some questions and especially, to practice self-witnessing in public places. We need to teach ourselves the skill of monitoring how our actions in public impact others. Take for instance the motorist we call “the left lane bandit.” Drivers will occupy the passing lane when there is plenty room and opportunity to move over into the right lane. They might think, “It’s OK. No one is behind me.” But then, they are not as vigilant as they should be for safety and courtesy. They don’t check their rear view mirror every minute. So when a car comes up behind them, the left lane bandits don’t see it, or they see it, but don’t care. They think, “Let them pass me in the right lane. There is plenty room. Besides, I am going at speed limit.”
Here you can see that
drivers have the habit of spontaneously fabricating
justifications for maintaining the aggressive behavior. It
is aggressive to block the passing lane, whatever speed one
is travelling, as long as one can move over safely, and
someone is behind wanting to go through. Not to move over is
aggressive. Drivers know this instinctively, but if they
fabricate a justification, they can keep themselves from
moving over. The reason that not to move over is aggressive,
is that it forces others to take more risks for themselves
and others. It also causes them to react emotionally, unless
they already trained themselves to handle traffic emotions
appropriately. Drivers who react emotionally to the behavior
of left lane bandits, tend to execute the passing on the
right in a flurry of counter-aggressive moves. They do it
faster than is safe. They waste a lot more gas. They become
a danger to other motorists. They continue venting for
minutes afterward, losing their focus and concentration. All
this is the consequence of the fabricated justification of
left lane bandits. Aggressive driving that promotes more
aggressive driving on the road.
Now let us look at what the hypermilers sometimes do, and what they need to avoid doing in order to practice safe and acceptable hypermiling on public roads.
There are two categories of hypermiling strategies. One category involves doing something to the car that does not affect other drivers. These include strategies relating to:
The second category involves doing something to one’s driving style, which always impacts directly on other motorists. These include strategies relating to:
If you Google or Yahoo hypermiling or hypermilers, you will find sites, blogs, and discussions that warn against driving style strategies that are aggressive or illegal, and those that are enthusiastic about any hypermiling technique that can improve one’s fuel economy (FE). This is the danger zone of the hypermiling practice that is spreading across the land. Current hypermilers, and all who join their ranks, can be practicing both types of driving styles without realizing it.
As an expert on driving psychology, I strongly recommend to all hypermiling practitioners to monitor their driving techniques to observe how they impact other drivers. The practice of hypermiling must contain two components: the motivation to improve fuel economy, and the motivation to avoid aggressive driving techniques. Both motives must be present.
Aggressive driving techniques by hypermilers include anything they do which impacts other motorists by increasing the risk to which they are exposed by the hypermiler.
Here are some examples from the description of hypermilers. These techniques will often affect other motorists, so that hypermilers must monitor how their driving strategy affects the risk on other motorists.
These techniques can be
aggressive and annoying. Driving in a way that annoys other
motorists is to contribute to a risk hazard. For instance, “ridge
riding” involves the practice of driving very close to
the outside edge of the road in order to keep the vehicle's
tires out of the slight depressions (ruts) worn into the
road surface by the constant pounding of daily traffic. This
may seem innocuous when you’re alone on the road, but if
you’re driving in traffic drivers behind you have to
readjust to seeing your car slightly off center, which is
not what they normally expect. It reduces predictability and
introduces some confusion.
Here are two recent email messages I received from hypermiling enthusiasts:
I've been reading through your site, and I feel it is very good. My nature is to try to agree with people and to delve into the reasons why they say what they do.
One example from your
writings involves letting a person in who is trying to merge
with traffic. An inexperienced hypermiler might be intent on
maintaining exactly 57.3 mph or some other speed in order to
maximize their mpg. Yes, I would consider this a form of
"aggressive" driving and would not condone it. I try to pick
up merging traffic as soon as possible. If they are not
moving in my windshield, I know we are on a collision
course, so I will adjust my speed (usually slower for
hypermiling) in order to let them in without conflict. I
don't expect a wave of appreciation as it happens so early,
they would not perceive that I did let them in. It will
actually improve my mileage as hypermiling adjustments must
be very subtle or it ruins my mpg. Far better to make a
relaxed adjustment early than an abrupt one later.
Our concern as hypermilers is that we are being portrayed in the media as crazy drafters (we don't condone drafting closer than 3 or 4 seconds) or selfish people who don't care if we block traffic in order to get the best mpg. The reality is that we get the best mpg when we become a part of the traffic flow in a way that the fewest number of people have to make abrupt changes.
Yesterday, I took a 15 mile ride around town pretending a hostile reporter was in the right seat and would report everything I did to inconvenience others. I found that I never needed to go slowly to enhance my mpg at a time when it would inconvenience others. In order to be a good hypermiler in the city, it's imperative to get in those spaces between the packs that form at lights. If someone from the trailing pack is catching me, that means I'm going too slowly to get a green light at the next intersection and I speed up.
This type of driving is new to many people and mistakes will be made. Hopefully, you will become accepted among hypermilers as a source of information that can help us out. I'll do my best to understand your point of view. Meanwhile, I'd suggest you give the slow acceleration, constant speed, anticipating lights way of driving which forces intent concentration on traffic patterns in all directions and then perhaps, you will understand our point of view.
Gary Thaller (“Gershon”)
And the second message:
This week, the Baltimore Sun had two hypermiling articles...the first one was clearly anti-hypermiling. After visiting www.drdriving.org and a second read, I strongly suspect your quote in the article was taken out of context to promote the reporter's bias.
The quote was: "hypermiling can be a form of aggressive driving". This can be true, but the vast majority of hypermilers are working hard to also be courteous while driving - something we promote at www.cleanmpg.com . There were many things in that article dissing hypermiling. Numerous article over hype the rare practice of drafting semis...I suspect this is partially due to reporters copying earlier articles on the topic (which it was mentioned), it's an attention-getter, and simply a dislike for non-aggressive driving. In general, I have found a number of speeders angered by the mere fact someone is going under the speed limit. For instance - I leave before rush hour in Dallas going 50 in a 60 with three lanes. I'll be in the rightmost lane, but someone going so fast they obviously never behind me will blast their horn. In rush hour I'd adjust, BTW.
At www.cleanmpg.com, we do promote defensive driving and to do what we can to pursue better fuel economy with annoying drivers behind us.
Chuck Thomas aka Delta Flyer at www.cleanmpg.com
Thank you for your reply. To briefly describe what hypermilers are doing.
The community of hypermilers I know and converse with at www.cleanmpg.com do whatever we can do to stay out of the way of faster drivers while attempting to go farther. Tactics include avoiding rush hour, choosing less congested roads when available, driving on the rightmost lane, on freeways taking the access road between intersections, putting the emergency flashers on as a would be tailgater is approaching (a tremendous stress reducer!), allowing others to pass whenever possible. In heavy traffic situations, I will speed up if necessary.
If a hypermiler fails to do what was just described, then he would be inconsiderate and probably the variation of an aggressive driver as quoted in the Baltimore Sun. The basic issue with that article's general tone to all but the careful reads made it seem like you said "hypermilers are inconsiderate drivers" when you actually said "hypermilers could be inconsiderate/selfish drivers". Again, I apologize for being a bit too quick. Yes, a hypermiler could poke in the fast lane or HOV lane, go 20mph slower than the traffic immediately around them, roll through stop signs, hold up traffic. All of those actions are inconsiderate and are discouraged at www.cleanmpg.com.
Beyond the article, I have found both on the road and whenever netizens can comment to any hypermiling article that aggressive drivers simply hate hypermilers - strong statement, but google one up and it will be obvious. Several personal theories. One is speeders probably feel more secure in packs - if the 90% of drivers speeding start to observe the postings, the remaining speeders are going to be much easier to pullover. Guilt is another pet theory. I liken this to the "sex, drugs, and rock-and-roll" dudes giving the preacher's kid a hard time because the mere presence of a clean cut person makes them uncomfortable....got stories of hybrid drivers getting hostile looks at the gas station from others filling up gas guzzlers, occasionally taking it to the freeway as road rage.
Finally, some read politics into hypermiling and hybrids to an absurd degree...if you took that "your ride reflects your politics/religion/orientation" - I'd definitely be driving a one ton pickup truck, but I chose my Honda Insight for pragmatism and economics instead.
Date: Fri, 20 Jun 2008 19:52:05 -0700 (PDT)
From: Gershon ben Franja <email@example.com>
Subject: bumper stickers
I am reading your site a lot, which is a good thing. In the past couple of weeks, I've noticed a big change in traffic patterns. Hypermilers are common in the right lane. Probably most of them don't know the term, but people are slowing well before red lights. This is making traffic much smoother in the city as it avoids what I call the "bump and go" at a red light. Instead of everyone coming to a stop at the light, people are coasting, so when it changes they are able to go through. It seems to be much more efficient. Nobody seems to tailgate those slowing early. In fact, people seem to recognize that keeping about 2 -4 second spacing will make it better for them. So, I think hypermiling is a good thing for the city.
I've also noticed a LOT of people turning off their engines at lights. There is no problem with anyone getting started in time. So that's a good thing. The interstate is a different story. Most of the problems seem to be caused by trucks that can't accelerate to pass and don't want to waste gas by slowing. This is creating more bottlenecks around trucks. It's not so much the truck, as it is the person behind the truck who waits until they are right upon it before wanting to pass. Now people in the left lane are hesitant to pass because the stuck person might pull out.
There is also more traffic on the interstate as people spend more time there with the average speed being slower. In time, I think this issue will work itself out as people get used to it. Country roads are empty. Last night I rode my bike 35 miles on a mountain road and didn't see a single vehicle coming the opposite direction. Sometimes we will have different opinions on things. I saw this quote from you:
"Leon James, a noted expert on driving psychology and road rage, says people who act on their road rage tend to express their emotional territoriality more than others, something that could easily translate to the purchase of "overt" vehicle adornments. "Anything you put on your car is aggressive because it forces other people to look at it," says James, a professor at the University of Hawaii. "Drivers aren't out on the road to read your message."
Nobody can force me to do
anything. If I am not in a place where I can read a bumper
sticker, I don't read it. I think billboards are the same
way. Anyway, not a big deal, but the funniest one I saw was
"The closer you get, the slower I go." I think we'd agree
this one is aggressive. On tailgating. In my car, I've found
a very effective way of dealing with tailgaters. I find that
if I slow ever so slightly to where they would hardly notice
and then accelerate about 5 mph they pretty much stay back.
I seldom get tailgated as I find people tend to mimic the
spacing the car ahead of them has. If I don't tailgate, I
don't get tailgated.
Quoting Comments on Hypermiling from readers on
various sites (6-11-08):
(…) It’s not acceptable to go five under because most people are on the road to get somewhere, not to extend their fuel range. The hypermilers become moving roadblocks. They have noble intentions, but they’re practically off-base. I would suggest that instead of playing the high-mileage game with their cars, they might just try riding the train or the bus. (…)
Posted by Brandon
You are most definitely right that going slow is not socially acceptable. Cars moving quickly don’t force anyone to speed up, however cars going slowly force everyone behind them to go slow. If you insist on going slow then use surface streets, and if you go too slow for surface streets use residential streets.
Posted by Mike B
Getting up to the speed of traffic in a timely manner is basic human decency. If you pull out of a driveway or turn from an intersecting street and proceed to coast along 15 mph under the limit, forcing cars behind you to jump on their brakes, you’re causing traffic snarls — not to mention potential accidents. If even 10% of the cars on the road insist on coasting around well under the speed of traffic, we’re all going to spend so much time idling in traffic jams that all energy-saving measures are moot.
When I get trapped behind one of these people, I often can’t even change lanes safely, because cars will be approaching from behind so quickly that I can’t see them until they’re already dangerously close. I want to be okay with people driving under the speed limit, but I can’t figure out how to accommodate them without endangering myself.
Posted by EAS
Hypermiling might be fine, but when you become a moving roadblock and are doing less than the speed limit, plus coasting you incite roadrage in the people behind you. Take that guy in the large SUV that now is pissed and wants to pass you. You may be getting 60 mpg’s out of your Prius by coasting and driving 5 mph under, but when he gets a chance to pass you he’s gonna floor that beast and eeek out maybe 8 mpg’s. So what you’re conserving in gas he’s consuming. The end result: All that hypermiling you just did was for nothing.
At least obey the speed limits and don’t go pissing off those large SUV’s. And if you’re gonna do it on the interstate get ALL the way over to the right hand lane!!!
Posted by Capt. Concernicus
I really do wish, though, that those who are driving below the speed limit would move to the right rather than sitting out in a left or middle lane. They really just don’t seem to get that they are causing danger by messing up the traffic flow as others try to get around them. They *also* seem oblivious to the fact that cars bunching up behind them isn’t particularly safe, either.
Posted by jen l
To posters 2 and 3, they are proof that it is not socially acceptable. The problem (for them) is that it is perfectly legal. It’s true that most people “are on the road to get somewhere,” but that does not somehow mean that they have the right to force other people to get there at the same speed. There is nothing wrong with driving 5 under the speed limit when the only minimum speed limits I have ever seen on a highway are 20 below.
This is the same type of argument given by people who try to run cyclists off the road in town. a Bicycle has every right to drive in the road at 15 mph, even if someone behind them is trying to “get somewhere”.
Posted by Kwali
Before deciding what to make of “hypermiling”, I actually spent time on the web site, and discovered that they do NOT condone drafting other vehicles and/or coasting with the engine off. It appears from their blogs that a just a few try it, but most stick with safer techniques. What I see is mostly sensible things like keeping the car tuned up, not exceeding the speed limit, and avoiding jackrabbit starts/stops. Therefore, I conclude that these folks are making our roads safer, and not more hazardous.
Posted by Kenneth
The New Practice of
The Philosophy Behind the Hypermiling Driving Style
The War Between
Hypermilers and Non-Hypermilers
By Dr. Leon James
If you observe motorists at
traffic lights you notice that a hypermiling driving style is being practiced by more and more drivers.
They coast towards the intersection, slowing down earlier,
gradually decreasing speed, instead of the usual way,
which is to approach the intersection at the rate of
travel, then more or less abruptly, putting on the brakes.
This usual technique uses up more gas. Any time you apply
the brakes, you are “wasting” gas – this is the central
motivating idea of the hypermiler’s philosophy of driving.
It’s an attitude that leads more drivers to shut off their
engine while “sitting” at a red light.
One practitioner recently wrote to me in an email: “Hypermiling changes a person psychologically into being more relaxed while driving.”
To hypermilers, doing
hypermiling has become a special driving identity.
“Yesterday, I was watching traffic approaching a red light. Out of maybe 50 cars that I watched, only 2 didn't slow down early. I was also sitting at a red light and noticed several people had their engines shut off. I saw an elderly grandmother type do a perfect coast to a light last week. She seemed to be an expert.”
As this comment illustrates,
hypermilers admire each other’s “expertise” in the skills of
driving. A well documented hypermiling
practitioner’s Web site has replied to recent news stories
reporting criticisms by safety officials of hypermiling
You can see the article
Quoting: “CleanMPG stresses that beginning Hypermilers should add only one new method at a time, if necessary testing at low speeds in an empty parking lot or on a deserted back road, and should never try anything they feel will be unsafe. In Hypermiling , the driver exercises the same discretion required in all driving. Going 65mph may be deemed “safe” on a highway with a 65mph limit, but not in a mall parking lot, or for that matter on the same highway in rain or snow. Hypermilers drive more safely than today's average US driver because (a) they do not drive at speeds above the posted speed limits, (b) they focus intently on the road and traffic conditions around them, and (c) they keep to the right hand lane.”
Now this is what I would
call good hypermiling practices.
(1) smooth and gentle acceleration and braking
(2) maintaining a steady speed
(3) using cruise control
(4) looking ahead to anticipate changing traffic conditions.
The article also mentions techniques that I would call bad hypermiling practices, such as,
(1) not keeping to the right
(2) rolling through stop signs and red lights
(3) drafting or tailgating
The CleanMPG Website article defends good hypermiling practices: “Over the past few years, reporters from respected institutions such as CBS, ABC, Dan Rather Reports, and other regional as well as local news outlets have gone on "ride-a-longs" or Hypermiling Clinics with various CleanMPG members to experience Hypermiling firsthand. None of them stated either in person or in their reports that they found the methods hazardous but all witnessed respective fuel economy increases of as much as 100%!”
Gary Thaller (“Gershon”) wrote to me in an email:
“Perhaps if you are going to be giving interviews on hypermilers, you should try to become one. Then you will see the psychological changes it brings about for you. They may be different than for others. You may see it as a way of toning down aggressive riding by substituting a different form of competiveness. For example: One might smirk when they catch a racer at the next lght. Another might not care or even notice. The external actions are the same, but the intrinsic motivation is different.
If one stereotypes the type of people who become hypermilers, it gives a perception of a limitation to those who can start doing it. For example: To run in the Olympics, one needs a certain level of ability. But as is seen in the NYC Marathon every year, even a very handicapped person can be a runner. One may not have the desire to implement all the techniques in the way an Olympic runner does, but they can still hypermile at the level they are capable of doing.
There is a buffet of techniques. I'd suggest a person pick one, say coasting to lights instead of keeping speed up and braking late. Try it until it seems natural and then try another one.”
As you can see, hypermiling
has become a new social
community of practice on the roads and
streets of America. They have their own new standards of
“good driving.” Drivers who “waste” gas are not considered
good drivers. New fuel efficiency standards have become an
important measure of driving excellence. It’s not enough
any more to merely meet fuel efficiency standards
recommended by the vehicle manufacturer. Those are set too
low, way too low, according to hypermiling standards.
Now From the
Perspective of the Drivers Behind the Hypermilers
Not hypermiling is also a social practice in the driving community on the roads.
Before the great gas price
hikes, when gas was esteemed “affordable,” hypermiling was
not known as a community of practice. And yet, as an
illustration, I know that my wife was taught to drive by her
father in the 1960s and he taught her that the gas pedal
should not be used more than is necessary, like a “led
foot,” and that coasting was a good and smart thing to do
Monitor Your Mental Driving Economy
Emotional Territoriality in Driving – What Is It?
Driving involves traffic emotions, traffic
thoughts, and traffic actions.
These are three
independent systems of the driver that need to be trained
to work together efficiently. All drivers improve with
experience. But this is usually true only about one sector
of their traffic actions -- handling the vehicle. The
majority of drivers do not improve in their traffic
emotions and traffic thoughts.
territoriality refers to all the things that the
driver cares about and reacts to emotionally.
For instance, some drivers
care about how other motorists take care of their car,
whether it obviously needs a wash, or repair in a dent, or
engine maintenance. This traffic emotion is an extension
of the territory of things they care about. Other drivers
hardly notice anything about other cars, but they always
notice when another driver forgets to turn off the signal,
and they have an emotional reaction to it, which is
sometimes expressed facially and verbally, for example
“Look at that idiot. His signal is still blinking!”, which
may be accompanied by shaking the head in disbelief, or in
disapproval. Overtly aggressive drivers may go even
further in the expression of their disdain by yelling at
the driver while passing the car.
The yelling and the shaking of the head are traffic actions that result from the cooperation of their traffic emotions and their traffic thoughts. Understanding this cooperation is the key to managing our traffic experience, and improving it so that driving becomes less risky, more efficient, less stressful, more peaceful, more supportive, and even enjoyable and productive.
This is the driver’s loop.
Drivers feel overwhelmed by traffic emotions. This causes driving stress and the emotional use of the gas pedal. Both involve costs in higher risk and unhappiness. Drivers can learn to better manage their traffic emotions by monitoring their mental driving economy. This will give them an indication of their emotional territoriality. What are the things they notice about other cars and motorists? How do they react emotionally? What are their traffic thoughts in connection with these emotions?
Knowing their traffic
thoughts and traffic emotions, will allow drivers to
intervene in the process. The goal is to shrink
one’s emotional territoriality, to stop extending
their emotions to traffic events that do not impact them
directly. It involves shrinking one’s emotional
territoriality by practicing an attitude of latitude. We
can notice another driver speeding past us without
reacting emotionally. We can experience the sudden fright
when someone cuts us off and we have to break quickly. We
can’t help the emotional reaction, but we can do something
to cut it short. We have the choice of choosing traffic
thoughts that exasperate and intensify our disapproval of
the other driver, or, we can choose traffic calming
thoughts. We are in charge of our thoughts much more than
of our emotions, and by controlling our traffic thoughts,
we control our traffic emotions.
To achieve effective driver self-management, we need to know what we care about emotionally as we notice things around us. We need to monitor the traffic thoughts that go along with the traffic emotions. For instance, you’re looking for a parking space and notice one right next to a larger car that is not perfectly aligned. You’re annoyed. You feel outraged that you have to either squeeze in, or look for a better stall. If the driver would show up at this point you might glare at the person, or even verbally express hostility. When you think about this scenario from a manager’s perspective who is responsible for a fleet of drivers, you would not rank high with such traffic emotions, thoughts, and actions.
Meanwhile the generation of
drivers around did not get or heed this message. With gas
cheap and car maintenance affordable, a new driving practice
evolved, which can be called the emotional
of the gas pedal. It became an unconscious
thing to do for all “normal average” drivers. I have
observed that drivers today commonly use the gas
pedal to reduce traffic frustrations.
Many motorists love to hear
the roar of their own engines, and love to experience the
thrill of acceleration, straight ahead, or around the bend.
It feels like a great relief. This relief is an emotional
relief. The good feeling is attached to the foot. We begin
to love that pedal. We play footsie with it. We press it,
and the mechanical monster whirls, roars, and bounces in a
faithful dependable response. We are in love with it. It is
possessing power in a world in which we have but little, and
in which we get tossed around. But the gas pedal gives us
power, for a nice change. The gas pedal puts us in charge of
things, of how the vehicle is to move and locomote, and even
fly (for brief miliseconds anyway).
I observed that when drivers encounter a “left lane bandit” who just refuses to move over, even when being tailgated, they drive around the car in the right lane, as they have no other choice, but they do so by flooring the gas pedal, or using it more than is required for passing. This fuel inefficient maneuver is an emotional defense mechanism, to relieve the negative and explosive traffic emotions occasioned in us by the inconsiderateness of the passive-aggressive driving style of the left lane bandit. We feel inner road rage, and this dangerous traffic emotion is released in a less harmful manner than gesturing, yelling, or cutting off. The emotional use of the gas pedal may save the rageful driver from something much worse and unsafe.
Another common instance of
the emotional use of the gas pedal is to accelerate and
decelerate abruptly whenever some blockage to forward motion
is experienced – slower moving vehicle, slow moving
pedestrians, traffic lights, stop signs, on ramps,
construction zones, coned merge areas, back-ups, -- and now
More on the emotional use of the gas pedal in a Section earlier above...
Hypermilers and non-hypermilers have evolved into two road user communities that are in conflict with each other behaviorally, emotionally, politically, socially, and morally.
Their driving values clash. Their driving attitudes do not fit together smoothly. Their traffic thoughts are contrastive. Their driving goals are dissimilar. Their vehicular behaviors are mutually antagonistic.
How is the non-hypermiling
driver behind the hypermiler driver, going to experience the
vehicle mediated contact?
I have been studying traffic emotions and traffic thoughts for three decades. I can predict that the war between hypermilers and non-hypermilers is going to heat up in the entire range of the driving community – motorists, safety officials, government agencies, advocacy groups, online discussion groups, blogs, and Web sites. We don’t want to follow in the footsteps of the terrible war between motorists and bicylcists.
Right now there is still the
possibility of a resolution, of peace, between these two
groups gearing up for highway warfare. Hypermilers and
non-hypermilers need to develop a feeling of mutual respect.
Non-hypermilers can admire the tenacity and expertise with
which hypermilers perform their fuel efficiency strategies.
This requires strong motivation for persisting and being
good at it. Americans can admire that. Non-hypermilers can
learn some of the techniques used by hypermilers. It’s a
good thing if we drive with less acceleration and more
situational awareness. Crashes at lower speeds are far
easier to recover from. Distracted driving is lethal to
thousands every year. Hypermilers prompt us to stay more
focused on the driving task itself. It remains the main
thing to do when driving, instead of dividing attention by
multi-tasking with things not directly relevant to driving.
But for non-hypermilers to
learn to respect and appreciate hypermilers, they need to
experience hypermilers as considerate. This is critical. In
the online culture of hypermiling, I found little emphasis
or awareness of strategies, techniques, and driving styles
that monitor and moderate the effect hypermiling has on the
other motorists. This is then a psychological problem
between the two camps on the road. For the sake of peace and
safety, hypermiling communities need to step up their
practices in the area of driver to driver influences.
How one driver acts impacts on hundreds of other drivers. We all know this, but few of us have made it into a focus area for observation while we are on the road and in parking lots. Situational awareness must include conditions, vehicles and drivers.
One of the safest ways to
drive is in convoys, with vehicles around you that travel at
the same speed, and maintain a relatively safe four-second
interval between cars. This style of driving makes events
predictable, so that mistakes are avoidable or correctable,
as long as the driver is focused and not distracted by other
What is Your mental
What things do you keep track of when driving?
What is your situational awareness?
Do you Practice the Emotional
Use of the Gas Pedal?
1. When the light turns red on me just as I get there, I feel depressed for a few seconds.
2. When I just make the light, I feel elated.
3. When a slower driver blocks my way, I get enraged with impatience and disapproval.
4. When the slower driver blocks the passing lane, I feel outrage and condemnation.
5. When I get to work in less time than my average, I feel elated and competent.
6. When the lane I am in is slower than the other lane, I feel like I am being cheated or that I have chosen the wrong lane.
7. When ...
Let me know what else you do as a driver that pertains to how you keep track of other drivers in relation to you. Why do you do that? Email DrDriving
See also this news
For comments, email Dr. Leon
Date: Fri, 11 Jul 2008
Leon, I think many of your
concerns are based on what you feel hypermiling is rather
than what it actually is. Slow starts: The most efficient
load factor to accelerate on an engine is 50 to 80% of
capacity. A hypermiling start done correctly may actually be
a bit faster than traffic around us.
Pulse and glide: This is
something unique to the hybrids. It really doesn't work on a
regular car. A variation does work. Getting up to speed
going uphill and pushing in the clutch going downhill in
places you can maintain speed. A person behind me would
never notice what I'm doing.
Left lane hogs: Yes, people
do this, but this is not hypermiling. It's a lack of
consideration. Being polite to other drivers is a huge part
Coasting: If I can't
maintain speed coasting, it's more efficient to use a light
touch on the gas pedal and maintain speed. If I'm coasting
to a light, people seldom come closer to me here. Coasting
to lights seems to be the norm here. It's rare to see cars
more than 2 or 3 deep at the busiest red light. Just a month
ago, they were 10 deep. I get a chuckle when I plan to start
a coast a bit later due to approaching traffic from the rear
and they slow down before I do.
However, if I'm on a 2 lane
road doing the speed limit and someone wants to go faster,
legally, I can't exceed the speed limit. It's something the
speeder is going to have to deal with. Surprisingly, I'm
more often the one being held up than the one holding up
traffic. I simply adjust my technique a little and it's no
big deal. On the use of the word "convoy." Perhaps a third
word could be chosen as the word convoy may also have a
negative connotation due to the movie. It hints at
aggression. It's something I see mostly on the interstate
where a homogenous streem of traffic forms in the right lane
with people content to maintain whatever the stream does.
It's usually led by a Swift truck (whose speed is governed
at 64 mph) or one of the other usually led by a Swift truck
(whose speed is governed at 64 mph) or one of the other
carriers that govern the speed.
When I started riding the
bike, I noticed that if I did 65 in the right lane, traffic
was much smoother than it was at 75. People realized they
have to pass me sooner and move left. Since they are going
75, they get by me quickly and don't clog things up. The
traffic pattern becomes more hazardous if I do 75 in the
right lane. However, if I do 60, then people overtake too
quickly, slow down, and then possibly get blocked by the
person behind them creating a mess.
So, I am against going 15
below the speed limit unless traffic is already moving at
that speed due to congestion.
I'd really like to see any
terminology relating to war not used. I don't see any war on
the roads here. I see people just trying to get someplace,
some driving differently than others. To me, it's more like
a complex video game than a war. Other traffic is simply
part of the terrain I need to navigate through in the safest
way possible while still saving gas. However, if you
personally consider that there is a war going on, you will
find there is a war going on. I prefer to feel I'm at peace
with those around me, and I find people around me act
Date: Mon, 14 Jul 2008
From: Gershon ben Franja firstname.lastname@example.org
Subject: Hypermiling videos
Leon, You said in a previous
post that hypermilers need to examine their effects on
traffic around them. Yesterday, I rode the bike to Ft.
Collins and back a distance of about 370 miles round trip on
the interstate. I video'ed the whole thing and made shorter
videos of the more interesting parts. The first video is an
area of moderate traffic with 2 lanes. of traffic. The speed
limit was 75. I was doing 65 through most of the video
following a truck pulling a 5th wheeler about 5 or 6 seconds
behind me. This is a good distance as I can see ahead far
enough to avoid an obstacle that might pass under the
vehicle ahead of me. It also gives a vehicle to the left a
place to go through for an exit. Notice how smoothly the
traffic flows throughout the whole video. There isn't any
severe tailgating and no weaving. Here is the video:
The second video is through Denver with multiple lanes. The speedlimit was 55 or 60,
depending on where I was. I maintained 55 in the right lane when able or one over from
the right lane if the right lane was exit only.
Notice the right lane was the only lane doing the speed limit. All the lanes to my left
were braking the law. However, traffic was moving smoothly. Each vehicle tended to pick
the lane that was going their speed and staying in it.
The video is here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cWlxtNjR0G4
You made this statement on your webpage:
"Hypermilers and non-hypermilers have evolved into two road user communities that are
in conflict with each other behaviorally, emotionally, politically, socially, and
Their driving values clash. Their driving attitudes do not fit together smoothly. Their
traffic thoughts are contrastive. Their driving goals are dissimilar. Their vehicular
behaviors are mutually antagonistic."
I don't see just two communities here. I see one for each lane and various
subcommunities in each lane. However, I don't see any conflict whatsoever. I didn't see
a single incident of road rage yesterday although I did see one glaring error. But it
was just that, a mistake.
The videos together run about 18 minutes. If you have any comments, please include the
time on the video.
Now, consider what might happen if the faster traffic became hypermilers. They would
move right and the right lane would fill up. When following distances got too close,
people would slow down, and some would move to the second lane which would also go
slower than before. However,
this would leave more room in the lanes further to the
left for people to go faster.
"Hypermilers and non-hypermilers have evolved into two road user communities that are
in conflict with each other behaviorally, emotionally, politically, socially, and
Their driving values clash. Their driving attitudes do not fit together smoothly. Their
traffic thoughts are contrastive. Their driving goals are dissimilar. Their vehicular
behaviors are mutually antagonistic."
I'd perhaps change the statement a bit. Hypermilers and others seem to have two
different goals. One likes to go slow, one likes to go faster. Surprisingly, the needs
of both are being met. As the hypermilers move right and maintain a steady speed in the
left, resisting the urge to pass to gain a small advantage, others are given more space
to go faster. Instead of a war, it seems to be a mutually beneficial relationship.
Hypermiling History: Here are Selected Google Results for Hypermiling 6/08
It's really no
surprise that the combination of various gas-saving
techniques known collectively as 'hypermiling'
are getting more attention these days with ...
COPING WITH GAS PRICES
Canada.com, Canada - 3 hours ago
To accomplish the latter, many drivers are adopting a set of techniques collectively known as "hypermiling," or ecodriving. Hypermiling, a term coined by ...
How some are trying to ease the pain The Gazette (Montreal)
Gas prices skyrocket overnight across Canada Canada.com
all 22 news articles »
... Even veteran hypermilers will probably find something worth remembering in this list of 100 ways to increase a vehicle's miles per gallon. ...
the consumer overcome the rising price of fuel
CJAD, Canada - Jun 8, 2008
Driving less is hardly an option for some people, so they're turning to a set of techniques known as HYPERMILING, or ecodriving. Basic hypermiling practices ...
Hypermilers are drivers who exceed the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimated fuel efficiency on their vehicles by drastically ...
Hypermiling, or driving your car in a manner that maximizes mileage, has become more popular among drivers worldwide, as concerns over ...
The best way to save on fuel is to not use it at all - ride a bike, use mass transportation, etc. However, there is a rather large subset of the popul...
Want to improve your car's gas mileage? Try
ABC15.com (KNXV-TV), AZ - May 27, 2008
The cost of a gallon of gas has increased and so too has the popularity of so-called hypermiling. Hypermiling is essentially driving your car as efficiently ...
Beat High Gas Prices By Hypermiling MyFox Phoenix
all 3 news articles »
Hypermilers take extreme measures to stretch
CTV.ca, Canada - May 18, 2008
The elder statesman of a group of fuel misers known as hypermilers, Gerdes is obsessed with fuel consumption. He is driven, so to speak, by the urge to go ...
This discussion forum is dedicated to increasing fuel economy, mileage ( MPG ), and lowering emissions of whatever automobile you own and drive.
In fact, sites like Hypermiling.com and cleanmpg.com promote many safe and effective ways to maximize fuel economy. But you should always be courteous to ...
This is a forum dedicated to discuss Hypermiling techniques, tips, and ideas to increase Gas Mileage (MPG), Gas Savers, and Fuel Economy regardless of what ...
Whether you like it or not, your vehicle choice oftentimes speaks volumes about who you are.
Matter Over Mind
For more than 20 years, Dr. Leon James at the University of Hawaii has researched and taught the psychology of driving. In our car culture, James says, drivers idealize their rides and even lend them human qualities. Under hypnosis, drivers will refer to their car as if it were a friend or lover. In everyday life, owners name their cars and talk to them.
And whether the car is racy or outdoorsy, owners seek attributes that mirror their self-image. "People construct an ideal in their mind of the perfect car, and those attributes are transferred to its driver as well," James said, noting how negatively we associate the drivers of dilapidated or dirty cars. Some of us get so offended we'll deliver a hand-scrawled scolding, strangely written from the car's point of view: Wash Me. (...)
"Interacting with an
automobile as though it were human opens up a way of
conceptualizing its "incomprehensible" mechanical problems
and offers a method of communicating with an automobile that
is understandable to people who are more comfortable with
human interactions. This relationship, in turn, is
occasionally used as a way to calm a person when the driving
situation appears dangerous. Thinking of the driving process
as a team effort helps give the driver the confidence that
often results when more than one person is working together
toward the same goal. Conceiving of an automobile as a
friendly companion is a method many people use to assimilate
the sometimes troubling technology into their everyday
In this paper I will argue
that anthropomorphism is a method some people have used in
similar negotiations with their automobiles. Even though the
automobile has attained closure in the United States as the
predominant method of vehicular travel, individuals who use
them must still assimilate them on a personal level. Because
automobiles are a source of anxiety for many people, this is
not always a simple process. Not all automobiles are the
flawless, shiny objects that are sometimes discussed in
automotive histories. They are just as often a ten-year-old
hand-me-down station wagon that doesn’t always start when it
rains. Cars have the potential to break down at inopportune
times, perhaps leaving the driver in a dangerous place or
causing him or her to be late for an important occasion. In
addition they are sometimes dangerous to use. Car crashes
claim the lives of tens of thousands of Americans each year.
When these fears are overwhelming, it can be difficult for a
person to use an automobile. Conceiving of a car as a
companion can help mediate these concerns and make it easier
for a person to use. The ability for individuals to use a
car with relatively little stress helps give automobiles the
predominant place they hold in American culture today. (...)
One man I interviewed
addressed the difference between cars that are liked and
those that are disliked when he reflected on the one car he
had not named: "I wanted to name it, but it had no
personality. It was a 78 Brown VW Dasher. Nothing stuck. It
never had enough personality. My girlfriend at the time
proposed ‘Maxime,’ but I didn’t have enough affection for
it, so it didn’t deserve a name." (...)
The personalities these people developed for their automobiles were quite varied. Some spoke of their cars as sprightly and fun while others regarded their cars as slothful or weak. But most of their descriptions revolved around their car’s reliability. Sometimes this was an explicit part of their vision, at other times implicit, but it was always an integral part of their vision of their car’s human characteristics. Quite often, the owner’s conception of their car’s personality was expressed in terms of its quirks and idiosyncrasies. These traits, whether the result of miles and miles of use or a manufacturing mistake, were explained as the primary way an owner can see his or her car interacting with him or her.
For instance, in a 1918
journal, MIT Professor Walter James reflected on his
experiences with "Lisize="3ie," his Model T: "In these
chronicles I have remarked that the Ford is inclined to have
a mind of its own, and to exhibit that mind at most
unpleasant times and in most unexpected ways, stopping dead
without apparent reason, standing still in the face of all
kinds of persuasion and abuse, then, when good and ready,
starting off again." All of the car’s idiosyncrasies are
described as a manifestation of it being "Lisize="3ie" and
having a personality. (...)
Nearly all of the people interviewed attributed a specific gender to their automobile. This was often an intricate part of the personality they envisioned their car as having. They often displayed this attribution in the gender specific name they gave their automobile and also by referring to their car as "him" or "her." In most cases this attribution was a conscious act and in describing the personality of their car, many of the interviewees made references to what they themselves termed "gender stereotypes."
One family, for instance,
has given all their cars masculine names except one. Why?
"Because the older cars were all masculine. They had speed
and power, so they were masculine." In the early 80s, the
mother of the otherwise all-male family argued that women
were underrepresented in the family and they needed to give
a car a female name. Their next purchase was a white
Chevrolet Citation compact they named "Cindy." The car’s
"check engine" light kept coming on and they kept taking it
to the dealer for service. The dealer found nothing wrong
with the car, but they decided it was not worth the hassle,
so they returned the car and purchased another. They
discovered later that the car’s engine exploded a month
after they returned it. As the mother of the family tells
the story, her husband and son "decided that females were
too temperamental" and they did not want to give another car
a feminine name. When asked if their outlook had changed in
fifteen years, they said that the mother was interested in
purchasing a Cavalier, another compact Chevrolet, with a
sunroof. The husband argued that "we can have a female name
for that, or a wimpy male name." The wife questioned if this
would ever happen, arguing that her husband likes V8s, and
she did not believe they would give a feminine name to a car
with such a powerful engine. (...)
Continues here: http://www.drdriving.org/misc/anthropomorph.html
Your Car's Personality Reveals a Secret
Who knew? Cars may be inanimate objects, but they have personalities. The characteristics you give your car--from gender to a name--reveal a secret about you, specifically your propensity for road rage.
Colorado State University psychology professor Jacob Benfield says knowing the personality of drivers' cars is a better indicator of how aggressive they will be on the road than knowing the drivers' own personalities, reports The Washington Post.
In this survey of 204 college students, all of whom owned a car, Benfield assessed the degree to which the students gave their cars human characteristics. The results were similar to previous research:
Each student took a personality test that measured his or her propensity toward road rage and aggressive driving. Then they took the same test again, but this time, they were given these instructions: "Imagine that your vehicle had a personality. Now rate the following items based on the vehicle's personality."
The results? The students who thought of their vehicles as being male or female "scored significantly higher than non-gender-vehicle drivers on verbal aggression, physical aggression, use of vehicle, driving anger and pejorative labeling/verbally aggressive thinking," Benfield and his colleagues report in the journal Personality and Individual Differences.
This is where it gets really interesting: The personalities of the drivers and the cars were not the same. In fact, "the perceived personality of the car sometimes was a better predictor of aggressive driving tendencies than the owner's personality," writes Post reporter Ricard Morin.
Example: People who think of their car as friendly are more likely to be polite drivers, even if they are not particularly friendly people themselves. "If people perceive their Corolla to be a jerk, they might drive more aggressively than if they thought their Mustang had a nice personality," Benfield told the Post. Naming the car had no effect on road rage tendencies.
--From the Editors at Netscape
People Love Angry-Faced Cars
By Jeremy Hsu, Staff Writer
posted: 06 October 2008 10:42 am ET
If a Toyota Prius just looks too friendly for your tastes, you’re not alone. People readily see faces and traits in cars, and a new study suggests that they prefer cars to appear dominant, masculine and angry.
The finding rests on the propensity we have to actually see faces or human characteristics in everything from cars to clouds, a phenomenon called pareidolia. But now researchers hope to better understand what goes on in the brain when people see faces in objects versus humans faces, as well as help automakers design more appealing cars.
(...) For this, Thorstensen enlisted his own group of experts that included Sonja Windhager, an anthropologist at the University of Vienna. They asked 20 males and 20 females to rate 38 passenger car models which came out between 2004 and 2006.
Study participants assessed cars based on a system known as geometric morphometrics (GM), which allowed the men and women to rate certain traits on a sliding scale (such as "infancy" to "adulthood"). The traits represented maturity, sex, attitudes, emotions, and personality — all things that people infer from human faces at a single glance.
After rating car traits, participants then answered the question of whether they saw a human face, animal face or no face at all on the cars. They drew facial features such as eyes, nose and mouth on the car images whenever they did see faces.
Lastly, the study participants answered whether they liked a car or not. The study restricted car choices to passenger cars, because hulking SUVs would have skewed the results.
People overwhelmingly preferred cars that rated highest on "power" traits." High "power" cars like the BMW 5 Series tended to be lower or wider, and have slit-like or angled headlights with a wider air intake.
The participants also largely agreed on which cars had which traits, such as arrogant, afraid and agreeable. A few traits such as disgusted, extroverted and sad caused more disagreement.
The above is from: http://www.livescience.com/strangenews/081006-car-face.html
National Safety Council (NSC): Fatal accidents increasing
By William Atkins Tuesday, 12 June 2007 According to a June 7, 2007 NSC report, the number of fatal, preventable accidents in the United States is increasing after a decreasing trend for over twenty years.
Specifically, the number of human deaths from preventable, fatal accidents has risen over 20% between 1996 and 2005. In 2005, approximately 113,000 people in the United States were killed accidentally.
The all-time record high is 116,385 accidental deaths in 1969, which the report says could easily be exceeded, if the percentage trend continues, within a few more years.
The all-time record low occurred in 1992, at about 99,440 people dead from preventable accidents. The decreasing trend in fatal, preventable accidents occurred between 1969 and 1992. That good trend is related to the initial installation and use of seat belts and air bags, home smoke detectors, and better drunk-drinking laws.
Accidents are the leading cause of death in the United States for all people aged one to 41 years. Overall, in all age groups, accidental deaths are fifth on the list of preventable fatalities—with heart disease, cancer, stroke, and chronic lower respiratory diseases being in the top four.
The number one activity involved within accidental fatalities include motor vehicles, especially, activities such as speeding, general distractions, multitasking, using cell phones, and not wearing seat belts.
The number two activity involved with accidental fatalities includes the ingestion of illegal drugs, prescription drugs, and over-the-counter drugs. The NSC report states that overdoses from all types of drugs are the fastest-rising cause of accidental deaths.
Falls, choking, and drowning, in that order, are the third, fourth, and fifth leading causes of accidental fatalities in the United States.
These five categories of accidental fatalities account for about 83% of all U.S. accidental deaths. The state of Massachusetts has the lowest death rate from preventable, fatal accidents. Unfortunately, New Mexico has the highest death rate.
The website of the National
Safety Council is http://www.nsc.org/. The NSC has tracked
statistics of preventable, fatal accidents since the 1920s.
Its results are published in the Journal of Safety Research.
Territorial Markings as a Predictor of Driver Aggression and Road Rage
Journal of Applied Social Psychology Volume 38 Issue 6 Page 1664-1688, June 2008 To cite this article: William J. Szlemko, Jacob A. Benfield, Paul A. Bell, Jerry L. Deffenbacher, Lucy Troup (2008) Territorial Markings as a Predictor of Driver Aggression and Road Rage. Journal of Applied Social Psychology 38 (6) , 1664–1688.
Aggressive driving has received substantial media coverage during the past decade. We report 3 studies testing a territorial explanation of aggressive driving. Altman (1975) described attachment to, personalization of, and defense of primary territories (e.g., home) as being greater than for public territories (e.g., sunbathing spot on a beach). Aggressive driving may occur when social norms for defending a primary territory (i.e., one's automobile) become confused with less aggressive norms for defending a public territory (i.e., the road). Both number of territory markers (e.g., bumper stickers, decals) and attachment to the vehicle were significant predictors of aggressive driving. Mere presence of a territory marker predicts increased use of the vehicle to express anger and decreased use of adaptive/constructive expressions.
Parents 'behind road rage rise'
Young drivers aping their parents' bad behaviour behind the wheel could be the cause of a rise in road rage incidents, according to a survey.
Road rage is most likely to occur among inexperienced motorists aged 18-29, with 61% of this group admitting to personality changes while driving, the survey from insurance company Norwich Union found.
Two-in-five young drivers blame their parents for their erratic driving behaviour, saying they inherited their road rage tendencies from seeing their mother and father at the wheel, the survey also showed.
High gas prices may help keep traffic deaths down
By Matt Kelley
Finally, a silver lining is appearing in the dark cloud of high gasoline prices. The number of traffic deaths statewide is down significantly from a year ago, which Triple-A-Iowa's Rose White attributes, in part, to the rising cost of filling our gas tanks.
"With many motorists curtailing their driving to conserve gasoline and vehicles traveling at reduced speeds on the interstate to maximize fuel efficiency, high fuel costs may be a factor in helping to drive fewer deaths on the roadways," White says. "We also believe teens may be driving fewer miles since they have fewer dollars to spend on their gas."
Iowa has seen 145 traffic deaths this year, compared to 166 on this date a year ago. White says it's becoming clear, more people are trying to save fuel by driving less -- and by driving smarter. "Some people may be avoiding those aggressive driving behaviors, such as hard braking and fast acceleration that waste fuel and that frequently contribute to car accidents." White says. "It certainly is interesting that we have this double-digit drop (in highway deaths) and that may actually be a result of high fuel prices."
The number of motorcycling fatalities has also fallen this year, with 17 recorded statewide so far in 2008, compared to 21 on this date a year ago. She says fuel consumption rates are dropping as gas prices rise -- and more people are riding mass transit as well.
Driving slower on the interstate can help save gas, White says, but how do you know the ideal speed for your car? Most owner's manuals will list the optimum speed for maximum fuel efficiency, and White says for most vehicles, it's between 55 and 65 miles an hour. Triple-A says the statewide average for a gallon of unleaded gas is $3.93, which is 14-cents below the national average.
Drivers with bumper stickers likely to be aggressive: study
Misty Harris , Canwest News Service
Published: Wednesday, June 18, 2008
The next time you think about tailgating someone, check their vehicle for bumper stickers, window decals and vanity plates.
A new study shows these kinds of "territory markers" indicate whether a driver will respond to offensive behaviour with forgiveness or the finger.
Researchers from Colorado State University report that personalized items on an automobile - everything from dashboard decor to Support Our Troops stickers - predict road rage better than vehicle value, condition, or similar clues to aggression behind the wheel. What surprised study authors most, however, was the fact the content of the items had no bearing on levels of hostility. (...)
Leon James, a noted expert on driving psychology and road rage, says people who act on their road rage tend to express their emotional territoriality more than others, something that could easily translate to the purchase of "overt" vehicle adornments.
"Anything you put on your car is aggressive because it forces other people to look at it," says James, a professor at the University of Hawaii. "Drivers aren't out on the road to read your message."
See also by Leon James: Emotional Use of the Gas Pedal || Musings in Traffic || Emotional Spin Cycle || Self-monitoring Inventory || Drivers Behaving Badly on TV || Children and Road Rage || More articles...
From our book on Road
Rage and Aggressive Driving
What principles are
safest for children as passengers, pedestrians, and
1. To become more aware of habits of thinking while walking or riding.
2. To develop objective judgment about strangers' behavior.
3. To develop emotional intelligence as drivers, passengers, and pedestrians.
4. To critically analyze driving incidents (scenario analysis) by focusing on identifying choice-points (how to prevent or break the chain of errors that leads to catastrophe).
5. To acknowledge the human rights of all drivers.
6. To acknowledge passengers' rights (their convenience, comfort, and safety).
7. To acknowledge pedestrian rights (why they must have the right of way).
8. To acknowledge the rights of bicycle riders and how to behave near them.
9. To acknowledge the rights of truck drivers, the need for truck deliveries, and how to behave near them.
10. To practice group discussions on the importance of civility in public behavior (respecting mutual rights, inalienable rights, fairness, character, community, etc.)
11. To be able to defend the ideal of social responsibility in public places
12. To recognize the benefits and rewards of being supportive and positive.
13. To practice self-witnessing activities as passengers
14. To practice self-witnessing activities as pedestrians and other road uses
The Highway Safety Act of 1996 authorizes the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), through its separate agencies of the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Federal Highway Administration (FHA), to fund traffic improvement programs implemented by state and local governments, including funding safety improvements in the areas of occupant protection, emergency medical services, police traffic services, roadway safety, impaired driving, speed control, motorcycle safety, traffic records, and pedestrian and bicycle safety.
Bicycle advocacy groups want more restrictions on the movement of cars, which drivers oppose. Controversy surrounding the issue is inevitable since the parties involved protect contrary interests, and because it is amounts to speed control, traffic calming tends to set opposing lines between neighborhood constituencies
Motorists in transit vs.
Drivers vs. bicyclists ·
Drivers vs. pedestrians Bicyclists vs. pedestrians ·
Private vs. commercial drivers 4-wheel drivers vs. truckers
Authorities set speed limits according to traffic engineering studies. They find that the best way to ascertain the appropriate speed limit for a stretch of road, is to survey the speed of free flowing traffic, and to set the speed limit at the 85th percentile. This is the speed exceeded by 15 percent of the vehicles. This practice minimizes accident risk and maximizes motorist compliance. The NMA argues that instead of following this approach, current speed limits are based on political considerations (...).
for more, see DrDriving's Page for Cyclists and Pedestrians
Safety: Aggressive driving targeted by new technology
08 Apr 08 15:01
Military personnel are among
the first in the UK to benefit from a new technology that
measures aggressive driver inputs and flags them up on the
dash, writes Nick Gibbs.
Designed to alert drivers to unsafe maneuvers, the gadget from US-based GreenRoad Technologies measures g-forces and compares them with a safe-driving benchmark. Sophisticated software can then recognize 120 different driver actions and will judge whether they're dangerous or not. If a danger is recognized, a red light appears in the driver's peripheral vision.
Traffic taking a toll on psychic health, experts say
By Christopher Goffard, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer June 8, 2008
(...) For Leon James, a professor of psychology at the University of Hawaii, a lifetime's academic pursuit began 25 years ago when his wife told him his driving scared her. She pointed out that he switched lanes before he looked, took curves too fast and raged against other drivers.
The rebuke stung his pride but got him thinking -- and led to his pioneering role in the small academic field of the psychology of driving. He began by asking his students to carry voice recorders to monitor their responses on the road, and learned that they were no strangers to rage -- particularly when cut off, tailgated or stuck behind slow cars in the fast lane. James said studies have found little correlation between motorists' personalities inside and outside of the car. Road rage can overtake those who are models of agreeability at home or at the office.
"People tell me, 'I'm amazed at myself. I'm not an aggressive person. I'm not this way. Why do I feel this way?' " James said. He has concluded that asphalt aggression is not an anger-management problem but one of socialization -- people absorb their driving mores in the back seat at an early age, watching grown-ups curse, pound the steering wheel and cut each other off.
Even as kids learn self-control on the playground, he said, they are taught the opposite on the road. "What we need is traffic emotions education starting in kindergarten," he said. "You can't just act the way you want."
The following is
Road Rage and Aggressive Driving : Steering Clear of Highway Warfare
by Leon James & Diane Nahl (Prometheus, 2000).
ROAD RAGE CHECKLIST: ASSESS
YOUR OWN RANGE OF HOSTILITY
The following twenty steps
are arranged along a continuum of escalating degrees of
hostility, beginning with relatively milder forms of
aggressiveness (step 1) and going all the way to extreme
violence (step 20). How far down the uncivilized path do you
allow yourself to go? The majority of drivers we tested go
as far as step 13.
1. Mentally condemning
2. Verbally denigrating another driver to passengers in your vehicle
3. Closing ranks to deny someone entry into your lane because you're frustrated or upset
4. Giving another driver the "stink eye" to show your disapproval
5. Speeding past another car or revving the engine as a sign of protest
6. Preventing another driver from passing because you're mad
7. Tailgating to pressure a driver to go faster or get out of the way
8. Fantasizing physical violence against another driver
9. Honking or yelling at someone through the window to indicate displeasure
10. Making a visible obscene gesture at another driver
11. Using your car to retaliate by making sudden, threatening maneuvers
12. Pursuing another car because of a provocation or insult
13. Getting out of the car and engaging in a verbal dispute on a street or parking lot
14. Carrying a weapon in the car in case you decide to use it in a driving incident
15. Deliberately bumping or ramming another car in anger
16. Trying to run another car off the road to punish the driver
17. Getting out of the car and beating or battering someone as a result of a road exchange
18. Trying to run someone down whose actions angered you
19. Shooting at another car
20. Killing someone
How far down did you go on the continuum? The checklist is divided into five equal zones of intensity of aggressiveness.
Unfriendly Zone: Items 1 to 3 -- mental and verbal acts of unkindness toward other drivers
Hostile Zone: Items 4 to 7 -- visibly communicating displeasure or resentment with the desire to punish or retaliate
Violent Zone: Items 8 to 11 -- carrying out an act of hostility either in fantasy or in deed
Lesser Mayhem Zone: Items 12 to 16 -- epic road rage contained within personal limits
Major Mayhem Zone: Items 17 to 20 -- unrestrained epic road rage; the stuff of violent media headlines.
The above is
Road Rage and Aggressive Driving : Steering Clear of Highway Warfare by Leon James & Diane Nahl (Prometheus, 2000).
See also Congressional Testimony by Dr. Leon James
From: Esquire magazine May 7, 2008 http://www.esquire.com/style/answer-fella/decaf-coffee-0508
Leon James, professor of psychology and coauthor of Road Rage and Aggressive Driving: Steering Clear of Highway Warfare, says such impulses are neither uncommon nor significant. "It's very similar to other behaviors that don't have to do with cars, like throwing yourself down a cliff. People don't like to look over the edge, because they suddenly feel, Oh, no, I want to jump. They don't really want to do it; they're just toying with the idea. For people who are worried about it, I recommend making funny animal noises -- like a bear or lion or kitty cat -- and bingo! You're out of the whole thing."
Even so, adds James, "If it
happens frequently, that's a different story. It should only
happen once in a while."
01/07/2008 - News In Brief
What's driving motorists to 'road rage'
Inconsiderate and slow drivers, as well as congestion are fuelling road rage among Britain's motorsists.
Research by Norwich Union found that road rage was most likely to occur among inexperienced young drivers aged 18-29, with three in five (61%) admitting to a personality changes behind the wheel.
The study found that reckless driving (82%), slow motorists (69%) and traffic jams (49%) toped the list of main road rage triggers. And while one in five (22%) drivers simply shrugged off any confrontation, over half of UK drivers (52%) reacted differently to how they would normally by swearing, shouting, making rude gestures, and flashing their lights.
Interestingly, almost 40% of young drivers blamed their parents for their erratic driving behaviour, saying they inherited their road rage tendencies from seeing them behind the wheel.
Norwich Union's Nigel Bartram said: "With more and more congestion on UK roads and driving becoming an increasingly stressful experience, it's no wonder road rage is more widespread than ever.
"However our research shows how important it is for drivers to try and keep their cool when on the roads - not only will it help make their children better drivers, it will also make their journey easier and less stressful, not to mention safer."
THE AGGRESSIVE DRIVING SYNDROME
Our research shows that the aggressiveness syndrome is made of the following 16 driver behaviors. Ask yourself how many of these apply to you on a regular basis:
1. feeling stress
3. acting in a hostile manner
5. yelling at other drivers
6. honking at other drivers
7. making insulting gestures
9. cutting someone off
10. expressing road rage behavior
11. feeling enraged
12. indulging in violent fantasies
13. feeling competitive with other drivers
14. rushing all the time
15. feeling the desire to drive dangerously
16. feeling less calm and level headed behind the wheel
These 16 driving behaviors define the aggressive driver syndrome. They are all significantly intercorrelated. This means that if you do one of them regularly, you will also do many of the other 15 on a regular basis.
Do you swear behind the wheel?
There are large differences in driver swearing behavior when you compare age groups. Young drivers (15 to 24) admit to swearing the most (66% do it), but as they get older (25 to 54), they tend to reduce somewhat (60%), and finally, when drivers enter the senior category of motorists (55 to 94 -- in this sample), they greatly reduce their swearing (42%). Still, these data show that swearing is a cultural driving norm related to age, and a strong one. Six out of ten young drivers admit to swearing and cuss at other drivers, and 4 out of 10 senior drivers do so. Obviously, we need to examine this lack of civility between drivers.
Do you switch lanes without signaling?
Do drivers of different age
groups vary in their lane hopping behavior, depending on the
type of car they drive? The answer is Yes, as usual:
Regardless of the type of car they drive, young people outdo
older people in illegal lane switching. There is a high cost
for this recklessness since crash fatalities are one of the
main causes of death for this age group. The tragedy of it
is compounded by the fact that our culture raises these
youngsters by providing them with an ideology of driving
aggressiveness and hostility as portrayed in the public
media--see my report here. The good news is that cultural
habits can be retrained by a new cultural focus as I argue
in my congressional testimony, namely, Lifelong Driver's Ed
from K through 12 and after that, Quality
Driving Circles or QDCs that are neighborhood-based or
related to the workplace (see our
new proposal here).
Do you tailgate dangerously?
The results for the 10 states in this sample for which I had enough respondents to make statistical comparisons, show the worst five States with a mean of 21% dangerous tailgating: Colorado (25%), Georgia (20%), Pennsylvania (20%), Michigan (19%), Texas (19%). The lowest tailgating States are: Illinois (8%), New York (10%), Florida (14%), Ohio (15%), California (18%).
There are as you might expect, age differences as well as gender differences. Among young drivers, 19% admit to tailgating dangerously, which is about one in five. This is more than middle aged drivers (15%) and senior drivers (6%). This age pattern recurs in many aggressive driving behaviors: as we get older, we drive less aggressively. Women admit to as much tailgating as men (15%), in general, but once again there are significant influences attributable to the type of car they drive, as show in this table:
You can see that those drive
the "soft" cars (family and economy) tailgate less than
those who drive the "hard" cars (sports and SUV) with a
ratio of two to one. This holds true for both men and women.
However, with SUV drivers we see a reversal between the
genders: more female SUV drivers tailgate dangerously, by
their own admission, than male drivers of SUVs.
Road Rage Videos on YouTube
BMW road rage || critical mass road rage || grandma responds to roadrage || crazy driver impatiently plows over crowd || Ladies in parking lot with a bit of road rage || Trunk Monkey road rage commercial || female road rage || bad drivers episode 1 || police chase crazy road rage || Simpson's road rage || truck rollover pileup road rage || cyclist assault road rage || road rage In Singapore || more.....
What Motorists Are Saying about Anger and Road Rage in Their Lives
^^^ Anger is a natural emotion, and is rather self-protective at times. Anger can be maladaptive, and during those times we need to check ourselves, or wait to overtly react. It is healthy to have the ability to get angry, but it is unhealthy to let anger rule or overcome your life to the point that the only thing you can see or feel is anger. Our moods need to have some balance, and controlling anger when it is inappropriate is important. Knowing the difference between inappropriate anger and appropriate anger is an important exploration. For instance, if you want your job, you cannot yell at your boss because you are angry at him, but instead sit calmly and explain your feelings if possible. I am rarely enraged, except when someone i love is hurt. I get depressed oftentimes, but not to the point of feeling hopeless. A little depression can lead to self-exploration, which can be good (reevaluating things, etc.) Again, if emotions are out of control, no matter what emotion it is, that is not healthy.
^^^ As the light changed from red to green to yellow and back to red again, I asked myself "Is life really just a bunch of honking and screaming?" Everybody is in a rush. Whether getting to work or driving home, most people are rushing! I know I have a bad temper. I grew up watching my father get extremely angry. He wouldn't hit us, the kids, but he would hit other objects and shake things. I grew up thinking this was the way to deal with anger. I know its wrong. I am trying very hard to control my anger on the roads and with the people I love. I tend to get most angry with those I love and who love me. I take the worst out on these people and then regret it later. Our society is like this too. We are all very selfish and want what we want when we want it. I hope this will help your survey. I can honestly say that I am trying to make a POSITIVE change in my attitude and the way I see others and the way in which I handle my anger. Thank you for this opportunity to express myself.
^^^ I believe that our society is becoming more self-centered in general. People seem to have a me-first attitude that didn't exist 30 or more years ago. There's a sense of entitlement that seems to justify bad (and/or narcissistic) behaviors. Anger, rudeness and lack of consideration for others are becoming so much the norm that I find myself surprised when strangers are kind or considerate (whether on the road or in a store or whatever). I find it difficult to be mean or rude, even when I feel I've been wronged -- it's just how I was raised and I think most others my age (50+) are the same. But it looks to me that this attitude will die with us and our society will be one mean place to be in future years.
^^^ I notice all the time in my city the people who have problems with "road rage". I my self am a borderline road rager, but I will say that I've gotten a lot better. However, there are people out there also that purposely do things to aggravate or irritate the "road ragers" and make situations worse instead of just moving out of their way. Like slowing way down or slamming on their brakes in the fast lane instead of just moving over. In my opinion they are just as bad if not worse than "Road Ragers". Sometimes they are the ones that cause the situations!!
^^^ I think people need to get more sleep, more exercise, and have more active relaxation (not tv or computer games). I think that thinking through situations, being compassionate and empathetic, helps. Give the person irritating you all the excuses you would give yourself if you made a mistake. Sometimes lying to yourself (e.g. "that person must not have seen me" or "they didn't mean to do that") helps to decrease anger, when necessary.
^^^ I think that socially - we are becoming more insular and have lost the art of patience. I work at maintaining balance - as do many of my peers/friends/family - yet also witness impatience among those groups - more than I recall as a child in the smae groups (or shall I say youngster). My husband - a normally patient person - paid a "per diem" for the horrific commute he has - recounts terrible incidents he has seen on the roadways -and the difficulty of trying to maneuver away from it. I try to travel side and back roads - and am often shocked when I get on our highways to witness the speeding and weaving - beeping and bad behavior on the roads. I must also comment that I NEVER NEVER see State Police out on the roads. I have called in plates of dangerous drivers - and have written letters that have seen no follow up. I wish you had one more question on your survey. It would be this: Do you ever wish you/your family could get around without having to drive on our nation's roads? Yes! Yes I do.
^^^ I think we get angrier as a society because we're eating too much artificial food. I've cut back on the amount of caffeine I drink, and it's helped a lot, but I'm still very impatient.
^^^ I want to find a way to let out all the stress of the day so that by the time I hit the road I don't get so angry at the guy the "cuts me off" on the way home. Trouble is, how do you get the other guy to find an outlet for his anger? I am seriously considering taking up kickboxing to vent.
^^^ Sometimes I feel discouraged like we are completely losing sight of the things that really matter in society, like family, love, religion, children and family virtues and values. I had a brother who passed away at 26 five years ago. It was a very depressing time for me. I used to listen to very angry, aggressive music to revert all of my sadness and discouragement to anger and rage. Now, I find sometimes it is hard to let go of those things.
^^^ I'd like to say that there is a good side to road rage: that is that it tends to deter people from intentionally being rude to other motorists. and on the other hand, there are so many cell phone owners that 'road rage assailants need to be particularly careful that there are no witnesses, before they offend.
^^^ It seems people do not take responsibility for their anger or feelings. my favorite quote is from the movie "The Big Chill": "I could have, I chose not to."
^^^ Anger can help you to act constructively, to push you to the point where you will do what you previously thought yourself incapable of doing. To act off anger is not always to act in violence or negativity. Most people don't realize this, but anger is the greatest motivator.
For explanations see this article.
See also: Songs About Cars
Road rage parents likely to snap at kids
Lara Hertel , Reuters Life
June 24, 2008
TORONTO - Parents who succumb to fits of road rage are also more likely to blow a fuse at their children's sporting events, according to U.S. research.
University of Maryland researcher Jay Goldstein said these type-A individuals were more prone to erupt in anger in many situations -- from being cut off in traffic to an unfavourable referee call -- because their ego takes it personally.
"Taking things personally is a strong trigger for anger," Goldstein told Reuters. (...)
Reports of so-called "sideline rage" are often in the media, most recently when a lacrosse league in Winnipeg, this month temporarily barred spectators from games following a string of complaints about abusive parents.
Loud, interfering parents have prompted several youth sporting teams in North America to implement "Silent Saturdays," which bars cheering or yelling during games.
To see which parents were most involved, Goldstein surveyed 340 parents attending their children's soccer game and asked them to rate factors such as stress, pressure and levels of anger. (...)
Those identified as "control-oriented" more often viewed the actions on the field as a personal affront, and reported more feelings of aggression than parents identified as "autonomy-oriented," or less affected by external factors. (...)
Even parents who usually don't take things personally admitted to feeling angry during their children's game, although they were able to control their reactions longer than those who were "control-oriented."
© The Windsor Star 2008
An urge to gawk fuels trouble
Rubbernecking drivers create problems, and it's getting worse, area road officials say.
By MIKE BRASSFIELD
Published June 25, 2007
Rubbernecking is not a new
phenomenon. According to H.L. Mencken's classic book The
American Language, the word entered the American vernacular
as part of a wave of compound words invented during the late
1800s and early 1900s: Joyride, highbrow, skyscraper,
So why do we do it?
To a certain extent, it's natural, experts say. Humans are a curious species and drawn to the unusual. Drivers are trained to survey the terrain around them.
"That's the driver's job -- to cover all the visual field, to the side and in front. Drivers are supposed to do that," said Leon James, a University of Hawaii psychology professor who's considered one of the nation's top experts on traffic habits.
"The problem is slowing down while you're looking at an accident," James said. He suggests drivers train themselves to look without holding up traffic -- maintain your speed, keep a safe following distance and take quick glances while passing a crash scene.
When a driver stops or slows
drastically to rubberneck, experts say it causes a "backward
traveling traffic wave" -- the next driver must stop and the
next and the next, potentially affecting thousands of
vehicles. From the air it resembles an accordion, with gaps
closing until the cars are bumper-to-bumper.
When that first vehicle takes off again, the reverse happens. Reopening those gaps takes a few seconds per car and, when multiplied by thousands of cars, leads to traffic jams.
"These traffic waves have been observed to go as much as 25 miles behind one little slowdown," James said. "Long after you get home, the traffic wave you created is still slowing down people on the highway."
That's why sometimes, after
being stuck in traffic for an hour, you never even get to
see the reason why. It's all been cleared away by the time
you get there. (...)
Shandley McMurray December 2000
Could you classify this as a road rage incident?
Yes. A chase took place,
someone got out and beat on the car and used their car to
block, police were called.
How would you define road rage?
Road rage is the inability
to let go of the desire to punish or retaliate. It is an
emotionally impaired state of anger leading to aggressive
behavior in words, gestures, assault, or battery.
How could she have avoided this? Could she have avoided this?
You said she drove for 5
mins. before realizing she was being followed by a hostile
car. After inadvertently cutting someone off one must be
vigilant and alert to the consequences. And in that case she
could have called 911 sooner (rather than calling a friend).
Also, how could she have prevented inadvertently cutting
someone off--this is important because it's a frequent
source of road rage duels. Late at night one must be
especially vigilant, and especially for women driving alone
in a sports car--all of these are social signs of
vulnerability on our highways that require increased
prudence. Because being in a rush is so fundamental to our
society's dynamic, inadvertently cutting someone off has
become routine and not unusual, hence a very large pet peeve
of the driving public.
How can women drivers avoid being the victims of road rage?
Besides the above, women
drivers need to practice being more alert and conscious of
other drivers. We are not alone out there, driving is a
group activity and all of us need to treat it as such.
Can you name 10 ways that
women drivers can avoid being road ragers or aggressive
drivers themselves? (or what are the top 10 ways to dispel
Dr. James and Dr. Nahl:
1. Slowly count to ten. While you force yourself to count slowly, your adrenaline goes down to normal levels. Take deep breaths as you do this.
2. Forgive and forget Think about the people who are waiting for you to arrive and how you don't want to disappoint them. Tell yourself it's just not worth the hassle.
3. Make funny noises Laughter not only interrupts your negative thinking, it unloads the stress. Try animal sounds or any nonsense noise--really get into it.
4. Use the Castanza Technique When you're in a bad mood, act the opposite of what you feel like. It worked for George on Seinfeld--remember that episode?
5. Act as-if Do your courtesy waves and put on a pleasant face. The way you drive is contagious. You're influencing others' behavior, not by retaliating, but by peacemaking.
6. Shrink your emotional territory Develop an attitude of latitude. Think of positive reasons why drivers do things that annoy you. Perhaps they're sick or confused. Maybe they're rushing to the bathroom. Maybe they just got some bad news. Maybe...
7. Come out swinging positive Don't be rude to the rude. Seize control by defusing anger. Apologize, don't argue, be sympathetic. Don't challenge anything. Go out of your way to appear friendly and peaceful.
8. Drive with emotional intelligence It's intelligent to choose positive explanations, rather than negative because they are less disturbing, more community oriented, less alienating, and ultimately more satisfying than the "you stupid clown" approach.
9. Commit to Lifelong Driver Self-improvement Keep a Driving Log or Diary and make appropriate entries after each trip. Or, you can record yourself while driving, speaking your thoughts aloud. What a revelation when you listen to it later! It's a wake-up call to a driving personality makeover.
These tips and explanations are part of a large collection on our DrDriving.org Web site:
We review various gender
issues in driving differences between men and women on
Why did you write your book "Road Rage And Aggressive Driving"?
We wanted to improve our relationship, and later to teach our students a useful method to improve their driving personalities, and now we want to help people on a wider scale to gain self-control over their traffic emotions and stress for a safer, happier, healthier life.
What did you hope you
would achieve by writing this book?
What we learned by recording
the thoughts and feelings of many drivers in traffic made us
realize that we're in the midst of a public health crisis on
the roads, and that people are ill equipped to cope with the
complexity and intensity of driving today. For today's
generation of drivers, both men and women, young and old,
professional and inexperienced, it has become normal and
common to drive aggressively but calling it something
else--assertive, excellent, precision, effective, defensive,
careful. This is a symptom of the definition gap we
discovered that exists between most drivers' definition of
what is aggressive and law enforcement's definition of what
is aggressive driving.
The reason that aggressive
driving is now the norm in society is that we as toddlers in
the back seat, absorbed our parents' driving emotions and
attitudes, including how fast they usually drive, what they
say out loud to or about other drivers, how they handle
distractions inside the car, who they blame after an
incident, and their ongoing feelings in the vehicle.
We discovered that people
can acquire self-control behind the wheel by overcoming
misconceptions acquired in childhood and using simple
strategies to diffuse dangerous situations or to avoid them
altogether. Our book enables drivers to re-educate
themselves to cope with the increasing complexity of
driving, including emotional complexity, technological
complexity, and situational complexity. Our hope is that
people will learn Driving Psychology, practice safer
behavior on the road so that the crash and fatality
statistics will be dramatically reduced within a generation.
We created driving psychology because it teaches drivers of
all ages and experience how to engineer their own driving
personality makeover. Since we begin our long driving
careers as adolescents rigged for road rage and aggressive
driving, people need technical skills in self-science to
change long habits.
How long have you been interested in this topic?
Since 1981, when we got
married and Leon began to drive Diane and her grandmother,
who was a vocal commentator on Leon's driving (this is
portrayed in the Preface). Subsequently we designed instruction
for our college students who learned to engineer their
own driving personality makeovers.
Do you think this topic is of more concern to women than men? If so, why?
We get more from women. They
are usually concerned about a spouse whose aggressive
driving has become very dangerous and frightening to their
children. Women spend more time driving children and have
more opportunity to pass on their driving habits to their
children. We devote chapter 7 to Children and Road Rage with
exercises they can do in the car to teach children to become
emotionally intelligent passengers and future drivers. A
basic tenet of driving psychology is that driver education
begins as toddlers. We recommend that mothers take time to
engage the children in critical thinking about routine
traffic and driving issues.
Don't do this in your car
Car companies and their suppliers jump through lawyers' hoops when developing central information consoles that can include satellite navigation, stereo controls and climate gauges. And with good reason.
Tweaking these devices while driving is a leading cause of accidents and near misses, according to Drive for Life, the National Safe Driving Test and Initiative. Most new consoles won't allow you to plug directions into a sat-nav while the car is in gear, but almost all allow you to play with the stereo. Try to do this when stationary, at traffic lights if you must. (...)
Aggressive driving is a factor in about 56 percent of fatal crashes, says the latest study on driving habits from the Surface Transportation Policy Partnership.
Though subject to debate, the study has classified aggressive driving as "speeding, tailgating, failing to yield, weaving in and out of traffic, passing on the right, making improper and unsafe lane changes and running stop signs and red lights." The group says that most drivers admit to making the same mistakes they hate to see other drivers commit.
As a group, teenagers are more likely than most to take their eyes off the road to concentrate on mobile devices, including cell phones, iPods and instant messaging gadgets.
They are also the age group most likely to impress their friends both with the latest in gadgetry and by taking risks behind the wheel. The National Safety Council points out that traffic crashes are the leading cause of fatalities in teens, accounting for 44 percent of deaths. (...)
Driving while upset || Turn signals || Pushing the wrong pedal || Speeding and tailgating || Buckle up || Driving while tired
According to Natural Resources Canada, speedy and aggressive driving burns excessive fuel and money and only saves a matter of minutes.
If someone told you you could save two minutes of time by burning 39 per cent more fuel would you still do it? Would it be worth it?
With gasoline prices at over a dollar per litre and with the growing concern for the environment, does it really make sense to speed and drive aggressively?
Reducing your speed from 120km/hour to 100km/hr can save drivers up to 20 per cent in fuel costs while aggressive driving (rapid acceleration and braking) can cost up to 39 per cent more in fuel use and cost (as well as increasing the wear and tear on the vehicle).
Passenger Contract || Pedestrian Rage || Bicycling Safety || Surfing Rage || Shopping Rage || Dear DrDriving Letters and Answers || Controversial Issues Debated || Cars, Drivers, Passengers |and| Relationships, Marriage, Romance || Songs About Driving Cars on Roads and Highways
Useful Outside Links
Summary Table on Aggressive
Driving Laws www.nhtsa.dot.gov/people/injury/enforce/speedlaws501/summtable_aggressive.htm
State By State Analysis
the States Speeding Laws
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