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St. Pete Beach travel tip - How to avoid a road rage incident

We all know that road rage violence is not a new phenomenon, but it is a dangerous one. Many of the car accidents we see at Zanes Law are a result of road rage.

Below are some eye-opening statistics that you may not have been aware of, but certainly need to think about.

A. On average, at least 1,500 people are injured or killed every year in the United States due to aggressive driving (AAA)

B. 2 percent of aggressive drivers admit to trying to run other vehicles off of the road (NHTSA)

C. Weapons have been used in more than 4,000 aggressive driving incidents. These include firearms, knives, clubs, and vehicles (AAA)

D. 37% of aggressive driving incidents involve a firearm (NHTSA)

What is the difference between aggressive driving and road rage? The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) describes road rage as a criminal act of violence. Aggressive driving is driving behavior that can range from tailgating to speeding to running red lights. So it's really the aggressive driving behavior that leads to the road rage incident, which is the violent, criminal act.

Here are 7 tips to protect yourself and avoid a dangerous road rage situation:

1. Most dangerous road rage situations tend to involve two aggressive drivers. Someone cuts you off, you flip them off and they then respond. Be a polite driver. Don't tailgate, cut vehicles off, speed, weave through traffic, or engage in other aggressive driving behavior, especially in response to another drivers actions.

2. Slow down and let aggressive drivers go around you.

3. Use your horn sparingly. Horns are meant for emergency situations.

4. If you've accidentally done something wrong simply, smile, waive, and acknowledge your mistake.

5. If someone wants to pass you, let them.

6. Don't get angry and yell at other drivers. Even if they yelled at you.

7.Call 911 if you feel like you are in danger and drive to the nearest public place with witnesses. Do not get out of the car to confront another driver.