A tragic motor vehicle accident occurred in Kansas recently when five members of a family who were traveling together in a van were killed after a tractor-trailer hit the family car head-on. KAKE.com reports that the deadly collision happened when one tractor-trailer was trying to pass another big truck.
The incident happened shortly after 8 PM on a Saturday. The tractor-trailer driver who was trying to pass reportedly crossed the center lane, killing the 29-year old van driver as well as four children who were riding in the van. The truck driver was also taken to the hospital with injuries, and KAKE indicated it was not yet clear whether or not charges would be brought against the driver.
Unfortunately, passing in an unsafe way is a leading example of aggressive driving behavior that can cause motor vehicle accidents to happen. As many as 80 percent of all drivers engage in some type of dangerous behavior behind the wheel out of anger, frustration, or rage at some time over the course of the year, according to AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. When drivers make the choice to let their anger overrule their common sense and they do something dangerous while driving, the outcome can be tragic - as this collision shows.
Passing when it's not safe is just one of many different kinds of common aggressive driving behavior that can lead to crashes. When AAA surveyed drivers about their behaviors behind the wheel over the course of the year prior to taking the survey, AAA discovered that:
- 51 percent of drivers tailgated on purpose
- 47 percent of drivers yelled at another motorist
- 45 percent of drives honked in order to express their anger or annoyance at other motorists
- 33 percent of motorists made angry gestures
- 24 percent of drivers tried to stop other vehicles from changing lanes
- 12 percent of motorists cut off another car intentionally out of anger
- Four percent of drivers actually got out of their car to confront another motorist
- Three percent of drivers bumped into, or rammed into, another vehicle intentionally
When motorists engage in these behaviors, or unsafe passing, the risks of a collision can increase substantially. When AAA studied auto accidents from 2003 through 2007, they found close to half of all collisions that occurred involved at least one of the drivers doing a potentially aggressive action leading up to the accident.
The risk of a serious collision that could cause loss of life is not worth it. Any motorist who finds himself getting angry needs to take steps to calm down, such as taking deep breathes or counting to 10. Sure, other drivers can be annoying, but it's important to drive defensively. Motorists should remember that it only takes one time to cause a devastating crash, and a collision can happen in a second. Don’t take the chance and give in to road rage or let aggression control your driving behavior, because your actions might change lives forever.