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Driving angry is dangerous...and expensive

California is home to many wonderful things. The wonders of our state, both natural and man-made, make California a leading vacation destination. Another mark in our favor is a reputation for laid-back attitudes and a willingness to embrace the joys life has to offer. That reputation is earned in many respects, but it does not necessarily extend to California's roads. One study has identified California as the home of the most aggressive drivers in the country.

Take a deep breath

Aggressive driving tends to draw headlines only when it boils over into incidents of outlandish road rage. While drunk driving and distracted driving generate news stories and new legislation, aggressive driving persists as perhaps the most common form of negligence on the roads. People speed, tailgate, lane jump and slam on the gas in situations where a calmer approach is necessary. Aggressive driving is a common factor in many of the most serious car accidents, including those leading to serious or fatal injuries.

The never open road

The most heavily populated areas are home to the most aggressive drivers. Traffic is a way of life for many of us. We spend countless hours on frustratingly congested roads. The way is never clear, so any tiny opening is a temptation to gun the engine. The problem is that this strategy is unsafe, ineffective and expensive. Aggressive drivers burn far more fuel than their relaxed counterparts and shave little to no time off of their commutes. There just isn't much to be gained by driving angry.

Changing a person's attitude behind the wheel is tricky. Like any bad habit, it can be difficult to break the cycle of aggressive driving. If the safety impact of aggressive driving isn't enough, perhaps the knowledge that these tactics cost drivers hundreds of extra dollars per year in fuel costs will help people foster a more congenial mindset.

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Ball & Bonholtzer
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