Road Rage: The Scourge Of America’S Roadways

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Topic: Road Rage

General Purpose: To convince

Specific Purpose: To convince the audience to combat “road rage” by increasing driver awareness

Thesis Statement: “Road rage” caused by aggressive driving tendencies is a growing epidemic affecting today’s roadways, but there is a solution.

Ethos: Include myself in my statements.

Pathos: Audience should feel horrified at the consequences of road rage.

Logos: Cite statistics and research resources.

Introduction

I. How many of you have ever been in a motor vehicle? Did you know that “motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death among Americans 1-37 years old.” With the largest % being our age group. (Insurance Institute for Highway Safety)

II. Many traffic accidents could have been easily prevented if not for the angry menace called road rage. Road rage caused by aggressive driving tendencies is a growing epidemic affecting today’s roadways, but there is a solution.

Transition 1: As you can see road rage is a serious problem that could potentially affect us all. But many of us have different ideas of the scope of road rage.

Body

I. You can better combat “road rage” by understanding what it is…

A. Road rage or aggressive driving is defined as behavior behind the wheel in which furious drivers lose their temper and engage in risk-taking behavior or attempt to injure or kill another driver or pedestrian over minor traffic disputes.

(Dr. Leon James, Professor of Psychology at the University of Hawaii, further defines road rage by breaking it down into three types)

1. Verbal Road Rage is composed of behaviors such as yelling, swearing, gesturing, honking, and insulting.

2. Quiet Road Rage includes complaining, rushing, competing, and resisting.

3. Epic Road Rage includes cutting off, blocking, chasing, fighting, and shooting.

B. You all are thinking that we’ve all done some of those things, but no one really gets hurt. You can be sure that’s exactly what Tracie Alfieri and Narkey Terry also thought.

1. According to a June 2, Newsweek article, Tracie Alfieri became enraged by the manner in which Rene Andrews pulled into her lane. Alfieri tried to pass Andrews on the right then cut in front and hit the brakes causing Andrews to swerve into a stopped tractor resulting in the loss of Andrews’ 6 month old unborn child. Tracie Alfieri was convicted this May of vehicular manslaughter and sentenced to 18 months in prison. (Newsweek)

2. In the most commonly cited incident of road rage, which ended in three deaths: Narkey Terry and Billy Canipe became involved in a game of cat and mouse because Canipe was moving too slowly in the left lane. The chase continued at 80 mph for 7 miles in morning rush hour Washington DC traffic until Terry collided with Canipe sending flying metal everywhere. Canipe spun out of control into oncoming traffic killing an approaching George Smythe; Canipe was also killed. The rear axle of Canipe’s car flew over the median strip and hit the windshield of Nancy McBrien, killing her instantly. Narkey Terry who had two prior speeding convictions was convicted of two counts of involuntary manslaughter and given 10 1/2 years in prison, which is beyond the Federal guidelines. (Reader’s Digest)

Transition 2: Even with these alarming examples of highway disaster, many of you still feel removed from the ever growing epidemic of road rage.

II. The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety says there is no one profile of an aggressive driver. Many have histories of violence, criminal records or have recently suffered emotional setbacks. The growing numbers of incidents on our roadways are being attributed to people like us, successful men and women with no prior problems.

A. A few Statistics on how highway related deaths and aggressive driving are linked.

1. U.S. News reports that the number of aggressive driving incidents have risen by 51% since 1990. (U.S. News)

2. A National Highway Traffic Safety Administration study shows that the number of highway deaths has increased 7% in the last 4 years and that 2/3 of these were caused by aggressive driving behavior. (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration)

3. But “in a national survey by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety 3/4 of 543 drivers questioned thought their driving skills were above average.” (U.S. News)

B. Aggressive driving affects us all.

1. “A recent study conducted by the AAA Foundation found that nearly 90% of us have experienced an aggressive driving incident in the past twelve months.” (The Subcommittee on Surface Transportation)

2. Are you a safe driver or a crash waiting to happen? Please take a moment to read this Driver Self-Evaluation from the Citizens Against Speeding and Aggressive Driving. You might be surprised at what you’ll find.

Transition 3: Whether you are the aggressor or the victim, road rage doesn’t have to continue to be a growing epidemic.

III. There are many ways that you can help combat “road rage”.

A. One way that you can make a difference is by practicing safer driving behaviors.

1. Don’t become part of the problem. “The best way to cope with aggressive drivers is not to be one.” (U.S. News)

a. Practice basic traffic courtesy by not engaging in risk taking behaviors, such as making obscene gestures, changing lanes without signaling, and the most risky tailgating.

b. Reduce your stress level. Increased stress leads to increased hostility on the road. Listen to soothing music and allow plenty of time for your trip. (AAA Foundation)

2. Adopt positive attitudes. Cars are not bullet proof, an aggressive driver will follow you home, and you’ve got to get out of the car eventually.

a. Assume other driver’s mistakes are not personal.

b. Be polite and courteous even if the other driver isn’t. “Politeness quickly diffuses the escalating forces of road rage,” as Kathleen Kelleher says in her September Los Angeles article.

c. Remind yourself that getting angry isn’t worth it. Would you want to lose your life over a parking space?

B. Citizens Against Speeding and Aggressive Driving (CASAD) is non-profit grassroots organization dedicated to making our roads safer by eliminating speeding and aggressive driving.

1. They rely on ordinary people like you and I with no ability to make change individually, but working together as a group to solve the growing epidemic of road rage.

2. You can help in their mission, by helping to start committees in your city, by making a donation, or by bringing traffic safety information to your neighbors.

Transition 4: Road rage is an epidemic whose cure is a change of attitude by everyone.

Conclusion
Please use this information on your trip home this evening and thank you for helping to make our roadways safer for all of us. Remember as Dr. Ricardo Martinez, Administrator of the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration said ‘driving is a cooperative venture, not a competitive sport.”

BIBLIOGRAPHY
 

AAA Foundation. “AAA Foundation’s Road Rage News Release and Report Summary” (1997). http://webfirst.com/aaa/text/roadrage.htm [October 10, 1997]

Adler, Jerry. “‘Road Rage’: We’re Driven to Destruction.” Newsweek, June 2, 1997, p70.

Citizens Against Speeding and Aggressive Driving. “CASAD Driver Self-Evaluation” (1997). http://www.aaafts.org/aaa/CASAD/Selfeval.htm [October 3, 1997]

Citizens Against Speeding and Aggressive Driving. Information Brochure, July 1997.

Dr. Driving. “Congressional Testimony by Leon James on Road Rage and Aggressive Drivers” (July 17, 1997). http://www.aloha.net/~dyc/testimony.html [October 10, 1997]

Dr. Driving. “Media Interviews with Dr. Driving on Road Rage and Aggressive Drivers”. (October 8, 1997). http://www.aloha.net/~dyc/interview.html [October 10, 1997]

General Fact Sheet. Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. August 1997

Kelleher, Kathleen. “On the Road to Testosterone-Fueled Rage.” Los Angeles Times, September 23, 1997, pE6.

Levingston, Steven. “Steer Clear of These Dangerous Drivers.” Reader’s Digest, July 1997, pp51-55.

Los Angeles Times. “Los Angeles Times Pick for August 11, 1997″ (August 11, 1997). http://www.latimes.com/ [October 10, 1997]

Mad Driver’s Disease: A survival guide for handling highway nuts, from a recovering lunatic., U.S. News & World Report, November 11, 1997. http://www.usnews.com/usnews/issue/11driv.htm [October 3, 1997]

Metcalfe, Sheldon. Building a Speech. 3rd Ed. Fort Worth, TX: Harcourt Brace College Publishers, 1998.

National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration. “Statement of the Honorable Ricardo Martinez, M.D., Administrator National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration Before the Subcommittee of Surface Transportation Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure U.S. House of Representatives. July 17, 1997.” (July 17, 1997). http://www.nhtsa.dot.gov/nhtsa/announce/testimony/aggress2.html [October 10, 1997]

Pullia Turk, Michele. “Road Rage: A few smart psychological steps to take when you get angry – or the other driver does.”, USA Weekend, September 9, 1997.

Rodgers, Mary Augusta. “How to Handle a Hostile Driver.” Woman’s Day, March 16, 1993.

U.S. House of Representatives. “The Subcommittee on Surface Transportation Hearing July 17, 1997, Road Rage: Causes and Dangers of Aggressive Driving” (July 17, 1997). http://www.house.gov/transportation/surface/sthearin/ist717/ist717.htm [October 10, 1997]

Vest, Jason, Cohen, Warren, and Tharp Mike. “Road Rage: Tailgating, giving the finger, outright violence – Americans grow more likely to take out their frustrations on other drivers.” U.S. News & World Report, June 2, 1997. http://www.usnews.com/usnews/issue/2driv.htm [October 10, 1997]

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