Aggressive drivers rankle readers
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By Elisa Crouch and Ken Leiser

What line do you have to cross to be tagged an aggressive driver?

We ask only because of a heated debate — or series of debates — that broke out last week in our blog at Along for the Ride | STLtoday. For those who didn't see it, we reported the findings of a AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety report on aggressive driving.

The foundation's review of national highway data found that as many as 56 percent of fatal vehicle crashes from 2003 to 2007 involved at least one aggressive act — such as speeding. No real surprise.

But AAA also released the results of a national phone survey showing that although drivers consider aggressive driving a serious problem, many are guilty of it themselves. Nearly half said they had exceeded the posted highway speed limit by 15 mph in the previous month. Others said they sped to beat a yellow light, tailgated or pressured others to speed up.

So how do our bloggers characterize aggressive driving? MORE COMMUTING AND TRAFFIC NEWS
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There are the classic symptoms.

"Aggressive drivers think it's the job of other drivers to 'watch out for them,'" wrote Karen A. "Believing it's everyone else's job to keep out of their way leaves them to freely run red lights, cut people off, drive 20-plus (mph) over the speed limit and use the turn lanes to pass people."

There are the more subtle ones.

"Aggressive driving is endemic and bad, but so is passive-aggressive or inattentive driving," another wrote. "People sit in the left lanes on the highway like they own them. When I lived in the northeast, they didn't tolerate that, but everybody knew what was expected of one another."

This often leads to an angry response.

"What gets me is when I'm driving down the highway, maybe 5 miles over the speed limit, paying attention, and some soccer mom in an SUV, gabbing on a cell phone cuts me off and I slam on my brakes and lay on the horn," wrote Curmudgeon Lady. "Now I'm accused of road rage because I'm angry, yet the perpetrator is considered innocent when they're the one who was inattentive and almost caused an accident."