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Heat Aggresive Driving

As we head into the hottest months of summer in Houston, drivers are cranking up the air conditioning and trying to keep their cool on Texas’ crowded roadways. Whether you are hitting the road for a summer vacation or just trying to survive your morning commute, you are likely to come across some traffic conditions that make your blood boil.

That’s why it is critical to stay alert to the dangers of aggressive driving this time of year. Take the time to keep your behavior in check, and watch out for others who may not be so considerate.

The Heat Effect

“The heat effect refers to the empirical observation of an increase in aggressive behavior in hot temperatures. It is noted that people believe that hot temperatures increase feelings of anger and hostility, decrease alertness and energy, and increase aggression and violence.” - “Temperature and Aggression,” Advances in Experimental Social Psychology, Volume 32

Heat-induced road rage can lead to more than confrontations between two feuding drivers. Anyone in the vicinity of an aggressive driver can suffer the consequences of a crash caused by road rage.

Common examples of aggressive driving include:

Running stop signs or red lights
Not allowing others to pass
Speeding
Weaving in and out of traffic
Tailgating
Failing to signal
Passing on the right
Inappropriate hand and facial gestures
Honking the horn

Never challenge an aggressive driver. Let them pass. Ignore the rude gestures. And wear your seatbelt. Your safety is more important than trying to show up a reckless driver.

THE DARKER SIDE OF SUMMER

Traffic crash statistics from the Texas Department of Transportation paint a dreary picture for motorists during the summer. The following statistics are from 2017 crash data collected by TxDOT.

JULY

Deadliest month for crashes, with 352 people killed across the state

59 SECONDS

One crash occurred every 59 seconds

90%

Percentage of crashes that occurred on clear or cloudy days vs. days that were rainy, foggy, or snowy

2 MINUTES, 4 SECONDS

One crash occurred every 2 minutes, 4 seconds

102'

One crash occurred every 59 seconds

2 HOURS, 21 MINUTES

One person was killed in a crash every 2 hours, 21 minutes

The invention of air-conditioning certainly made living in hot climates like Texas more tolerable, and it has led to a population boom for areas like Houston. However, the upswing in population has also led to a swelling of commute time.

As the Los Angeles Times reports:

“On average, the overcooked drivers of traffic-choked Los Angeles, Atlanta, Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston and Miami are stuck in traffic delays more than three times as many hours per year as drivers in Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Detroit, Cincinnati and Buffalo.”

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