As of last week, the Collier County Sheriff’s Office launched a campaign against aggressive driving in the Naples area. Prompted by a rise in complaints around the county, the campaign is aimed at educating drivers about the dangers of aggressive driving before the tourists swell in the area. Not to mention, the campaign will be a reminder of how motorists can stay safe in the face of road rage.
Deputies will focus on intersections along Livingston Road from Immokalee Road to Golden Gate Parkway; Collier Boulevard from U.S. 41 East to the Marco Island bridge; and Vanderbilt Beach Road from U.S. 41 North to Collier Boulevard.
“The mindset of the community is what we’re looking at,” Sgt. Terry Smith of the Sheriff’s Office Safety Traffic Enforcement Bureau told the Naples Daily News. “It’s to let people know we’re out there so they know not to speed or run red lights or text and drive.” He continues, “It is not necessarily about writing tickets. It’s about education enforcement and safety.”
Data provided by the sheriff’s office shows that there have been 19 fatal traffic crashes that resulted in 22 deaths in the first half of the year alone. This is a 12 percent increase from the same period in 2015. The data correlates with the massive amount of aggressive-driving complaints the office has received this year — over 3,000 so far, compared to the 5,440 last year.
The campaign will focus largely on speeding, which leads drivers to weave in and out of lanes, tailgate, and run red lights or stop signs, Smith says. Officers want drivers to not only slow down, but to make sure that the community is aware they’re going to be patrolling the roads heavily during the campaign.
In light of the county’s initiatives, here are some ways parents can ensure their families can stay safe in the face of aggressive driving on the road.
One of most important things you could do as a victim of road rage is to remain calm and focused, as suggested by the Department of Motor Vehicles.
If an aggressive driver is tailgating you and you cannot move to another lane, the best thing you can do is to stay put and relax. Thinking clearly and keeping your eyes on the road will ensure you and your family get to your destination safely, despite an aggressive driver. Listening to calmer music and engaging in deep breathing may also help you to stay calm against another driver’s road rage.
Don’t forget, driving in this circumstance is not about winning. It’s not a contest.
The AAA states that one angry driver cannot start a fight unless another driver is willing to join in. This means not engaging with a drive who is experiencing road rage, such as honking, making eye contact, or gestures towards the aggressive driver.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found that in some road rage situations, drivers have gone as far as to utilize a dangerous weapon against other drivers. This finding is supported by the fact that 37 percent of aggressive driving road rage incidents involved a firearm of some kind, according to Safe Motorist, a national provider of online traffic school, defensive driving, and driving education courses. Protect yourself by not taking part of their rage “game.”
Open a Passing Lane
If you are in the left lane and a car behind you wants to pass, AAA says that drivers should move over and let them by — even if they’re traveling the correct speed limit on the left lane.
Some drivers can be particularly aggressive when it comes to driving in the left lane, and you could be putting yourself in danger if you go too slow in that lane. Perhaps most importantly, though, in most states, Florida included, the law requires that the left lane only be used for passing. Drivers going slowly in the left lane then run the risk of being ticketed, in addition to unnecessary confrontations with angry drivers.
Notify the Police
If you can’t shake an aggressive driver and feel that you and your family are at risk of an accident, report it to police. After all, the police are looking out for this stuff more than ever right now.
While the county’s aggressive driving initiatives are extensive — covering large stretches of roads such U.S. 41 and the Marco Island Bridge — their efforts may not completely eliminate aggressive driving in the Naples area, and accidents are still likely.
If you have been a victim of an accident, legal options may be available to you. Visit our car accidents reference page to learn how an attorney can help you file a lawsuit, navigate you through PIP and medical insurance, and more.