Whether it’s getting stuck in traffic, having to wait behind a large commercial vehicle, or having someone cut you off, it’s not uncommon to get annoyed while behind the wheel. What’s important as a driver is not to let these emotions get the better of you. It’s fine to mutter something to yourself, but it isn’t ok to cut off another vehicle simply because you want to make a point.

Because aggressive driving can put the driver and others on the road at risk, it’s also the responsibility of fleet managers and safety managers to ensure no driver in their fleet gives into it. If you’re a fleet or safety manager, you should know what counts as aggressive driving and what you can do to prevent it.

What is aggressive driving?

Any form of driving that could cause damage or endanger someone’s life can be defined as aggressive driving. Some common examples of aggressive driving are:

  • Speeding
  • Honking
  • Hard braking
  • Tailgating
  • Swerving
  • Lane blocking
  • Ignoring road warnings
  • Failing to signal
  • Improper turning

Aggressive driving is more easily defined as when a driver has made a deliberate action that poses a risk to the driver and others on the road.

Honking, for example, should only be done to alert other drivers of dangerous events, yet 45% of drivers honk to show anger. While the intention may not be to cause harm, honking unnecessarily on the road may lead to mistakes and put other drivers on the road at risk.

Despite being dangerous, aggressive driving is actually very common. The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety conducted a survey in 2019 that found 80% of US drivers displayed at least some aggressive driving behaviors.

What is the root of aggressive driving? 

Aggressive driving is often the byproduct of unchecked emotions, such as feeling annoyed, frustrated, angry, either with an event happening on the road or in the driver’s personal life.

Aggressive driving may also be caused by general impatience. A driver running late might be more inclined to drive over the speed limit or pass someone in an unsafe manner. These aggressive driving behaviors can put others at risk and, therefore, must be avoided under all circumstances.

How to stop aggressive driving

If you manage a fleet, it’s critical to equip your drivers with the necessary tools and training they need to drive safely and sensibly.

Here are some ways you can reduce aggressive driving among the commercial drivers in your fleet.

Create a driver safety program 

Introduce a driver safety program that incentivizes safe driving behavior and penalizes aggressive driving on the road.

The driver safety program should be comprehensive and include driver coaching and training, instructional manuals for drivers, data monitoring, incentives and penalties, regular audits, and dash cam video footage.

By using dash cams and storing video footage of events on the road, drivers can refer to the recordings and learn from their mistakes. This also includes instances of aggressive driving, such as speeding or dangerously overtaking another vehicle. Conversely, drivers whose reactions in precarious situations were exemplary can be praised or rewarded.

As a fleet manager, you can review video footage where necessary to track patterns of aggressive driving behaviors. This allows you to build personalized coaching courses for your drivers or, in cases where drivers persistently drive aggressively, take disciplinary actions.

Using a well-rounded driver safety program, which is supplemented by dash cam video footage and recordings, can allow your fleet to avoid dangerous situations and learn from aggressive driving behaviors in order to prevent them from happening again.

Strategically plan driving routes 

If drivers are stuck in traffic for a long time, they are more likely to drive aggressively and faster to ensure they finish their work before they run out of available Hours of Service. With route optimization and planning routes more strategically, fleet managers can reduce the likelihood of aggressive driving events.

This is possible with the help of a GPS tracking system that shares information on how long it takes drivers to deliver loads. Fleet managers can also use historical location reports to identify the best and worst routes for their drivers.

Listen to driver feedback

The everyday stresses of driving are a main contributing factor to aggressive driving — something commercial drivers are especially aware of. In fact, stress is the leading cause of aggressive driving, so it’s important that your drivers remain calm and level-headed while behind the wheel. If a driver is displaying aggressive driving behaviors, listen to them to find out if it is caused by stress and what you, as their manager, can do to help.

In some cases, aggressive driving is caused by spending too much time on the road and becoming fatigued. It is important to discuss working hours with your drivers and find out whether they are overworked, as they should be physically and mentally capable of safely performing their driving duties.

How to spot and deal with aggressive driving with the Motive Smart Dashcam 

The Motive Fleet Safety solution and Motive Smart Dashcam empower fleet managers to understand what happens on the road and take necessary actions to improve fleet safety.

Identify risks and unsafe driving events 

With the dashcam’s advanced technology, drivers can receive alerts if they are driving in an unsafe manner, e.g., not paying attention to the road, using their mobile phone, following another vehicle too closely, etc.

With real-time visibility and accountability, drivers are more likely to drive safely and avoid aggressive driving behavior. For example, if the driver is following another vehicle too closely or is using their cell phone when they should be paying attention to the road, the dashcam will alert the driver.

Video footage recorded by the dashcam also makes it easy for fleet managers to determine which drivers are repeatedly displaying unsafe and aggressive driving behavior. With visibility into what’s happening with their drivers, fleet managers can identify which drivers need coaching and improve their fleet risk management programs.

Invest in driver coaching

Driver coaching can be based on footage captured by the Motive Smart Dashcam. The footage is then uploaded to the Motive network and is automatically analyzed and contextualized for safety assessment.

Dashcam footage and contextualized safety data and insights can help fleet managers and commercial drivers to identify areas for improvements. With the help of Motive Smart Dashcam and Safety Solution, drivers can avoid aggressive driving and help improve overall fleet safety.

Request a free demo today to learn how the Motive fleet management solution and safety features can help curb aggressive driving in commercial fleets and improve fleet safety.