On Safety

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Aggressive and distracted driving: A lesson

April 8, 2014

By now, many people have likely seen the viral video of the “redneck road rage” truck driver who received “instant karma.” But he wasn’t the only person in the wrong.

The incident was captured on cell phone video by the person his aggression was directed at – a woman driving a passenger car. In the video, you can see the truck driver tailgating the woman’s car, and then making an obscene hand gesture as he speeds past her in the right lane. The truck driver then loses control of his vehicle and crashes. No one was hurt.

During an interview with a local TV station, the woman claims she recorded the video while keeping her eyes on the road.

“Not true,” said Jim Solomon, program development and training director for the National Safety Council Defensive Driving Courses. “She actually used the inside rearview mirror to judge what was showing on the screen of her phone.”

Deb Trombley, senior program manager for transportation initiatives at the council, pointed out that the woman is able to keep the truck perfectly in frame while the truck driver is attempting to pass her car. This leads Trombley to question whether the woman kept her eyes completely on the road.

“It’s not easy to keep moving objects on an iPhone camera,” she said. “You have to really pay attention.”

Furthermore, keeping one hand on the wheel of the vehicle while filming with her other hand – as the woman admits to doing – means she did not have full control of her car, Solomon said.

In addition to using her cell phone, the woman’s response to being tailgated was not correct. Drivers should move over and let the aggressive driver pass, according to Trombley, who said there appears to be room in the right lane for the woman to move over.

“Everyone is tailgated at some point,” Trombley said. “Her anger got away from her and led her to do something she should not have done. Instead, she should have moved out of the way – not videotape it.”

As an aside, there appears to be a safety vest in the woman’s car, which could mean someone she knows is involved in some industry or activity with exposure to hazards requiring safety precautions. If so, that makes her very unsafe behavior in this incident slightly ironic.

The opinions expressed in "On Safety" do not necessarily reflect those of the National Safety Council or affiliated local Chapters.

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