Allow more time to avoid rage on crowded roads
Now that winter is under way, roads are at their busiest. A general rule is to add 10 to 15 minutes to travel time in Pinellas County during the winter tourist season. Congested roads, fast-paced lives and driver frustration combine to cause impatient and aggressive driving.
The aggressive driver speeds, weaves, tailgates and engages in other reckless behavior. Road rage occurs when a violent crime is committed in connection with other negative driving behavior. Bad drivers used to be just bad drivers. Now, motorists can take bad driving personally, to the point where they trade insults or even become violent.
Road construction also can contribute to driver impatience.
Whether it is a difference in driving skills, road construction, weather or other variables, driving defensively and courteously will help everyone arrive at their destinations safely.
Aggressive drivers face a range of consequences. They can be cited for anything from a routine moving violation requiring a fine to reckless driving with an "aggressive driver" notation on the ticket. That could result in an enhanced penalty from the judge.
Drivers should give themselves more time to reach their destinations and be mindful of the many visitors who may be unfamiliar with local roads. There can be serious and potentially costly consequences for driving aggressively out of frustration.
Marianne Pasha, Pinellas County Sheriff's Office