Before you let your road rage take over, you may want to take note that police are targeting aggressive drivers this month.
Montgomery County’s "Smooth Operator" initiative continues through Aug. 18. During that time, local police departments will try to stop unsafe behaviors.
"The goal is to alert the community to the problems of aggressive driving," Lucille Baur, spokesperson for Montgomery County told Patch in June. "People are in a hurry, they tend to speed, tend to change lanes frequently, tend to tailgate—these are all aggressive driving behaviors. A person can be just caught up in their own personal stress and not even be thinking that they're breaking the law, they're just so focused on getting where they want to be quickly."
Police officers will be on the lookout for drivers exhibiting the following behaviors:
- Failure to obey lane designation
- Failing to yield right of way
- Running red lights and stop signs
- Overtaking and passing a vehicle
- Passing on the right
Each of these actions constitutes a ticket, according to Montgomery County Police Department spokesperson Rebecca Innocenti. If a patrol officer sees three or more of these behaviors, a driver can be penalized with an extra aggressive driving charge, which carries a fine of $370 and five points on a driver's license, Innocenti said.
The Maryland National Capital Park Police offer these tips to stay safe on the road and avoid an aggressive driver or becoming one:
Avoiding aggressive drivers:
- Get out of their way and steer clear of them on the road.
- Stay relaxed. Remember that reaching your destination safely and calmly is your goal.
- Don't challenge them. Avoid eye contact. Ignore rude gestures and refuse to return them.
- Give them the benefit of the doubt. Not all aggressive driving behavior is intentional.
- Don't block the passing lane, especially if you are driving slower than most of the traffic. Move over to the right-hand lane.
- Dial #77 on a cell phone to report aggressive drivers or call your local police when you can.
How to avoid becoming an aggressive driver:
- Allow more travel time to get to your destination. It reduces stress dramatically.
- Come to a full stop at red lights and stop signs. Never run yellow lights.
- Let other drivers merge with you.
- Obey posted speed limits.
- Don't follow other drivers too closely.
- Resist the temptation to teach someone "a lesson."
- Concentrate on driving—not on the stereo, cell phone, passengers or other distractions.
- Remember that you can't control traffic—but you can control yourself, your driving and your emotions.