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Drivers Warned of Road Rage

October 6, 2000

PHILADELPHIA (AP) _ A black and orange sign saying ``Beware of Aggressive Drivers″ marks hostile roadway turf, while others read ``Don’t Tailgate″ and ``Slow Down _ Save a Life.″

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation began posting the messages in a northern Philadelphia suburb last week near Interstate 476 hoping to calm problem stretches of highway. More signs were to be planted Friday on other state routes.

``We can’t reduce accidents unless we address driver behavior,″ said DOT spokesman Ron Young. ``There is no room to build new roads, so we have to make the best of what we have.″

The program may eventually include local roads where more than 250 crashes in the last five years had been blamed on aggressive driving tactics such as tailgating, improper lane-changing or speeding, the department said.

Leon James, author of ``Road Rage: Steering Clear of Highway Warfare,″ said New Jersey had recently posted temporary road signs urging people to ``Drive Friendly,″ and a St. Louis bridge repair bore signs warning drivers: ``Expect to Be Frustrated.″

``This is the first time I have heard of permanent signs anywhere,″ James said.

Motorists acknowledged the driving problems but were skeptical about the signs.

``People drive like it is the Indy 500. I get clammy hands, and then I start to sweat,″ said Jennifer Middleman, 34. ``Those signs won’t make any difference on this road.″

``People have no respect for the other driver,″ said Chris Fetters, 39. ``They are in a hurry. They just want you to get out of their way.″

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On the Net:

Pennsylvania Department of Transportation: http://www.dot.state.pa.us/