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General Purpose: To Persuade

Specific Purpose: To persuade my audience to avoid dangerous drivers and steer away from being one.


I. In August 1995, a 20-year old man, enraged after a fender bender with a 33-year old woman, pulled her out of her car and forced her to jump from a bridge into the Detroit River, where she drowned.

II. Ugly incidents sparked by driver rage are becoming common on American roads. Usually highway spats blow over swiftly, and drivers head on their way angered but alive. All too often, however, anger escalates into battle and a tragic end. Statistics, etc. (Reader’s Digest, 1997)

III. I have a terrible, dangerous habit. One that could kill me and anyone near me. I cannot stand people who drive over the speed limit. I make sure they know it too. After reading these articles, I will never act this irresponsibly or immature again and I hope that I can convince you to do the same.

IV. Dangerous drivers are enraged, intent on getting even and they are the latest threat on the highway that need to be stopped.

Transition: Dangerous drivers are putting us in danger.


I. A dangerous driver can be anyone who has personal frustrations, anger, or pride.

A. A dangerous driver can be a serious problem.

1. U.S.News and World Report dated Nov. 11, 1996 says that according to Ricardo Martinez, head of the National Highway Trafic Safety Administration, agressive drivers are more of a concern than drunk drivers, 40 percent to 30 percent. They can climb into the anonymity of an automobile and take their frustrations out on anybody at any time.

2. They run stop signs and red lights. They speed, tailgate, weave in and out of traffic, pass on the right, make improper and unsafe lane changes, make hand and face gestures, scream, honk, and flash their lights.

B. The real problem with dangerous drivers is that you simply can’t know how far one of them is willing to go to prove a point, take revenge, or simply get his or her own way.

1. Anyone who raises their middle finger while driving is playing Russian Roulette.

2. In the March ‘97 issue ofRedbook ,an article written by Art Levine called “How Angry Drivers are Putting You in Danger” says this is not an exaggeration. Early one January morning, a freeway driver pulled in front of John O’Kane. In the passenger seat was his fiancee, Eileen McGuigan, 36, a mother of four. “I gave him the finger for cutting me off and he shot her in the head.”

C. I know people are only human–it’s very difficult to ignore the jerk riding your tail or ducking in front of you to save half a second. Some drivers (not me anymore) respond to over-agressive road behavior as if piloting a car were a contest. They drive to win rather than to get to their destination.

Transition: We have seen how dangerous these drivers can be, but they need to be stopped.

II. The best way to cope with aggressive drivers is not to be one. Don’t commit any of the sins that wouls surely make you grit your teeth if you saw another driver commit them.

A. According to an article in the July 1997 Reader’s Digest, “Steer Clear of these Dangerous Drivers”, when someone cuts close in front of you or runs a red light, there’s a terrible temptation to lean on the horn, holler an insult, or flip the bird.

1. Do that, and the problem will be amplified.

2. Your action may cause the other driver to start following you too close or get in front of you.

B. You’re at a much greater risk if you join in the confrontation, even if it’s by honking your horn or glaring at other drivers–habits that men, in particular, find hard to resist.

1. U.S. News and World Report, November 11, 1996, gives an example of the solution.

a. One night, as a man was getting off the highway on his way home from work, a guy in a Saab–a very professional, regular looking guy–was getting off behind him.

b. The exit wasn’t two lanes, but the guy wanted to squeeze past anyway. The other guy didn’t want to pull over.

c. When they were on the city street at a red light, the man got out of his car and started cursing and pounding on the window.

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