Aggressive Driving Facts and Prevention
In 2009, there were 30,797 fatal crashes in the United States, which involved 45,230 drivers. In those crashes, 33,808 people were killed according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Because many of these accidents are caused by the same factors that contribute to aggressive driving (speeding, running lights, excessive lane change), aggressive drivers are a serious risk to motorists and themselves.
What is Aggressive Driving
According to the NHTSA, aggressive driving is “when individuals commit a combination of moving traffic offenses so as to endanger other persons or property.” Aggressive driving behaviors can include: exceeding the posted speed limit, following too closely, erratic or unsafe lane changes, improperly signaling lane changes, and failure to obey traffic control devices (stop signs, yield signs, traffic signals, railroad grade cross signals, etc.). Speeding, improper lane changes, and improper passing are the most common:
- speeding — exceeding the posted limit or driving too fast for conditions
- improper or excessive lane changing: failing to signal intent, failing to see that movement can be made safely
- improper passing — failing to signal intent, using an emergency lane to pass, or passing on the shoulder
Aggressive Driving vs. Road Rage
The terms “aggressive driving” and “road rage” may seem interchangeable, but they are not. Aggressive driving is a traffic offense while road rage is a criminal offense. Road rage is “an assault with a motor vehicle or other dangerous weapon by the operator or passenger(s) of one motor vehicle on the operator or passenger(s) of another motor vehicle or is caused by an incident that occurred on a roadway,” according to NHTSA. Additionally, road rage requires “willful and wanton disregard for the safety of others.”
What to do When Confronted with an Aggressive Driver
- Get Out of the Way- First and foremost make every attempt to get out of their way.
- Put Your Pride Aside- Do not challenge them by speeding up or attempting to hold-your-own in your travel lane.
- Avoid Eye Contact- Eye contact can sometimes enrage an aggressive driver
- Ignore gestures and refuse to return them.
- Report Serious Aggressive Driving- Call the police.
Are you an Aggressive Driver?
Aggressive driving is not uncommon, and you may even find yourself guilty of it from time to time. If you answer yes to three or more of these questions, you may be an aggressive driver, according to NHTSA standards.
- Do you express frustration?
- Do you fail to pay attention when driving?
- Do you tailgate?
- Do you make frequent lane changes?
- Do you run red lights?
- Do you speed?
How to Stop Driving Aggressively
- Concentrate- don’t allow yourself to become distracted by talking on your cellular phone, eating, drinking or putting on makeup
- Relax- tune the radio to your favorite relaxing music
- Drive the Posted Speed Limit- fewer crashes occur when vehicles are travelling at or about the same speed
- Identify Alternate Routes- try mapping out an alternate route. Even if it looks longer on paper, you may find it is less congested
- Use Public Transportation- public transportation can give you some much-needed relief from life behind the wheel
- If all else fails, just be late
Contact an Experienced Aggressive Driving Attorney
If you suspect you have been injured because of an aggressive driver, contact Thomas J. Henry for immediate assistance. We have built a reputation for innovative investigations, creative litigation and maximum results for our clients.
We pride ourselves in our client satisfaction. Contact us to schedule an appointment that works with your schedule. We are available 24/7, nights and weekends.
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