Aggressive driving is a dangerous practice; unfortunately, it is also a common one. In fact, according to a study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, 80 percent of drivers have expressed significant anger, aggression, or road rage while driving in the past year. Below we discuss more information regarding how to identify aggressive driving and the risks involved with it.
What Is Aggressive Driving?
As explained by AAA, aggressive driving is any unsafe driver behavior, performed deliberately and with ill intention or disregard for safety. Some forms of aggressive driving include:
- Speeding in heavy traffic
- Cutting in front of another driver and then slowing down
- Lane hopping and weaving in and out of traffic
- Changing lanes without signaling
- Running red lights
- Blocking vehicles who are trying to pass or change lanes
- Using headlights or brakes to punish other drivers
The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety reports that approximately 104 million drivers in the United States—about 51 percent—have tailgated in the past year. Another 95 million drivers—about 47 percent—have yelled at another driver, and 91 million drivers—about 45 percent—have honked at other drivers to show annoyance or anger. These are among the most common aggressive driving behaviors. However, while only about 3 percent of drivers have bumped or rammed another vehicle, this percentage still equates to 6 million drivers aggressively bumping or ramming other vehicles on roadways each year.
As noted in an infographic published by Title Max:
- Erratic lane changes were the most common source of aggressive driving complaints, according to a 2013 study, followed by speeding, hostile gestures, and tailgating.
- Three of the most common causes of fatal accidents—speeding, failing to stay in the lane, and failure to yield the right of way—are also among common road rage behaviors.
- A driver whose normal behavior includes aggressive driving practices tends to use aggressive behaviors at least twice every day; experience more anxiety and anger than others; take more risks, such as driving 10-20 miles over the speed limit; have more accidents, even in simulations; and have higher rates of drug and alcohol issues.
- The number of people who admit to having felt “uncontrollable anger toward another driver” has doubled in the past 10 years.
Why do people drive aggressively? The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration offers these additional facts to help explain:
- Traffic delays are the most commonly mentioned reason why drivers drive aggressively, with about one-third of drivers reporting that they become impatient while waiting at stop lights or in congestion due to heavy traffic, accidents, and road construction. 22 percent of drivers state that they feel angry when multi-lane roadways narrow.
- During one 28-day period, police officers issued 68,000 citations to drivers for a number of offenses, including passing on the right or following too closely. The most common driver excuse for such behaviors was that the driver was running late.
- Other often-used reasons for aggressive driving include anonymity from other drivers, which can cause feelings of detachment; habitual behavior that, while unsafe, is the normal way of driving for some; and a culture that permits or encourages disregard for others and for the law.
Aggressive Driving and Car Accidents
When does aggressive driving become deadly? When it causes an accident. SafeMotorist.com reports the following important statistics:
- 66 percent of traffic fatalities involve some form of aggressive driving.
- 37 percent of aggressive driving incidents involve a firearm.
- Road rage is most commonly exhibited by male drivers under the age of 19. Men are three times more likely than women to get out of their car to fight another driver.
- In a 10-year period, 210 murders were attributed to road rage, along with 12,610 injuries.
- 2 percent of drivers admit to trying to run an aggressor off the road.
- Between 2006 and 2015, fatal crashes attributed to road rage increased by 500 percent, according to a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration study.
How Can I Avoid Becoming the Target of an Aggressive Driver?
With an issue as common as aggressive driving, sometimes you can’t avoid having to deal with deliberate and reckless driving behavior from other drivers. However, there are some actions that you can take to help avoid sparking someone else’s road rage. Here are a few tips:
- Be a courteous driver. Make sure you have enough room before changing lanes. Don’t follow too closely or make hand gestures at other drivers.
- If someone acts aggressively toward you on the road, do not engage them. Keep a safe distance between yourself and the other driver, if possible.
- Do not pull over if another driver is trying to engage with you. Pulling over allows the other driver easy access to you and can put your life in danger.
- Call the police if you feel that someone else’s aggressive driving or road rage behavior is threatening your safety or the safety of others on the road.
If You Were in an Accident Due to Someone Else’s Aggressive Driving, Call Our Nebraska Car Accident Lawyers
Aggressive driving is a negligent or reckless act that breaches the duty of care that one driver owes to others on the road. Worse, it is an act that can cause serious injury or even death. If you have been injured in an accident that was caused by the aggressive driving behaviors of another driver, you may be worried about how to manage the costs of your medical care, lost time from work, and other financial, physical, and emotional difficulties that you may encounter during your recovery. You should seek compensation, if eligible, and retain the services of an experienced car accident attorney from the Robert Pahlke Law Group to help.
We provide caring and powerful representation to our personal injury clients throughout Nebraska, using our knowledge of the law, our relentless protection of our clients’ rights, and our thoughtful guidance to make sense of a complex area of the law. You deserve to have someone fight for you during this difficult time. To schedule your free consultation and case review, contact the Robert Pahlke Law Group online or by calling (308) 633-4444.