Aggressive driving increases the risk of accidents that can cause severe injuries or death. Unfortunately, nearly 80 percent of drivers have engaged in some form of aggressive driving at least once in the past year, according to a study from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.
Past research from AAA shows that more than half of the fatal car accidents that occurred between 2003 and 2007 involved at least one driver who did something that could be seen as aggressive.
Aggressive driving is defined as any dangerous driving behaviors a driver performs intentionally or without regard for safety. Aggressive driving can include:
- Speeding when traffic is heavy
- Tailgating vehicles
- Cutting off another vehicle then driving slowly
- Flashing headlights or hitting the brakes to warn or punish other vehicles
- Running a red light
- Weaving in and out of traffic lanes
- Not using turn signals when changing lanes
- Blocking vehicles that are trying to pass or make a lane change
The most common aggressive driving behavior was tailgating, as 51 percent of drivers said they had tailgated another vehicle in the past year. The study also found that 24 percent of drivers tried to block another vehicle from changing lanes and 12 percent of drivers cut off another vehicle on purpose.
Drivers who engage in these behaviors may also experience road rage, which includes:
- Cursing and making obscene gestures
- Ramming another vehicle
- Sideswiping another vehicle
- Throwing items at a vehicle
- Forcing other vehicles off the road
- Yelling at other drivers
- Honking to show annoyance or anger
The AAA study revealed that 47 percent of drivers yelled at other drivers in the past year. The study also found that 45 percent of drivers honked their horns to show their anger while 33 percent made angry gestures.
Just four percent of drivers surveyed said they had exited their vehicle to confront another driver in the past 12 months.
Preventing Aggressive Driving
One of the keys to preventing aggressive driving is to not get angry about the behavior of other drivers. Do not take it personally, as other drivers were probably not thinking about you when they made an illegal or inconsiderate maneuver in traffic. Other drivers may be rushed, distracted or simply having a bad day.
The other key to avoiding aggressive driving is to follow the rules of the road. This means:
- Keep a safe distance between your vehicle and the vehicle in front of you
- Use your turn signals
- Allow other cars to merge
- Tap your horn if necessary, but avoid holding it down for a long time
Despite your best efforts, you may one day find yourself in a confrontation with another driver. Take the following steps to help prevent the situation from escalating:
- Avoid eye contact with the person
- Do not respond to aggression with more aggression
- Remain calm and courteous with the other driver
- When you pull over, leave room to pull out safely if a driver approaches you aggressively
- If you feel you are in danger, call 911 or head to the nearest police station
Were you injured in an accident caused by an aggressive driver? You may be entitled for compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. The Fort Worth auto accident attorneys at Anderson Cummings will fight to recover maximized compensation on your behalf.