Aggressive driving is present in urban and rural areas throughout the United States, although it tends to be more of a problem in and around larger cities. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) defines aggressive driving as a combination of moves on the road that endanger the safety of other people or creates a risk of property damage. Aggressive drivers lead to many serious crashes across the United States.
Most states do not have any laws that were enacted to combat aggressive driving, but more safety programs targeting aggressive driving are being implemented in cities and towns throughout the United States. One of the reasons for the development of new safety programs is because of the increase in the number of aggressive driving incidents.
The most common types of aggression on the road are:
- Speeding – more than hundreds of thousands of vehicle crashes in the United States are attributed to speeding each year;
- Tailgating – traveling too close to the vehicle in front of an aggressive driver contributes to many severe crashes;
- Unnecessary and frequent lane changes – when these changes happen in an unsafe manner, the risk of a devastating accident increase tremendously;
- Running red lights or stop signs – this behavior leads to many accidents in urban environments; and
- Flashing high beams at vehicles on the road or using the horn excessively – this behavior is seen as provocative.
While many drivers list aggressive drivers as one of the biggest fears on the road, these same individuals do not identify their behavior as aggressive when it falls into one of the classification categories of an aggressive driver. Over the past three decades, there has been a significant increase in the number vehicle miles driven, but a very limited increase in the actual road miles, resulting in increasing motor vehicle density and more interactions with fellow motorists.
In addition to an increase in the amount of aggressive driving incidents, there also has been a serious increase in the number of road rage events. Road rage is distinguished from aggressive driving in that the person is using his vehicle as a weapon, with an intent to harm another person. This is considered a form of assault and can lead to criminal charges.
There are ways for a driver to minimize the risk of a dangerous aggressive driving interaction, which include:
- Do not allow emotions to get out of control – staying calm can help de-escalate a situation;
- Make sure you have enough time to get where you are going – waiting to the last minute means that speeding and increased frustration with other drivers is more likely;
- Do not challenge aggressive drivers – moving over so someone can pass will not cost any significant time in the long-run; and
- Do not engage in behaviors that may be a trigger – laying on the horn or flashing lights can create a dangerous situation.
While there are times when it is impossible to avoid an aggressive driver, it is best to do everything possible to limit escalation. Exercising good judgment and employing defensive driving skills can minimize the risk of an accident caused by an aggressive driver.
Being involved in any type of accident is devastating for the victims, but when another driver caused the crash as the result of aggressive behavior, the resulting trauma can be overwhelming. The knowledgeable and dedicated car accident attorneys at Parker Waichman LLP are ready to fight for the compensation that you deserve in order to pay your bills and reclaim your quality of life. Please call us at 1-800-YOURLAWYER (1-800-968-7529) to schedule an appointment where we can discuss what happened to you and develop the right legal strategy for you and your family.
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