Many individuals in New York and across the country experience anger and impatience when driving through traffic. People get frustrated when they are late to a meeting or an appointment and traffic has come to a standstill. As many as eight out of ten drivers admit to participating in this dangerous practice. Aggressive driving behavior threatens the lives of those doing the reckless driving, as well as the lives of everyone else on the road.
Signs of Aggressive Driving
According to AAA (Automobile Association of America), there are several driving behaviors that are indications of aggressive driving. These include: switching lanes erratically and blocking other drivers; racing or speeding with other vehicles; failing to yield to stop signs, pedestrian crossings, and traffic signals; aggressive honking, yelling obscenities, using inappropriate hand gestures; seeking confrontations with other drivers; and following too closely or tailgating.
Speeding is one of the most prevalent aggressive behaviors. AAA Foundation studies show that speeding is a factor in one-third of all fatal crashes. Despite a strong public awareness and understanding of aggressive driving, many people are willing to excuse aggressive behaviors.
Half of all drivers in AAA’s Traffic Safety Culture Index admitted to exceeding both neighborhood and highway speed limits by more than 15 percent in the past 30 days. More astounding, a quarter of drivers say they consider speeding acceptable, reports AAA Foundation for Public Safety.
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Aggressive driving was involved in 56 percent of fatal motor vehicle accidents, as reported by AAA. In some cases, road rage may turn physical. Drivers have been known to get out of their vehicles and physically confront another motorist in a fit of fury. Extreme situations may involve weapons and result sadly, in serious injury or death. According to experts who study driving habits, men are three times more likely to exhibit aggressive driving behavior than women, and men between the ages of 19 and 39 are the most aggressive on the roadways, reports NBC News.
“We’ve all heard the old adage, we all say things we don’t mean when we’re angry. Well, when you’re behind the wheel, you do things you wouldn’t otherwise do when you’re angry,” said Jake Nelson, director of traffic safety advocacy and research with AAA.
One extreme example of aggressive driving was caught on-camera outside of Tulsa, Oklahoma. The driver of a pickup truck became so frustrated that he couldn’t pass that he rammed the car in front of him and sent it careening off the road into a guardrail.
“It was terrifying. I don’t remember what I was thinking, but it was just scary,” the 18-year-old driver who was hit, told NBC affiliate KJRJ. He was shaken, but aside from the minor injuries of his 17-year-old passenger, unhurt. The police tracked down the alleged driver of the pickup truck. The 45-year-old faced felony charges of assault with a deadly weapon and leaving the scene of an injury accident.
A traffic altercation in Austin, Texas turned into a road rage duel with baseball bats. Near San Bernardino, an all-out brawl broke out at a stop light. Virginia state police troopers say they observe this type of behavior every day.
‘It might turn into a verbal altercation, which might turn into a physical altercation, and now you have maybe two parties fighting on the side of the interstate,” said state trooper Anthony Johnson.
Drivers in the congested northeast are more likely to yell, honk or gesture than drivers in other parts of the United States, reports NBC News.
What to Do If Witnessing Aggressive Driving
“Be tolerant, don’t engage, focus on getting to your destination safely,” Nelson said. And if you come across an overly aggressive driver, take precautions. Police say if someone tries to run you off the road, tailgates, or follows you, don’t go home. Instead, call 911 and drive to a nearby police, fire station, or a public place like a shopping mall for help.
“Don’t contact them if they are giving you obscene gestures,” Johnson said. “Don’t even look at them and if they are following you, get off.”
Legal Advice and Information for Car Accident Victims
If you or someone you know has been injured in a car accident, you may have valuable legal rights. The personal injury attorneys at Parker Waichman offer free, no-obligation case evaluations. We urge you to contact us at 1-800-YOURLAWYER (1-800-968-7529).