According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 66 percent of fatal car accidents are caused by aggressive driving. It goes without saying that driving under the influence or using a cell phone while driving are dangerous behaviors. But surprising new research shows that drivers who are more prone to aggression behind the wheel are at risk.
The Canadian Center for Addiction and Mental Health conducted a study of more than 12,000 adults and found that highly aggressive drivers are just as likely to experience a major collision as drivers under the influence of marijuana. You may think aggressive driving means tailgating or stepping out of your vehicle to confront another driver. But even relatively minor offenses, such as giving an obscene hand gesture or cursing at another driver, increase the risk of a car accident.
The Canadian study showed a definitive correlation with drivers who consider themselves aggressive and drivers who have had car accidents. The results seem to show that anger and frustration may impair driving as much as other distractions like eating, looking at a cell phone, or driving under the influence.
Aggressive Driving Can Be Considered a Criminal Offense
When aggressive driving escalates into moving traffic offenses that endanger other people or property, it becomes what NHTSA considers “Road Rage.” Acts of road rage are no longer traffic offenses, but are now considered criminal offenses.
So what constitutes aggressive behavior? Do you flash your headlights if you feel that the driver in front of you is moving too slowly? Do you make rude or obscene gestures at other drivers? Do you honk your horn more often than you would like to admit? These are all aggressive driving behaviors. Without addressing them, your anger can increase and turn into road rage.
Everyone becomes frustrated behind the wheel at some point. But considering the link between aggressive driving and car accidents, we all need to find healthy ways of channeling our stress while driving. If you feel the urge to lash out at another driver, collect yourself and try not to react or retaliate if they lash out at you. Avoid eye contact with angry drivers. You do not know what the other driver is capable of, so think twice before cursing or honking at them. The roadway is no place to try to teach another driver a lesson. Getting home safely should be your only concern.
Chester County Car Accident Lawyers at McCann Dillon Jaffe & Lamb, LLC Assist Car Accident Victims
Any car accident, regardless of how serious, can be traumatic. Seeking the guidance of our Chester County car accident lawyers at McCann Dillon Jaffe & Lamb, LLC will help you avoid mistakes that may affect your outcome, especially when dealing with insurance adjusters. Call our Philadelphia offices at 215-569-8488 or complete our online contact form to begin. We have five offices conveniently located throughout New Jersey, Delaware, and Pennsylvania.