Aggressive driving can easily lead to reckless driving and serious car accidents. According to recent studies, aggressive drivers cause more than twice as many fatalities as drunk drivers, and they are a main cause of collisions. It is clear that aggressive driving is a main cause of motor vehicles accidents, but what are the reasons why people act this way?
According to data collected by the Traffic Safety Culture Index, most drivers feel that it is not acceptable to run through a red light if there is enough time to stop safely; however, 37 percent of the study’s participants have previously driven through a red light within the last month. Aggressive driving is dangerous, but people can easily fall into this bad habit. Hurrying to get to work after oversleeping or tailgating a sleepy driver can seem innocuous until it is too late.
It is a problem when drivers do not perceive that they are driving aggressively. For example, a parent who is arguing with a child while driving could easily lose focus and rear-end another car. Instead of engaging, the parent could take a deep breath, safely pull over into a parking lot, and wait until they are calmer. It takes a moment or two to relax, but the aggressive feeling will go away.
According to the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA), young male drivers have a higher percentage of being involved in aggressive driving incidents, including distracted driving and drunk driving. They are also overrepresented in speed-related accidents. It is theorized that this group has more risk-taking tendencies than other ages and genders and is also a harder audience to reach when it comes to promoting safe driving.
How can I Tell if I am an Aggressive Driver?
An average person who drives over the speed limit may not think that they are an aggressive driver, but the law may see this differently. If a driver is distracted by their cellphone and is not paying attention to how fast they are going, a police officer may give them a ticket. The offense can be categorized as aggressive driving, even if the driver did not intentionally push too hard on the gas pedal.
Someone who regularly spends time checking their makeup or eating food when behind the wheel may not be aware that these actions threaten other drivers. If the person is not paying attention, runs a red light, and crashes into another car, it can be viewed as aggressive. Distracted drivers do not necessarily intend to cause crashes. Reckless driving includes driving behaviors that create unjustifiable risks to others.
How to Spot an Aggressive Driver
Aggressive drivers behave erratically. Speeding is an aggressive behavior, and it is not unusual to see cars speeding down the highway. Other motorists speed up when a light is turning red, tailgate other vehicles, and do not check for other cars before changing lanes or merging. Some can be seen doing all of this within a matter of minutes or seconds. Additional signs of aggressive driving include weaving in and out of lanes and cutting off other cars. These drivers can also target others on the road by yelling at them, flashing their headlights, honking their horns repeatedly, and making rude gestures.
What is Road Rage?
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), aggressive driving can lead to road rage, which is more serious and threatening to others. An enraged driver who threatens or commits violent acts could face criminal charges, while aggressive driving is a traffic offense. Someone who exhibits road rage might purposely run another car off the road or pull out a weapon with the intent to harm another person. The National Safety Council (NSC) defines road rage as a physical attack that was triggered by a traffic incident. Road rage is taking aggressive driving to the extreme. Most drivers have felt angry while driving at some point, but aggressive driving is more dangerous.
Some people may be more susceptible to becoming aggressive drivers. It may depend on their personality traits, and some studies have shown that people with competitive or antisocial personalities are more likely to drive in this manner. There are certain situations, like heavy traffic, bad weather, and other aggressive drivers, that could cause people to act out. No matter the cause, aggressive driving and road rage are hazardous to drivers, passengers, pedestrians, and cyclists.
What if I Encounter an Aggressive Driver?
It can be difficult to not get angry or upset when someone else is driving aggressively, and it can also be extremely frightening. However, staying calm is the safest option. Instead of speeding up to challenge the aggressive driver, it is best to stay away. Increasing speed, significantly slowing down on purpose, cutting the driver off, or slamming on one’s brakes can all escalate an already volatile situation.
An angry driver could also exit their vehicle and approach another motorist, ready to start a fight. If this happens, it is best to remain in the car with the doors locked, and 911 should be called immediately. Making eye contact with the person is a bad idea; it is better to get their license plate number and vehicle description.
How can Aggressive Driving be Reduced?
There are many traffic laws in place to discourage aggressive driving, and law breakers can face significant fines, as well as jail time. Many of these drivers get away without getting caught, since there may not be enough law enforcement officers to see every offender. This is why there are automated technologies that can help address this issue.
The GHSA conducted an intensive study on aggressive driving and speeding, and one of the topics they looked at was speed enforcement. Equipment, like laser speed and radar detection devices, have been used for a long time, but many vehicles have radar detectors, which are legal in most states.
Red light-running cameras are other tools, but they are not used in many locations; it depends on the state and locality, and drivers who are caught may be issued tickets. A ticket does not go on a permanent driving record, though.
Some jurisdictions employ the use of speed cameras, or photo radar. These devices can record a car’s speed and take photographs if the vehicle is exceeding a certain limit. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that speed cameras can significantly reduce the number of crashes, but the cameras are not widely used. Like other automated speed reduction technologies, photo radar can be expensive to build and maintain. If one is involved in an aggressive driving accident, they should contact a lawyer right away.
Philadelphia Car Accident Lawyers at McCann Dillon Jaffe & Lamb, LLC Provide Legal Guidance to Aggressive Driving Accident Victims
If you were hit by an aggressive driver, one of our dedicated Philadelphia car accident lawyers at McCann Dillon Jaffe & Lamb, LLC can help you. Our legal team is ready to provide the help you need. For a free consultation, call us at 215-569-8488 or complete our online form. Located in Philadelphia, Abington, and Media, Pennsylvania; Wilmington, Delaware; and Haddonfield, New Jersey, we serve clients throughout the surrounding areas.