Aggressive driving is defined as a progression of unlawful driving actions such as:
- Speeding - exceeding the posted limit or driving too fast for conditions; improper or excessive lane changing: failing to signal intent, failing to see that movement can be made safely, or
- Improper passing - failing to signal intent, using an emergency lane to pass, or passing on the shoulder.
More on aggressive driving:
- The "aggressive driver" fails to consider the human element involved. The anonymity of being behind the wheel gives aggressive drivers a false sense of control and power; therefore, they seldom take into account the consequences of their actions.
- Aggressive Driving vs. Road Rage. There is a difference. Aggressive driving is a traffic offense; road rage is a criminal offense.
- Road rage is defined as "an assault with a motor vehicle or other dangerous weapon by the operator or passenger(s) of another motor vehicle or an assault precipitated by an incident that occurred on a roadway."
- Road rage requires willful and wanton disregard for the safety of others.
- A national survey sponsored by NHTSA of 6,000 drivers over the age of sixteen showed that the public supports increased enforcement including photo enforcement, increasing sanctions, increasing intervention by vehicle occupants and increasing public awareness of risks, as ways of reducing these types of unsafe driving practices.
- The posted speed limit is a law that applies to all traffic lanes. Technically speaking, there is no fast lane or slow lane. In at least 21 states, slower traffic is expected to keep right, except for emergency vehicles, which are permitted to exceed the posted speed limit, but only when their lights and sirens are on. In some states, laws specify "keep right except to pass."
- According to NHTSA’s Traffic Safety Facts 1998, approximately 6,335,000 crashes occur in the United States each year. It is unknown exactly how many of those crashes are caused by aggressive driving. Estimates indicate the number to be substantial, based on the violations committed by the drivers of the vehicles involved in the crashes and reported by law enforcement agencies as the contributing factor of the crash.
Things to Avoid
- Expressing Frustration - Taking out your frustrations on your fellow motorists can lead to violence or a crash.
- Fail to Pay Attention when Driving - Reading, eating, drinking or talking on the phone, can be a major cause of roadway crashes.
- Tailgating - This is a major cause of crashes that can result in serious injury or death.
- Making Frequent Lane Changes - If you whip in and out of lanes to advance ahead, you can be a danger to other motorists.
- Running Red Lights - Do not enter an intersection on a yellow light. Remember flashing red lights should be treated as a stop sign.
- Speeding - Going faster than the posted speed limit, being a “road racer” and going too fast for conditions are some examples of speeding.
Things to Do
- Concentrate - Don't allow yourself to become distracted by talking on your cell phone, eating, drinking or putting on makeup.
- Relax - Tune the radio to your favorite relaxing music. Music can calm your nerves and help you to enjoy your time in the car.
- Drive the Posted Speed Limit - Fewer crashes occur when vehicles are traveling at or about the same speed.
- Identify Alternate Routes - Try mapping out an alternate route. Even if it looks longer on paper, you may find it less congested.
- Use Public Transportation - Public transportation can give you some much-needed relief from life behind the wheel.
- Just Be Late - if all else fails, just be late.
What to Do if Confronted by an Aggressive Driver
- Get Out of the Way - First and foremost, make every attempt to get out of their way.
- Put Your Pride Aside - Do not challenge them by speeding up or attempting to hold-your-own in your travel lane.
- Avoid Eye Contact - Eye contact can sometimes enrage an aggressive driver.
- Ignore gestures and refuse to return them.
- Report Serious Aggressive Driving - You or a passenger may call 9-1-1, but if you are using cell phone, pull over to a safe location.