At some point, we have all encountered an aggressive driver. In most cases, it's a very unpleasant experience. Sometimes, it can be dangerous and lead to a serious crash.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) defines aggressive driving as "The operation of a motor vehicle in a manner that endangers or is likely to endanger persons or property."
Aggressive driving can go beyond a honk of the horn, a rude gesture, or a rude remark. It can start out as a minor incident, but it can quickly escalate to something more serious. This often includes:
- Tailgating or chasing other drivers
- Weaving through traffic and cutting off other drivers
- Dangerous speeding
- Failing to yield-the-right of way
- Purposely trying to run another driver off the road
- Purposely ramming another driver
- Throwing objects out of a window at another driver
- Getting out of a car to confront another driver
- Engaging in violence
What causes aggressive driving?
The NHTSA identified the primary reasons why drivers engage in aggressive driving. These include:
- Encountering traffic delays: Drivers with low tolerance for inconvenience may drive in a manner that is dangerous and illegal. This can also frustrate other drivers and lead to road rage incidents.
- Anonymity of being inside of a car: Just like the internet, being inside of a car provides some anonymity. Many people will give others rude gestures or comments or behave in a way that is disrespectful to other drivers. Yet, they would never behave this way outside of their cars.
- Disregard for other road users or the law: Most people pay attention to the safety of others and obey the law, even when they become frustrated on the road. There is a small percentage of drivers who have no regard for the law and don't care if they hurt anyone.
- Habitual or clinical behavior: Another small percentage of drivers habitually engage in aggressive driving because they simply don't care about the consequences or they have become too comfortable doing it. Some mental health issues that can lead to irrational and dangerous behavior can also be a factor.
- Dealing with stress or running late: Drivers who don't allow themselves enough time for punctuality may become stressed. This can lead to speeding, weaving through traffic and even not stopping at red lights and stop signs.
Safe ways to deal with aggressive drivers
When you encounter an aggressive driver, the best method for dealing with them is prevention and de-escalation. To safely deal with aggressive drivers, it's a good idea to take these tips provided by Progressive Insurance into consideration:
Protect yourself at intersections: If you encounter a road rager, you can keep yourself safe by keeping your windows closed and doors locked when stopped at an intersection. It's also a good idea to allow yourself enough room to pull out of your lane if you're confronted by another driver. If you're being followed or you believe that your life is in danger, call 911 or go to the nearest police station.
Don't take aggressive driving personally: If you don't know the driver who is behaving aggressively towards you, then it's most likely not personal. The other driver could be stressed out or having a bad day. Simply be polite and courteous and don't escalate the situation. If you're being tailgated, simply pull over and allow the other driver to pass.
Avoid stressful situations: Stress can lead to dangerous driving habits and potentially aggressive driving. To prevent this from happening, it's best that drivers allow themselves enough time to get to their destinations. Drivers should also consider employing methods for reducing stress during inconveniences.
Report aggressive drivers: If you see another driver behaving erratically or engaging in road rage, it's best to keep your distance and report the incident to law enforcement. Be sure to provide a description of the car, the license plate, the location of the incident and a description of the incident.
Contact an Ohio car accident attorney if you were injured by an aggressive driver
If you were injured in crash caused by an aggressive driver, it's important that you speak to an experienced Ohio car accident attorney as soon as possible. You may be able to pursue a legal claim against the at-fault driver and his or her insurance company.
The legal team at Gervelis Law Firm will fight to hold reckless drivers accountable and help you get the compensation you're entitled to. We have law offices across Ohio, as well as in Hermitage, Pennsylvania. Contact us online to find out how we can help you.