Most of us recognize aggressive drivers when we see them. After all, it is hard to miss all of the honking, erratic movements, rude gestures, and flashing lights. Unfortunately, these dangerous drivers cause serious accidents and injuries, simply because they cannot control their tempers. In fact, a 2009 study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found that 56% of traffic fatalities involved aggressive driving behavior.
What Is Aggressive Driving?
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has a specific way of defining aggressive driving: it occurs when “an individual commits a combination of moving traffic offenses so as to endanger other persons or property.” So not only does an aggressive driver create more risk for other drivers on the road, he is doing it intentionally.
How to Avoid an Aggressive Driver
As a safe and responsible motorist, it’s important that you know what to look for when trying to avoid an aggressive driving accident. Here are a few ways you can keep yourself and your family safe from an aggressive driver:
- Steer clear. If you encounter a person driving aggressively, your first move should be to distance yourself from that vehicle. That way, if the aggressive driver does cause an accident, you’re better able to avoid becoming involved.
- Say I’m Sorry. Everybody makes mistakes on the road, and we all have to own up to them. If you make a small mistake, like passing too closely in front of another car, try waving your hand at the driver as a way to say I’m sorry. Sometimes, a small gesture can help to avoid a big problem.
- Stay calm. When a driver honks at you, your first instinct might be to honk back. However, when you encounter an aggressive driver, it’s important to limit using your horn and just drive calmly and carefully to avoid exacerbating his irritation.
- Avoid eye contact. When an aggressive driver tries to target you, he might drive next to your car, trying to provoke you with words or gestures, and get you to engage with him. In this case, it’s important that you keep him in your sight, but avoid making eye contact—it can come off as a challenge and cause the aggressive behavior to escalate.
Whether they are feeling angry because of traffic congestion, a bad mood, or a perceived slight by another driver, aggressive drivers are dangerous drivers. If you have been injured in an accident that wasn’t your fault, you don’t need to go it alone. Contact our skilled legal team today—by phone or using our quick and easy contact form—to learn more about your options for recovery.