Aggressive Drivers Endanger You and Your Family
The National Highway Transportation 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.” The agency relates that aggressive driving behavior typically occurs when a driver “commits a combination of moving offenses.”
Aggressive driving must be distinguished from road rage. Aggressive driving constitutes one or more traffic offenses, while road rage consists of one or more criminal offenses.
Everybody is in a Hurry
The NHTSA reports that in the last 15 years, aggressive driving has increased. It seems as if everybody on the roadway is in a hurry, and when they’re in a hurry, they tend to drive at excessive speeds. If you couple excessive speeds with one or more of the following behaviors, you see some examples of aggressive driving:
- Following another vehicle too closely.
- Disobeying stop signs or red lights.
- Failing to signal when quickly changing lanes.
- Weaving through traffic to get ahead of slower vehicles.
- Passing another vehicle, cutting in front of a vehicle, and abruptly braking.
- Passing a vehicle in a no-passing zone.
- Failure to yield the right-of-way when entering a roadway from a private drive, alley, or street.
- Driving too fast for traffic or weather conditions.
Aggressive Driving Causes Accidents, Severe Injuries, and Deaths
Aggressive behavior patterns behind the wheel drastically increase the risk of accidents, injuries, or deaths. The NHTSA cites speeding as the cause of more than 30% of all traffic fatalities. Speeding operates to reduce the stopping time that a driver has to slow down or come to a stop to avoid an accident.
It also increases the magnitude of an impact if an accident happens. That increases the likelihood of severe injuries or death.
Aggressive Driving is Negligent Driving
Every driver of a vehicle on a roadway has a duty to use due care and caution for the safety of the person and property of others who are on or near that roadway. A breach of that duty that causes property damage, personal injury, or death constitutes negligence. An aggressive driver who is deemed to be negligent can be held liable for a victim’s damages, or in the event of a wrongful death, an estate’s or surviving family’s damages.
Avoiding Aggressive Drivers
Police, prosecutors, and judges are particularly concerned about aggressive drivers. Other drivers need to be concerned about them too. If you encounter an aggressive driver on the roadway, here’s how you can best try to avoid him or her:
- Get out of their way and allow the driver a clear path through.
- Stay calm. Reaching your destination safely is far more important than reacting personally to the aggressive driver.
- Remember that the aggressive driver’s behavior probably isn’t directed at anybody in particular.
- Call 911 if the driver is reckless or appears to be under the influence of alcohol, drugs or both.
If you were injured in an accident with an aggressive driver, or you lost a family member as a result of the behavior of such a driver, don’t try to represent yourself for even a minute. The opposing insurer will only try to shift some or all of the blame over onto you, and you’ll likely devalue your case through your own mistakes.
Nearly all car accident lawyers offer free consultations and case reviews to potential clients. Contact a respected and dedicated car accident lawyer for that purpose and if you’re comfortable with him or her, retain that attorney to represent you. You can go about healing and putting your life back together while your attorney works toward bringing a strong case on your behalf.