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Aggressive Driving vs. Road Rage

Aggressive driving can lead to very dangerous conditions for the aggressor and others drivers.In a study done by AAA, it was estimated that nearly eight out of 10 drivers demonstrate aggressive driving behaviors when driving. Now the term aggressive driving is broad, but this encompasses speeding, tailgating, running red lights, to escalated confrontations when driving.According to the NHTSA, aggressive driving is when “an individual commits a combination of moving traffic offenses so as to endanger other persons or property.” Road rage takes things one step further into more violent and potentially dangerous territory.I remember a time when I was young. My family was stopped at a red light. Just ahead of us, a very large man got out of his car, screaming at the top of his lungs, he approached another vehicle and proceeded to yell and bang on the car of another family. I was so scared and shocked that someone could become so enraged that they were willing to incite a fight.

Bankrate conducted a survey and found these keys insights:

  • The most common types of road rage are tailgating, yelling or honking at another vehicle, and are a factor in more than half of all fatal crashes.
  • Road rage incidents caused 218 murders and 12,610 injuries over a seven-year period.
  • Road rage and aggressive driving are caused by numerous factors, including traffic, running late, disregard for others and the law and as a learned behavior.
  • Running late is one of the leading reasons given for aggressive driving, and the most frequently-cited excuse for following too quickly and passing on the right.
  • The NHTSA lists speeding and alcohol as the leading causes of driving fatalities due to aggressive driving. Other contributing behaviors include following improperly, erratic lane changing, passing where prohibited and several other dangerous behaviors.
  • Speeding — a form of aggressive driving — is responsible for 11,258 deaths on the roadways in 2020.
  • Over 52% of men and 44% of women surveyed by AAA admitted to driving 15 mph over the freeway speed limit on a regular basis.
  • 2021 was the deadliest year for road rage with an average of 44 people per month shot and killed or wounded during a road rage shooting.
  • Road rage deaths due to gun violence have doubled compared to pre-pandemic levels.

What can you do to avoid aggressive driving practices and potential road rage situations?

  • Plan ahead – give yourself enough time to drive safely to your appointments. Even if you hit traffic or are running late, it’s better to be a few minutes late than cause an accident.
  • Give space – allow other drivers room to operate safely. Move over to allow merging traffic to enter the roadway. Use safe following practices to avoid tailgating and to give yourself time to react and brake when necessary
  • Use positive hand gestures – a wave to a driver letting you into the lane is better than other aggressive and rude gestures.
  • Lay off the horn – using your horn to signal your frustration just adds stress to a tense situation.
  • Don’t stop to confront another driver – stopping and confronting can lead to escalated and potentially violent interactions.

If you’ve been involved in an accident involving aggressive driving or road rage, call the attorneys at McMullin Injury Law. We can help you walk through your case and get you the help you need.