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According to a recent study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, 80 percent of motorists experience significant anger and aggression while driving. The study also found that younger drivers aged 19 to 39, as well as male drivers, were more likely than others to practice aggressive driving behaviors, including speeding and weaving through traffic.
Any form of intentionally unsafe driving behavior that puts the driver’s safety and that of others at risk qualifies as aggressive driving. Tailgating, cutting someone off, speeding in heavy traffic, and blocking other cars trying to pass are examples of aggressive driving.
Other aggressive behaviors include running red lights, weaving in and out of traffic, changing lanes without signaling, and flashing headlights or brake lights to “punish” other drivers.
A spokesman for AAA Mid-Atlantic suggests there can be many reasons why drivers exhibit aggressive behavior. Frustration can build up because of traffic jams, having to stop for too many red lights, or dealing with the driving skills of others on the road.
An increase in distracted driving can also promote aggression in drivers who can see that another driver is too busy looking at their phone to notice the light has changed to green. Distracted drivers may also have trouble staying in their lane as they try to use their phones or navigation systems, aggravating the people around them and increasing the risk of wrecks.
When an aggressive driver’s frustration escalates to high levels, they may exhibit extreme behavior known as road rage. Road rage incidents are very dangerous and can result in serious injuries or even death. Research done by AAA for the years 2003-2007 revealed that over half of the fatal crashes in that time period involved at least one driver engaging in a potentially aggressive action.
Examples of road rage include:
The best way to prevent aggressive driving and road rage incidents is to practice safe driving behaviors and remember not to respond personally to the inconsiderate or unsafe driving behaviors of others. Everyone at some point will be rushed, distracted, or upset while driving, so it is important to remain calm and courteous when other drivers are not at their best.
Safe and courteous driving practices include using turn signals, allowing others to merge, leaving adequate space between your car and the car in front of you, being considerate when parking, and using high beams responsibly.
If you are confronted with an aggressive, angry driver, stay calm and courteous, avoid eye contact, and do not respond with aggression. If you feel threatened, drive to a police station, fire station, hospital, or other public space. Remain in your locked vehicle while drawing attention to yourself with the horn. Call 911 if the situation becomes an emergency.
If you have been injured or lost a loved one in a car accident caused by aggressive driving, contact a dedicated Wilmington car accident lawyer at Rhoades & Morrow who can advise you about your legal options for compensation. Whether you are seeking to recover for serious injuries or wrongful death, our team has the experience to ensure the best possible outcome for your case. Call 302-427-9500 or contact us online to schedule a free initial consultation in our Wilmington, Bear, or Milford, Delaware offices. We represent accident victims upstate and downstate Delaware.