Car accidents are a persistent problem on America’s roads because thousands of them occur each year. Some of them are relatively harmless where everyone involved walks away unscathed and there is relatively little damage. However, there are also more serious accidents where the people involved are heavily injured and the vehicles are so badly damaged that they are essentially insurance write-offs. The reasons why car accidents occur are myriad; from bad weather or road conditions to irresponsible behaviour like driving while intoxicated or fatigued.
One of the most common causes of car accidents is aggressive driving. Aggressive driving covers a wide range of behaviours, all of which have the potential to cause a serious accident. While that is bad news for everyone who shares the road with the aggressive driver, it does mean that they have a good chance of getting compensation if that driver causes an accident. That is because the aggressive driver will be held responsible for the accident, which means the accident victim can file a personal injury claim— or even a lawsuit— against the driver. However, they will need an attorney to help them do so, which is why they should contact one as soon as possible after the accident.
What is Aggressive Driving?
Aggressive driving is when a driver deliberately operates their vehicle in a reckless and unsafe manner that shows a blatant disregard for safety. This does not mean that the aggressive driver intends to cause an accident, rather that they are aware of the possible dangerous consequences of their behaviour but simply do not care. Aggressive driving is a form of negligent driving behaviour; while it might be different from drunk driving or similarly irresponsible behaviours, it also involves a lack of care and consideration for the safety of others.
Example of Aggressive Driving
Aggressive driving encompasses a wide range of different behaviours, the following are some of the most common:
- Speeding while in heavy traffic
- Following the driver ahead too closely, aka tailgating
- Weaving in and out of traffic
- Cutting off other drivers
- Blocking other drivers from changing lanes
- Deliberately hitting the brakes to surprise a following driver, aka brake checking
- Unnecessarily using high beams at night to disorient drivers ahead
Frequency of Aggressive Driving Behaviour
According to the AAA Foundation forTraffic Safety Americans display the following types of aggressive driving behaviour most often:
- Aggressively Tailgating – 51% (104 million drivers)
- Yelling at Other Drivers – 47% (95 million drivers)
- Honking at Other Drivers to Show Anger or Irritation – 45% (91 million drivers)
- Making Angry or Obscene Gestures to Other Drivers – 33% (67 million drivers)
- Attempting to Block Other Drivers From Changing Lanes – 24% (49 million drivers)
- Purposefully Cutting Off Other Vehicles – 12% (24 million drivers)
- Getting Out of Their Vehicle to Confront Another Driver – 4% (8 million drivers)
- Bumping Into Other Drivers – 3% (6 million drivers)
How To Deal With Aggressive Drivers
There is nothing that anyone can do to prevent drivers from behaving aggressively but there is a lot that can be done to prevent the situation from escalating. It is best not to respond in kind— or even respond at all— to the aggressive behaviour of other drivers. That means avoiding eye contact and not responding to aggression with more aggression since that just makes the situation more volatile. If a driver feels that they are in danger, then they should drive to a public place, preferably one where law enforcement is present. They should contact the police if they believe the situation is getting too dangerous.
Another way to deal with aggressive drivers is to simply drive safely and follow the rules of the road. Aggressive drivers will still behave aggressively, but at least they will be held responsible for any accidents that occur. That means anyone injured in an accident caused by an aggressive driver is eligible to get compensated for any expenses caused by the accident.
Keep Safe By Driving Safe
While there is little anyone can do to curb the aggressive behaviour of other drivers, there is a lot that they can do to drive safely. That can lessen the number of aggressive drivers on the road and by not engaging with aggressive drivers, it can keep the situation from escalating to a dangerous degree. If you have been in an accident that was caused by an aggressive driver, then you should contact an attorney to get help filing a personal injury claim so that you can get the compensation you need.