Aggressive driving is a major cause of car accidents in the United States. Click her to learn your risks and how to avoid serious road rage injuries.

Avoid an Aggressive Driving Accident With These Common-Sense Tips

Whether you're accustomed to witnessing it during rush hour, seeing news reports about it on television, or guilty of performing it yourself, every driver has experienced what is known as aggressive driving, often a result of road rage.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration defines aggressive driving as behavior where "an individual commits a combination of moving traffic offenses that [deliberately] endanger other persons or property.” In other words, an aggressive driver blatantly ignores road safety and traffic regulations. This behavior not only puts other motorists at risk but also increases frustration among other drivers, causing them to drive more aggressively as well.

Causes of Aggressive Driving

According to the American Automobile Association (AAA), road rage and associated aggressive driving, accounts for at least 56% of all fatal car accidents. This dangerously poor driving behavior is usually influenced by three main factors: psychological stress, physical discomfort, and environmental aggravation. Below are a few examples of how these factors can cause drivers to be reckless:

  • Psychological stress. Stress can easily increase irritability and aggression while decreasing focus and reasoning by promoting the fight or flight response. When a driver is stressed, that anxiety may cause him to act irresponsibly in an attempt to relieve his discomfort. He may speed to get home faster or to get away from stressful traffic. Furthermore, stress can overpower logic and cause a driver to ignore traffic laws and safety.
  • Physical discomfort. Being physically uncomfortable can make even the calmest driver lose his cool, especially in the summer months. Dehydration, increased blood pressure, and decreased blood sugar can all influence a driver's behavior. In some cases, this influence can be dangerous and cause him to drive erratically, uncontrollably, and without concern for others’ safety.
  • Environmental aggravation. Road rage and aggressive driving often occur during heavy periods of traffic. The more motorists there are on the road, the more potential stress there is for drivers. In addition to backups, construction delays, and increased distractions, drivers must also contend with other potentially aggressive drivers. When you've been sitting in traffic for long stretches of time, witnessing another motorist disregarding traffic laws to get ahead of you can be extremely difficult to ignore. As a result, his poor decision to drive aggressively can influence your own behavior.

Signs of Aggressive Driving

You can generally tell when a driver has succumbed to road rage or has decided to make the choice to drive aggressively by his complete lack of concern for safety. However, a few signs of aggressive behavior to be aware of include the following:

  • Speeding
  • Swerving
  • Erratic braking
  • Abusing turn lanes
  • Disregarding traffic signs or lights
  • Using the shoulder as a personal lane
  • Following too closely
  • Revving the engine
  • Squealing tires
  • Freqent passing

The Golden Rules of Safe Driving

Driving can be aggravating enough without having the added frustration and risk of aggressive drivers. Unfortunately, this doesn’t mean that you’ll be spared from dealing with them. You can, however, take precautionary steps to avoid colliding with them as well as avoid the temptation to become one of them. The three things you can do to protect yourself are simple:

  1. Follow the rules. When you know your lane is going to end, change lanes as soon as possible; do NOT wait until the last possible second to force your way over. Don’t tailgate or cut others off. Treat surrounding drivers the way you want them to treat you.
  2. Remain calm. Giving into frustration is not only childish, but it’s also dangerously pointless. If you and the people around you could learn to keep calm and realize that you’re not the only ones on the road who wish they weren’t, many car collision injuries and deaths could be avoided.
  3. Lead by example. Not all drivers are perfect. In fact, many are alarmingly oblivious to their surroundings, but you shouldn’t be. If someone needs to change lanes, don’t fight him, just let him. If someone is trying to enter traffic, slow down and let him in. Your gesture may help prevent him from making a selfish mistake later and encourage the drivers behind you to be more considerate as well. 

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Need more information about aggressive driving prevention, injury claims, or driving rights? Contact us today for a free review of your case. We’ll be happy to help answer your questions and provide the options you need to pursue a successful injury claim.