Driving forces you to accept certain obligations. By getting behind the wheel, you are agreeing to follow the rules of the road and drive in a reasonable manner. You must take practical steps to minimize the risk of a collision. While many drivers follow the standard of care, others don’t pay attention, look at or text on their phones, or believe that their time is more important than others. This has led to a rash of aggressive driving accidents that could have been prevented.
What is the connection between aggressive driving and accidents, and what can you do if you’re injured by an aggressive driver? It’s important to understand just how dangerous aggressive driving can be and how to protect yourself.
The Growing Crisis of Car Accidents Caused by Aggressive Driving
Car wrecks have been an issue in the United States for as long as cars have existed, and the problem has only worsened with time. Despite huge financial investments in safety technology, public safety and education efforts, and improved road infrastructure, the numbers simply aren’t trending the right way. One factor that contributes to this growing issue is aggressive driving.
This dangerous behavior poses unnecessary risks to other drivers, pedestrians, and bicyclists alike. Aggressive driving is classified as hostile or reckless behavior that puts people at unnecessary risk of an accident. By understanding the link between aggressive driving and collisions, you can try to keep yourself safe and ensure that you do not engage in unsafe behaviors.
Common Aggressive Driving Behaviors
Aggressive driving includes many dangerous behaviors that cause frustration and stress for other drivers. Common types of aggressive driving include:
While most drivers go a little above the speed limit to stay with the flow of traffic, aggressive drivers take it to the next level. They drive significantly above the speed limit or in excess of what is safe for weather conditions. This forces other drivers to take evasive action to protect themselves.
Being in charge of a multi-ton piece of machinery requires care and caution, and aggressive drivers don’t show signs of either. Reckless driving choices like weaving in and out of traffic, running red lights or stop signs, and cutting other drivers off significantly ramp up the likelihood of a collision.
Intentional aggression or rage:
Some aggressive drivers also show signs of road rage. Making rude gestures at other drivers, honking to show irritation or annoyance, and intentionally agitating other drivers are incredibly risky for everyone involved.
General carelessness can also be considered aggressive driving, as it shows a reckless disregard for others on the road. Careless driving maneuvers include routinely not using turn signals, ignoring the right of way, and not driving in a predictable manner.
What Causes Aggressive Driving?
Researchers have put a lot of effort into understanding the root causes of aggressive driving in the hopes that this knowledge will help decrease aggressive driving. The build-up of stress and frustration in everyday life can lead drivers to take their agitation out on the road, where they can put themselves first at the cost of others. Traffic is a huge trigger for aggressive driving, as drivers may feel that driving aggressively is the only way to take control of an uncontrollable situation.
There’s also the fact that driving offers some anonymity. If you are obnoxious to other drivers, they may be angry at you, but they are unable to ever identify you or hold you accountable. In that sense, driving gives some people the freedom to act out their worst impulses.
How Aggressive Driving Leads to Car Accidents
Aggressive driving is inherently unpredictable, which means other drivers may not be able to take evasive action when necessary. Additionally, reckless drivers may not be able to avoid an accident if they are intentionally swerving in and out of traffic, as this gives them less time and cognitive attention to respond to obstacles. This makes accidents more likely, and the fact that most aggressive drivers speed excessively means that these collisions are more likely to be severe.
This type of driving can also set off a chain reaction. Each aggressive driver leaves a trail of annoyed drivers in their wake, who in turn are more likely to drive in a reckless manner and cause crashes.