Aggressive Driving Prevention

Author: Edward L. Allen, Fredericksburg Personal Injury Lawyer

Aggressive driving is a growing issue on our nation's roads and highways. A lot of car crashes  are caused by drivers who display aggressive, unsafe driving behavior. Who are these aggressive drivers? They are people who commit a combination of moving traffic offenses that can endanger the safety of other drivers on the road. Most people do not intend to be aggressive, but rather become impatient or angry, and then act out while behind the wheel.

Are you an aggressive driver? Most people would immediately answer "no" to that question. Take this quick quiz and find out how you score:

  1. Do you exceed the speed limit?
  2. Do you speed through yellow lights and run red lights?
  3. Do you drive too closely to the vehicle in front of you?
  4. Do you get impatient, frustrated, and angry with other motorists?
  5. Do you change lanes frequently?
  6. Do you forget to stop and yield before entering a roadway?

If you answered yes to any one of the above questions, then you could be considered an aggressive driver.  If you engage in these behaviors regularly, you are definitely an aggressive driver.  Whether you realize it or not, this driving behavior puts both you and other drivers on the road at a much higher risk of being involved in a car crash.  Many states, including the state of Virginia, have passed laws defining what constitutes aggressive driving and making it a specific traffic offense with penalties and fines for those individuals found guilty of engaging in aggressive driving activity.[1]

You can prevent aggressive driving behavior by making a few small changes in how you drive. Always drive the speed limit; no exceptions. Make sure you allow plenty of time to get to your destination so you won't feel rushed on the road. If congested traffic makes you anxious, try to avoid driving in heavy rush hour traffic, or try looking for an alternate route or changing the time you drive through that area. Concentrate on good driving behavior and relax. Don't allow yourself to become angry with other drivers. Listen to calming music and remember that you can not control the traffic.  Keep in mind that speeding and other aggressive driving behaviors are likely to get you to your destination only a few minutes earlier - assuming they don't cause an accident! [2]

If you focus on safety and make positive changes in your driving behavior, you can help reduce the number of car wrecks on our roads and highways.   You'll probably arrive at your destination in a much better frame of mind also. You can help improve the safety of our roads and highways, and improve the quality of your life.

About the Author: Fredericksburg personal injury lawyer Edward Allenis an accomplished trial attorney who has tried and won an impressive variety of personal injury cases in state and federal courts including car accidents and truck accidents, premises liability and traumatic brain injury. He currently serves as the President of the Virginia Trial Lawyers Association and is listed in Virginia Super Lawyers.

[1] Here is the Virginia statute, which you can find at http://leg1.state.va.us/cgi-bin/legp504.exe?000+cod+46.2-868.1: ? § 46.2-868.1. Aggressive driving; penalties. ? A. A person is guilty of aggressive driving if (i) the person violates one or more of the following: § 46.2-802 (Drive on right side of highways), § 46.2-804 (Failure to observe lanes marked for traffic), § 46.2-816 (Following too closely), § 46.2-821 (Vehicles before entering certain highways shall stop or yield right-of-way), § 46.2-833.1 (Evasion of traffic control devices), § 46.2-838 (Passing when overtaking a vehicle), § 46.2-841 (When overtaking vehicle may pass on right), § 46.2-842 (Driver to give way to overtaking vehicle), § 46.2-842.1 (Driver to give way to certain overtaking vehicles on divided highway), § 46.2-843 (Limitations on overtaking and passing), any provision of Article 8 (§ 46.2-870 et seq.) of Chapter 8 of Title 46.2 (Speed), or § 46.2-888 (Stopping on highways); and (ii) that person is a hazard to another person or commits an offense in clause (i) with the intent to harass, intimidate, injure or obstruct another person. ? B. Aggressive driving shall be punished as a Class 2 misdemeanor. However, aggressive driving with the intent to injure another person shall be punished as a Class 1 misdemeanor. In addition to the penalties described in this subsection, the court may require successful completion of an aggressive driving program.
[2] Many drivers have GPS devices, such as Garmin, Tom Tom or Magellan, in their cars.  These devices will allow you to see that speeding and other behaviors actually don't save much time, and that the minor time savings are certainly not worth the increase danger on the road, not to mention the added stress of letting yourself get so anxious or upset or angry while driving.
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