We are all susceptible to feelings of frustration and impatience when on the road, and that can affect our driving. After all, we are busy people with jobs, kids, errands, family and pets. It’s tempting to believe that if we can just get to our destination a few minutes earlier, we’d be happier.
However, we shouldn’t let the urge turn into a habit. Road rage kills. And the fact is, that acting on road rage can be a criminal offense, while “aggressive driving” is considered a traffic offense.
What qualifies as aggressive driving?
Aggressive driving involves behavior such as:
- Improper or excessive lane changing
We’ve all seen it. And often the driver who darts in and out of lanes in order to maintain a high speed often ends up at the same red light as the patient, careful driver! When drivers make lane changes abruptly or without signaling, that is also considered aggressive driving. Aggressive drivers also pass without signaling or use the shoulder or emergency lane to get ahead. The NHTSA believes that, “The ‘aggressive driver’ fails to consider the human element involved. The anonymity of being behind the wheel gives aggressive drivers a false sense of control and power; therefore, they seldom take into account the consequences of their actions.”
How to avoid becoming an aggressive driver
When aggressive driving, including the use of rude gestures or yelling, escalates to a driver intentionally running someone else off the road, or getting out of a vehicle and assaulting another driver – these road rage accidents can become deadly. Here are some suggestions for avoiding the trap of becoming an aggressive driver:
- Leave plenty of time to get where you are going. If you are running late, you are more likely to be stressed and may fall into patterns of driving aggressively.
- Check for possible traffic delays and choose an alternative route. We all get frustrated with unexpected delays (especially if we are running late), and you may be able to avoid this by checking the news or the internet for traffic alerts.
- Follow the law. Don’t speed. Don’t tailgate. Signal intended turns and lane changes.
- Don’t use your car as a weapon.
- Don’t drive to “defend” your car as if it were your best friend. It’s not about the car. It’s often not even about you or your driver. The person that just passed you did not disrespect you or your car. Rather, they disrespected the laws of the road.
Don’t let the aggressive drivers out there prevent you from getting where you want to go safely. Both you and the other driver are piloting several thousand pound missiles down the highway at a fast rate of speed. That is not the time to act out on your frustration or anger.
Speeding won’t get you there much quicker – here’s the math:
By the way, did you know that speeding doesn’t really get you to your destination much faster? For instance, if you are taking a 30 mile trip on the highway and travel 70 miles an hour instead of 65, you’ll get to your destination less than two minutes sooner. At 75 instead of 65? Three minutes sooner. So if you’re driving only 10 miles away and you go 75 instead of 65 miles an hour? You save just one minute. Assuming you don’t get a ticket or cause an accident in the meantime. So slow down, take a deep breath and drive safely.
If you have been injured in an auto accident through no fault of your own, you may be entitled to compensation. Call the road rage victim attorneys at Allen & Allen today for a free consultation, at 866-388-1307.