Aggressive Driving: All Too Common

We all have places we need to be, and often we bend the rules in order to get there. Maybe your alarm didn’t go off and now you’re late for work, or an accident caused you to be late for picking up your child or construction delayed you on your way to the airport. Without really considering what you are doing, you may be making decisions that could be labeled as driving aggressively. For some reason, humans think that driving faster or less courteously will give us back the time we lost to get where we need to go. However, aggressive driving has the potential to do just the opposite.

According to the Rocky Mountain Insurance Information Association (RMIIA), a vehicle-related injury occurs every 14 seconds in the U.S. The Insurance Information Institute reports that aggressive driving behaviors were involved in almost 52 percent of fatal crashes in 2012. While there’s no accounting for every situation, certain behaviors frequently contribute to crashes. For example, of the 45,337 drivers who were involved in fatal crashes in 2012, 9,320 had reportedly been speeding; 3,431 drivers were swerving; 3,211 did not yield the right of way; 3,119 were distracted; and 1,820 drivers disobeyed traffic signs, signals or officers.

In a survey of speeding attitudes and behaviors by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 91 percent of people polled either strongly agreed or somewhat agreed that “it is unacceptable to exceed speed limits by more than 20 mph.”

However, 26.6 percent of those surveyed said they pass cars more often than they are passed, and 44.8 percent choose to keep up with faster traffic. Speeding often leads to accidents, road rage and traffic tickets – all of which make you even later than you already were.

Common behaviors that have resulted in altercations between drivers include:

  • Blocking traffic
  • Eye contact
  • Gestures
  • Headlight use
  • Horn use
  • Lane blocking
  • Parking
  • Signal use
  • Tailgating

Here a few tips you can follow to help you get to your destination safely:

  • Stay out of the left lane and yield to the right for any vehicle that wants to pass.
  • Keep a safe distance from the vehicle in front of you.
  • Don’t switch lanes without signaling your intentions, and be sure to turn your directional light off after you have switched.
  • Park between the lines, and always look before backing up by turning your head, not just relying on your backup camera.
  • Try to keep everything in perspective. It’s not worth getting overly emotional, making rude gestures, flashing your lights or blaring your vehicle’s horn over something that is actually quite trivial in the grand scheme of things.

It is normal for many of us to resort to aggression when we are confronted by a stressful situation. Ultimately, driving behavior is up to every driver on the road, each responsible for his or her own actions. Recognizing the importance of road safety and how we each affect it can make all the difference in reducing fatalities and injuries caused by aggressive driving.

If you have been involved in an aggressive driving accident or you have any questions about this topic, you can find out more by discussing it with one of the attorneys at the Pikeville, KY-based Johnson Law Firm. We are ready to provide you with a free and confidential initial consultation. Contact us by calling 606-433-0682 or using our online form.

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