What is aggressive driving?
When an individual commits a combination of moving traffic offenses, which is likely to endanger other persons or property, we call that behavior “aggressive driving.” Typical traffic violations that are considered
- Exceeding the posted speed limit
- Unsafely or improperly changing lanes
- Following another vehicle too closely
- Improper passing
- Violating traffic control or signal devices
- Blocking the passing lane
- Erratically speeding up or slowing down
Why is it a problem?
Aggressive driving is a dangerous practice, perhaps responsible for as many secondary accidents as those involving the aggressive driver. It is learned behavior, often associated with certain personality types, and may become habitual, even when the vehicle operator is in no particular hurry. To be sure, aggressive driving isn’t worth the obvious risks.
Approximately two-thirds of all automobile fatalities and injuries are related to some form of aggressive driving. According to the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration, Florida historically ranks very high with the number of fatalities attributed to aggressive driving. For a variety of reasons, society has a tendency to view aggressive driving behavior as acceptable under some circumstances, and drivers often have a false sense of anonymity when driving an automobile, perhaps because our roadways have become overburdened with heavy traffic congestion.
What can you do?
If you encounter an aggressive driver, don’t become a victim. Consider the following behaviors:
- Do not engage the other driver
- Avoid eye contact
- Do not return gestures
- Do not use the horn
- Get the tag number, if it can be done easily
- Report the driver to local law enforcement
- If approached, drive to a safe location
- Put your pride in the back seat
- Always wear your safety belt
- Be a courteous driver
How to avoid becoming an aggressive driver
Acknowledge that each of us have the potential and may have exhibited aggressive driving behavior at one time or another.
Try to picture yourself acting like an aggressive driver, possibly escalating a situation which might lead to a “road rage” incident.
By recognizing this type of behavior you can consciously modify your own behavior and de-escalate situations before they get out of control.
Although several factors may contribute to aggressive driving, traffic congestion seems to be the leading cause of frustration as slow or stationary traffic situations present conditions which may trigger driver aggression.
Most aggressive driving violations, such as improper passing, failing to yield the right-of-way and following too closely, generate fines of $120.50 and 3 points on the violators driving record.
Other violations, such as failing to obey a traffic control device (running a red light) carry higher fines ($185.50) and additional (4) points. Fines and points for speeding vary according to range and circumstances.
Avoid confrontations with an aggressive driver
Remember, it is important to realize that in certain traffic situations you may be putting your life at risk and you should really ask yourself, “is it worth a potentially violent confrontation with an individual I don’t even know?” It is a very serious reality; you don’t know the emotional variables in play or how far some people are willing to take an otherwise harmless traffic encounter. More likely, you don’t know anything about the guy in the other car and you can’t accurately predict how a confrontation will end. Play it smart and take the high road whenever possible!