It is not uncommon for someone to limit the definition of aggressive driving to only speeding extremely over the speed limit. However, there are several other factors to consider when defining what aggressive driving is. Following too closely or tailing, improper passing and lane change, red-light running, and failure to yield are all driving behaviors that are considered aggressive. Coupling these behaviors with extreme speeding, which is driving 20mph or more over the speed limit, is not only aggressive but dangerous, and sometimes fatal.
Many drivers blame their aggressive driving behavior on running late or untimely emergencies. Other drivers consider themselves “in a hurry” and naturally drive aggressively. Although the reason for driving aggressively changes frequently, the definition of aggressive driving and the punishment for committing the offense doesn’t. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration defines aggressive driving as “occurring when an individual commits a combination of moving traffic offenses so as to endanger other persons or property." If witnessed by traffic enforcement, there can be hefty fines and even jail time associated with this offense.
Here are few tips on what to do if you encounter an aggressive driver on the road:
- Ignore any gestures and avoid responding to the other driver
- If possible, try your best to move out of the aggressive driver’s way
- Allow for the other driver to pass you. Do not try to speed up and block their way.
- Avoid any confrontation and double check to make sure your seat belt is on.
- If you feel as if you feel as though you are being followed, call the police and drive to a public place such as a police station, hospital or fire station.
If you believe that a family member or a loved one might be an aggressive driver, have a conversation with them about the dangers that are associated with aggressive driving. Educate your loved one that their driving behavior doesn’t just affect them but others around them. Consider this as a final thought, weaving in and out of traffic can seem as if it is saving you a ton of time but in actuality is only saving you a couple of minutes and putting you and others in harm’s way.
Source: GHSA, NHTSA