The Consequences Of Aggressive Driving

A recent law-enforcement crackdown on the Florida Turnpike targets aggressive driving. State troopers are currently on the lookout for signs like speeding, tailgating and weaving, in an effort to reduce fatal car accidents .

According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, over 1,500 people are injured or killed in the U.S. each year by aggressive driving. During an almost seven-year span in the 1990s, over 10,000 reported U.S. aggressive-driving incidents caused 218 deaths and 12,000 injuries. Most worrying is a clear trend of annual increases in aggressive-driving incidents.

The foundation defined an "aggressive-driving incident" as one where "an angry or impatient motorist or passenger … attempts to injure or kill another motorist, passenger, or pedestrian in response to a traffic dispute, altercation, or grievance." "Road rage" refers to physical assault following a disagreement between drivers. Some 90 percent of drivers admit to some form of aggressive driving — usually tailgating or flashing bright headlights.

Victims and Perpetrators

Anyone can be a victim of aggressive driving. Even innocent bystanders can be victims of out-of-control drivers. Injuries can include broken limbs, paralysis and brain damage.

Aggressive drivers come from all walks of life. The most common profile is an uneducated, poor, young male with a criminal background, history of violence and drug or alcohol abuse, and recent professional or emotional distress. But new stories often showcase the rich and educated, elders, women and even celebrities in road-rage incidents. It seems drivers often "snap" after a string of adverse events culminating in frustrating driving situations. The reason may be trivial, but the consequences are serious.

Safety

Drivers can take simple steps to avoid becoming victims or perpetrators of aggressive driving. First, recognize the dangers. Aggressive-driving statistics are low because of underreporting. Some drivers have mental or emotional conditions, are under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or are armed with weapons. Slight provocation can lead to serious consequences. Anyone can become an aggressive driver.

It's important to stay in control of your driving and do not act on adrenaline. Be patient and courteous with other drivers. Don't text while driving, block lanes, tailgate, overuse the horn or brights, or park improperly. Don't automatically assume that an aggressive act was intentional. Safely get away from aggressive drivers who won't back off.

Aggressive driving poses real risks, but safe habits can help avoid becoming a victim. An injured driver that is hurt by the negligence of another motorist may be entitled to lost wages, medical expenses, and damages for pain and suffering. A personal injury attorney may be able to help with these claims.