Aggressive drivers are more dangerous than drunk drivers, causing as much as four times more traffic fatalities. And two-thirds of the country’s traffic fatalities have links to this same group of short-tempered and volcanic people behind the wheel.
These are some of the research findings from the Arizona State University Center for Problem-Oriented Policing. The message is clear: Keeping your distance from an aggressive driver just may save your life and prevent life-changing injuries.
Speeding and weaving
Recognizing an aggressive driver is not difficult. Here are some of the obvious signs:
- Speeding: An impatient driver traveling at excessive speeds is a sign to get out of the way. According to the National Highway Safety Administration, nearly 9,500 traffic fatalities in 2019 were attributed to speeding. Aggressive drivers caused some of those crashes.
- Following too closely: The impatience of a tailgater can lead to destruction and death. Move to the next lane or side of the road to let this driver pass.
- Weaving in traffic and cutting off others: Jumping from lane to lane merely to move up one car at a time is another sign of a dangerous driver. Such actions also lead aggressive drivers to cut off other drivers, forced to hit their brakes.
- Flashing headlights: These drivers are emphatically telling you to get out of their way.
- Blocking drivers: This act prevents drivers from changing lanes, trapping them. You may have annoyed this driver in some way, but you can only guess as to why.
- Obscene gestures, screaming, cursing and honking horn: These are among the most obvious visual and audio signs that may confront an unsuspecting driver.
Do not speculate as to why an aggressive driver subscribes to such behavior, just get out of the way and focus on the safety of you and your passengers.
Do not engage with them
An aggressive driver is an unstable person bent on revenge, while bullying other drivers. Do not engage with these people. Doing so may escalate the situation. Stay calm, and, if necessary, pull to the side of the road and contact law enforcement.