Ways to stay safe around aggressive drivers
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there has been a notable increase in aggressive driving and road rage since the 1990s. The leading causes for aggressive driving and road rage include:
- Delays in traffic. Drivers may become impatient when encountering road construction, an accident scene, or other cause of traffic congestion. This can lead some drivers to weave through traffic, follow too closely or change lanes abruptly.
- Drivers running late. Tight schedules, or failing to allow enough time to get from point A to point B, can cause drivers a lot of stress. This can lead to speeding and risky driving maneuvers.
- Anonymity. Drivers generally feel safer engaging in aggressive driving and road rage from the anonymity of their cars.
- Disregard for the law and other road users. For some drivers, aggressive driving is habitual and not necessarily caused by stressful events.
What is aggressive driving?
Aggressive driving can be any driving behavior that is done out of frustration or disrespect for other drivers. It can also go beyond rude gestures, yelling and honking. Aggressive driving usually includes:
- Chasing, following or tailgating other drivers
- Cutting off other drivers
- Traveling at dangerous speeds
- Failing to yield-the-right of way to other road users
- Taunting other drivers
- Running other drivers off the road
- Throwing objects at other drivers
- Getting out of a car to confront other drivers
- Engaging in violence
How to stay safe when encountering an aggressive driver
Dealing with an aggressive driver can be very frustrating. It can also be very tempting to want to yell or honk back, but this can cause the situation to escalate.
Instead, it's important to not take another driver's aggression personally and follow these procedures if you ever encounter an aggressive driver:
- Keep a safe distance. It's always a good idea to keep a safe distance from drivers who appear to be driving erratically. Doing so can lessen the likelihood of being involved in a serious crash. If an aggressive driver is tailgating you, it's also a good idea to pull over and let the driver pass to avoid a possible road rage incident or serious rear-end collision.
- Ignore aggressive drivers. If an aggressive driver becomes angry with you and gives a rude gesture, yells, or honks, it's best to just brush it off. Snapping back at an aggressive driver can cause the situation to get worse. Road rage can lead to serious crashes (some even caused intentionally) and violence.
- Take safety precautions if you are being followed. If ignoring an aggressive driver doesn't seem to work and the driver begins following you, it's important that you take these precautions:
- Be sure to lock your doors and roll up windows if you are stopped at a signalized intersection or in traffic. You should also leave enough space between your car and the car in front of you to get out of the lane if needed.
- Turn onto a side street and wait to see if the aggressive driver passes.
- If you're still being pursued, call the police and report the driver. Be sure to include a description of the driver, the car and the license plate. You can also drive to the nearest police station.
What should I do if I'm hurt in a crash caused by an aggressive driver?
If your crash was caused by aggressive driving or road rage, it's critical that you speak to an experienced Philadelphia car accident attorney as soon as possible to learn about the legal rights available to you.
These crashes can often result in complex claims because the insurance companies can argue that your crash was caused intentionally, not by negligence. Insurance typically only covers damages for crashes that are caused by negligence.
You will need an experienced attorney on your side who can thoroughly investigate your crash, speak to witnesses, obtain any available video footage and subpoena electronic records.
If it turns out that your crash was caused intentionally (which can often be proven by an arrest), you may be able to file a civil lawsuit against the driver to pursue damages.
An attorney at Villari, Brandes & Giannone, P.C. can help you through your complex case and fight to help you maximize your compensation. To learn how, contact us online and schedule your free case consultation.