As you made your way to work this morning, chances are good that you noticed the usual assortment of questionable driving practices from those more interested in their phones than surrounding traffic to those who simply failed to notice the posted traffic signs.
You may have even encountered drivers whose behavior stopped short of road rage, but could easily be classified as dangerously assertive or perhaps even aggressive. As obnoxious as this type of behavior is, it can also be incredibly dangerous with statistics showing that aggressive driving is behind an alarming number of serious and even fatal car accidents.
What qualifies as aggressive driving?
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, aggressive driving occurs when a person "commits a combination of moving traffic offenses so as to endanger other persons or property."
Aggressive driving behaviors include the following:
- Unsafe lane changes/weaving in and out of traffic
- Running red lights/stop signs
- Failing to signal/improper signaling
- Dangerous passing maneuvers
Why do people engage in aggressive driving?
Experts indicate that the tendency to engage in aggressive driving comes from feelings of frustration, impatience and/or anger. As to the source of these feelings, they indicate that they can be caused by just some of following:
- Stress in personal or professional lives
- Traffic conditions and/or road work
- Pressure to be somewhere by a certain time
- Prior experience with other aggressive drivers
Are certain people more likely to engage in aggressive driving?
While it's impossible to pinpoint who is the most likely to engage in aggressive driving, statistics do paint a compelling portrait. Indeed, government crash data suggests aggressive drivers are typically young men residing in and around major metropolitan areas.
Interestingly enough, a 2011 study by researchers at Temple University also found that aggressive drivers are more likely to be young, perhaps overly confident in their driving abilities, and perceive their vehicle as a reflection of their self-identity.
We'll continue this discussion in future posts, examining more about Maryland's aggressive driving laws and some safety tips.
In the meantime, consider speaking with a skilled legal professional if you have been seriously injured or lost a loved one owing to the actions of an aggressive motorist.