How can I Protect Myself from Aggressive Drivers?July 12, 2021
With the sheer number of cars on the road and drivers wanting to get where they are going quickly, it is not surprising that aggressive driving happens. Unfortunately, aggressive driving is also often a reaction to road rage.
In fact, an AAA report says that up to 80 percent of drivers say they have felt road rage at some point in the past year. That is a staggering number. But road rage is not dangerous if it remains just a fleeting thought. It becomes a hazard only when a person acts on it, often through driving aggressively. Unfortunately, this behavior can increase the chances of a car accident.
What is Aggressive Driving?
Aggressive driving can include any behavior behind the wheel that causes an accident, affects the safety of other drivers, or intimidates other motorists. It can include the following behaviors:
- Speeding. A person who drives at excessive speeds is threatening their own life as well as those of other motorists. A speeding car is not easy to steer, nor can it brake or stop quickly. Loss of control such as this can lead to accidents and grave harm to innocent drivers.
- Tailgating. Sometimes an aggressive driver will tailgate to intimidate a slower driver ahead or get a slow driver to pull over. Other times they simply ignore the three-four second rule for safety: Pick a stationary object on the side of the road. When the car ahead passes it, the car behind it should not pass it for three or four seconds. If they go by it within one or two seconds, they are following too closely.
- Weaving in and out of traffic. Often in conjunction with speeding, an aggressive driver may pass cars frequently and without caution. They pull in and out of lanes without regard to anyone else on the road or highway, creating unsafe driving conditions for everyone.
- Honking. Although a friendly honk to alert someone that the light has turned green is perfectly acceptable, honking out of anger or impatience is not. Honking can be scary to another driver and distracts others from attention to the road as well. An aggressive driver may honk excessively to show their displeasure with another driver.
- Confronting another driver up close. An aggressive driver who is enraged about a real or perceived driving mistake will sometimes confront the other driver in person. They may wait until the driver stops at a stop sign or traffic light or turns into a driveway or place of business. They may even physically harm the driver, including shooting and killing them.
- Pulling up to the side of another car or trying to run a car off the road. Some aggressive drivers experiencing road rage may try to intimidate another motorist by pulling up or driving too close next to them. They may even try to run them off the road.
- Reckless driving. Aggressive driving is often reckless as well. Reckless drivers give no thought to the rules of the road. They may disobey traffic signs, lights, and signals; not use their car’s blinkers; turn or brake suddenly; or otherwise drive without regard to safety or courtesy.
- Blocking another driver or not yielding the right of way. An angry or aggressive driver may try to punish another motorist by blocking their path or restricting their movements. This is illegal and dangerous, and a driver should report this behavior as soon as it is safe to do so. They should never engage with the enraged driver or the behavior but should pull off to a safe place when possible.
- Distracted driving. It is not uncommon for an aggressive driver to also be distracted. They may be talking or texting on a cell phone, listening to loud music, rowdily interacting with passengers, or doing something else that takes their focus away from the road.
- Drunk or drugged driving. Unfortunately, aggressive driving is sometimes due to a driver being under the influence of drugs or alcohol. As a result, their ability to think, reason, and react is impaired, with accidents that harm someone else often being the result.
What Should I Do to Protect Myself from Aggressive Drivers?
Aggressive driving will always occur, and there is no way for anyone to stop it. But every driver can protect themselves from aggressive drivers by taking extra precautions every time they get behind the wheel. They should do the following:
- Pay full attention to the road. An aggressive or angry driver will cause a lot of commotion and often try to scare someone into reacting. Drivers should not play into their dangerous ways. Instead, drivers should keep full attention on the road ahead and to traffic conditions. Motorists must not let anything or anyone else in the vehicle distract from safety, especially a cell phone.
- Drive defensively. Driving instructors will sometimes tell students to operate the vehicle as if everyone is trying to crash into them. They do not mean to scare students. They mean that everyone should drive as if other motorists will make a mistake or not follow the rules. And if a person is driving aggressively, motorists should use their best defensive driving behaviors to protect themselves.
- Avoid rush hours and other heavy driving times. Although aggressive driving can happen at any time, it stands to reason that an impatient driver can become aggressive. They may speed or drive recklessly to avoid rush hour back-ups or road construction causing a traffic tie-up. In addition, holiday drivers may be in a hurry to get to their destinations on overly busy roads. A driver can help avoid aggressive driving by choosing to drive when the road or highway may be less crowded.
- Be prepared to be safe. Proactive safety behaviors can help a driver start out well, regardless of what they encounter along the way. First, they and all occupants should wear seat belts or appropriate child safety restraints. The vehicle should also contain an emergency kit, tool kit, food and blankets, and a medical care kit. It should also be serviced at the recommended intervals. Finally, a driver should always have a way to contact authorities, such as keeping a charged cell phone within reach. Planning for the weather and road conditions can also increase safety.
- Follow the rules of the road. Practicing good driving behaviors can help drivers protect themselves, no matter what other drivers may be doing. For example, it is important to follow all traffic signals, lights, and signs. Drivers should use blinkers. They should turn cautiously and be mindful of blind spots. Motorists should remain patient in traffic back-ups and treat other drivers courteously. They should not speed or tailgate, or brake or turn suddenly. Also, drivers must not let road rage lead to regrettable actions.
- Never drive while under the influence. Driving after drinking or taking drugs endangers the life of the driver and every innocent person around them. Protection from aggressive drivers will take a person’s full faculties, sound decision-making, and the ability to react quickly. Impaired driving will not enable any of those.
- Do not be afraid to report aggressive drivers or road rage. Aggressive drivers are a menace to everyone on the road. They have no regard for safety or courtesy. Drivers with road rage are just as dangerous. Motorists should not be afraid to pull over and report the aggressive or enraged driver. They should try to memorize the car make, color, and license plate if possible.
- Hire a car accident lawyer. Aggressive driving contributes to hundreds of car accidents in Maryland each year. A car accident lawyer can help victims of aggressive drivers get the compensation they deserve for their injuries, property damage, loss of wages, and other costs.
Baltimore Car Accident Lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton Do Not Let Aggressive Drivers Get Away with Causing Accidents
Aggressive drivers endanger everyone on the road. If you or a loved one has suffered any kind of loss, including medical bills, lost wages, and property damage, you deserve to be compensated. The Baltimore car accident lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton have helped thousands of victims of car accidents in Maryland recover what they lost at the hands of a negligent driver. We can help you and your loved ones, too. Call us today at 800-547-4LAW (4529) or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.
Our offices are conveniently located in Baltimore, Columbia, Glen Burnie, and Prince George’s County, where we represent victims throughout Maryland, including those in Anne Arundel County, Carroll County, Harford County, Howard County, Montgomery County, Prince George’s County, Queen Anne’s County, Maryland’s Western Counties, Southern Maryland and the Eastern Shore, as well as the communities of Catonsville, Essex, Halethorpe, Middle River, Rosedale, Gwynn Oak, Brooklandville, Dundalk, Pikesville, Parkville, Nottingham, Windsor Mill, Lutherville, Timonium, Sparrows Point, Ridgewood, and Elkridge.