Aggressive driving is a major problem because it is so common. Nearly everyone has been angry at some point while driving. Unfortunately, it only takes seconds for that anger to spill over into an unsafe action that causes an automobile accident. If you are the victim of a collision caused by a driver who was engaged in aggressive behavior, it is important that you know what your rights are and that you get legal help to prove how the crash happened so you can obtain compensation.
How Big is the Risk of Aggressive Driving Accidents?
The risk of aggressive driving accidents is substantial because there are so many people on the road given to anger or even rage while driving. A comprehensive study from AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found that 80 percent of drivers admitted to expressing "significant anger or road rage" at least one time in the prior year.
This behavior can manifest in a variety of dangerous actions that AAA Foundation outlined, including:
- Driving too fast, especially in heavy traffic
- Following another car too closely
- Cutting another driver off and then purposefully slowing down
- Going through a red traffic signal
- Weaving in and out of vehicles in traffic
- Changing lanes without using a signal
- Blocking a car from changing lanes
It is easy to see how all of these actions can significantly increase the risk of collisions. In fact, road rage or aggressive driving are leading contributing factors to crashes. AAA Foundation found that around half of all collisions between 2003 and 2007 involved at least one of the drivers engaging in potentially aggressive behavior right before the accident happened.
Drivers should make every effort to remain calm and cautious while operating a vehicle, regardless of another driver's actions or behavior. Rocky Mountain Insurance Information Association advises motorists "the best offense against aggressive driving is a good defense." RMIIA encourages drivers not to do things that make them a target, like driving too slowly in the left passing lane, cutting off other motorists, or making rude gestures to other drivers.
Of course, you do not deserve to be hurt by a motorist engaging in aggressive behavior just because you are going slowly or because you accidentally cut off another motorist.
If another driver behaves in an unsafe way that is a violation of the rules of the road, that driver can be held accountable if his actions cause a motor vehicle accident to occur. A victim will need to prove aggressive driving was the cause of a collision so they can recover compensation for crash damages, including both economic and any non-financial losses.
It should be noted that the fallout from intentional violence on the road may not be covered by auto insurance. An attorney can help if you or a loved one has been hurt in an auto accident caused by another driver's over-the-top anger response.