Don't be a Victim of Aggressive Driving
It can happen in an instant. You’re driving along when a vehicle suddenly zooms up behind you, filling your rear-view mirror, and flashing its headlights in a bold show of impatience. Maybe you’re able to change lanes and allow your tormentor to speed angrily by. Maybe you’re forced to endure a blaring horn or obscene gestures. Regardless, your attention is diverted. You’re a victim of aggressive driving.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) defines aggressive driving as the “operation of a motor vehicle in a manner that endangers or is likely to endanger persons or property.” Unlike road rage, which is defined as “an assault with a motor vehicle or other dangerous weapon by the operator or passengers of another motor vehicle or an assault precipitated by an incident that occurred on a roadway,” aggressive driving is a traffic offense. The aggressive driver disregards other drivers and does unlawful things, such as speeding, improper or excessive lane changing, failing to signal his/her intentions and illegally passing.
What makes a driver aggressive?
Stress, fatigue, emotional problems, alcohol and drug use and general disregard for other drivers all tend to make for an aggressive driver. None of these issues justify aggressive driving. As a driver, you must focus on driving safely and recognize the potential consequences of driving aggressively.
When driving, you need to focus on the task and should:
- Not be distracted by activities such as talking on your cell phone (even hands-free devices), eating, drinking or putting on makeup.
- Make sure you’ve had proper rest and meals, and try to relax.
- Plan your route in advance so that you are not confused along the way.
- Stay within the speed limit and adjust your driving speed for road conditions.
- Signal your intentions far enough in advance to make other drivers aware of your plans.
- Never allow a deadline to supersede driving safely.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) defines aggressive driving as the “operation of a motor vehicle in a manner that endangers or is likely to endanger persons or property.”
What if an aggressive driver confronts you?
First and foremost, don’t allow an aggressive driver to turn you into one. If an aggressive driver confronts you, you should:
- Make every effort to get out of the way. You don’t want to have an accident because of someone else's stupidity.
- Avoid eye contact with the aggressive driver. Remember, he or she has a problem and you don’t want to make the situation worse.
- Ignore gestures from the aggressive driver and don’t return them. You are the better driver and have more control over your emotions.
- If the situation escalates, pull over in a safe location and call the police. Too frequently, aggressive drivers cross the line to road rage.
Always wear your safety belt
Your safety and ability to control your vehicle are your primary defense against aggressive drivers. Always wear your safety belt when driving – it keeps you in the proper driving position and helps protect you in the event of an accident.
This information is intended to provide guidance and is not intended as a legal interpretation of any federal, state or local laws, rules or regulations applicable to your business. The loss prevention information provided is intended only to assist policyholders in the management of potential loss producing conditions involving their premises and/or operations based on generally accepted safe practices. In providing such information, Great American does not warrant that all potential hazards or conditions have been evaluated or can be controlled. It is not intended as an offer to write insurance for such conditions or exposures. The liability of Great American Insurance Company and its affiliated insurers is limited to the terms, limits and conditions of the insurance policies underwritten by any of them.