Aggressive driving in Pennsylvania is tricky to define, but easy to identify; it is a “you will know it when you see it” type of thing. The Rocky Mountain Insurance Information Association defines aggressive driving as “as any behind-the-wheel behavior that places another person (or people) and/or property in danger through willful action without regard to safety.”
It can involve various actions from hand gestures and violence to tailgating to speeding.
Speeding and aggressive driving are exceptionally dangerous; they greatly increase the risk of crashing and contribute to thousands of fatalities and injuries each year.
Aggressive driving has various repercussions. Those who drive recklessly, break the law, or otherwise cause harm to others may receive citations, face charges for criminal offenses, and face financial liability for damages if they hurt others in an accident.
If you or a loved one was hurt in an accident or roadway incident with an aggressive driver, you might be entitled to compensation for damages. Call our auto accident attorney at Cordisco & Saile LLC for a free case evaluation: 215-642-2335.
What are some common aggressive driving behaviors?
Aggressive driving comes in many forms. When frustration, aggression, and anger escalate, it can lead to road rage and violence. Some of the most common ways drivers act aggressively include the following:
- Weaving through traffic
- Honking and flashing headlights
- Yelling or making obscene gestures
- Throwing items at someone
- Cutting people off
- Driving too fast for conditions
- Taking corners carelessly and too quickly
- Running red lights or stop signs
- Lane splitting or passing on the shoulder
- Ramming another car
- Physical altercations or shootings
A lot of factors can spark a driver to act aggressively, and many drivers are not consciously aware that they are acting out in the heat of the moment. In some cases, they are simply angry or agitated about other things and are just looking for a way to vent.
According to research conducted by State Farm and KRC Research, some of the main reasons for why drivers act aggressively include getting stuck in traffic (63 percent), running late (55 percent), and road closures/construction (47 percent).
Try to control your emotions and mindset on the road so that you do not slip into aggressive driving mode. Know what the roadway conditions are before you set out. If there is congestion or construction, plan accordingly to avoid rushing and frustration.
To measure your hostility on the road and see if you are guilty of driving aggressively, you can take the AAA quiz.
How hazardous is speeding and aggressive driving?
Aggressive driving is dangerous by nature; it puts the driver, his passengers, and everyone else on the road at an increased risk of crashing. And it is alarmingly common, too. The aforementioned State Farm research reported that 64 percent of surveyed drivers say they have had a run-in with an aggressive driver six or more times within the last three months, and nearly half of all drivers admit to driving aggressively on occasion.
Because aggressive drivers are behaving rashly, their impulsive maneuvers and behaviors are unsafe and can lead to an accident. Speeding is one of the most common types of aggressive driving, and it is also one of the most prevalent factors that contribute to auto accidents.
Speeding contributed to 30 percent of fatal crashes and killed an estimated 10,219 people in 2012, reports the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). These speeding-related accidents cause significant harm and damages, costing our nation over $40 billion per year, according to the NHTSA.
What do I do if I encounter an aggressive driver?
As frustrating as aggressive drivers are, it is important not to lash out or engage because the situation can worsen and escalate to road rage. Try to stay calm and avoid any urges to challenge the driver. The AAA recommends doing the following if you ever encounter an aggressive driver:
- Do not make eye contact and do not respond.
- Try to be polite, tolerant, and forgiving.
- Try to keep enough space around your car so that is someone approaches you, you can pull out and get away.
- Do not get out of your vehicle.
- If you feel threatened or think the aggressive driver is following you, call 911 and drive to a nearby hospital, fire station, or police department.
What are my legal rights if I am injured by an aggressive driver?
If another driver causes you harm, you have every right to hold them legally accountable. This is true whether he crashed into you, forced you off the road, caused you to collide with something else, or battered you.
Firstly, if his actions were willfully harmful, he may face citations or criminal charges. Additionally, you can file a claim or a civil lawsuit against the aggressive driver to recover damages for the financial, physical, and emotional harms you have suffered.
You will need to be able to prove that the driver was at fault for your injuries, which you can accomplish using evidence such as the police report and eyewitness testimonies. Some victims have even used their phones in midst of the roadway drama to video record the aggressive driver in action. (Do not do this while driving.)
If you can successfully prove that the other driver’s actions are what caused your injuries, the insurance company or courts may award you with compensation to cover your:
- Property damage
- Medical bills
- Lost wages
- Emotional damages
- Pain and suffering
- Death benefits (for families in fatal cases)
You should speak to an attorney about how to best approach the situation and how to maximize your settlement.
Where can I get legal help for aggressive driving-related accidents?
If you were hurt by an aggressive driving incident, call Cordisco & Saile LLC for a free consultation. We empathize with the hurt and frustration people feel when they have suffered injuries as a result of road rage and aggressive drivers, and will help you hold irresponsible drivers liable for their actions.
After a brief case evaluation, we can explain your rights and legal options, and then help you pursue the financial restitution you deserve from the at-fault driver. Contact us at 215-642-2335 to schedule a free consultation.