In a survey conducted by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, eight out of 10 respondents characterized aggressive driving as a "serious" or "extremely serious" threat to roadway safety. And it's true that aggressive drivers increase car accident risks in Cape Girardeau, Missouri and throughout the country. Our personal injury lawyers know that such accidents often have catastrophic consequences, including serious, life-threatening injury.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the term "aggressive driving" refers to a progression of illegal driving actions that endanger other people and/or property. These actions may include the following:
• Speeding: Driving faster than the speed limit; or driving too fast for road, traffic or weather conditions
• Improper or excessive lane changes: Failing to use a turn signal; or changing lanes suddenly and/or repeatedly without regard for other drivers and traffic
• Improper passing: Failing to use a turn signal to show intent; or using an improper lane to pass, like an emergency lane or the shoulder of the road
Many people think that aggressive driving and road rage are the same thing, but that's actually not the case. Road rage is a criminal offense requiring the "willful and wanton disregard for the safety of others." Aggressive driving is a traffic offense, but ultimately it can prove to be just as dangerous - and deadly.
Am I an aggressive driver?
Here are a few basic behaviors that are common in aggressive drivers:
• Expressing your frustration with traffic or roadway conditions - and taking them out on drivers traveling near you
• Following too close ("tailgating"), which is a common cause of rear end collisions
• Whipping in and out of lanes
• Excessive speeding or racing
• Ignoring signs, stoplights or other traffic laws
What should I do if I encounter an aggressive driver in Kansas City?
NHTSA officials offer these basic tips:
• Get out of harm's way. Your top priority should be to make sure you aren't in an aggressive driver's path. Whether it means slowing down, making a turn, or changing lanes, take the necessary steps to get out of the way.
• Swallow your pride. Again, your safety - and the safety of your passengers - is paramount. Don't engage or challenge an aggressive driver by speeding up or cutting them off. Avoid eye contact, and ignore any gestures or comments.
• Report the driver to police. If you see an aggressive driver whose behavior is putting other motorists in danger, you are encouraged to contact authorities. You just might be saving someone's life. (If you choose to call from your cell phone, be sure to pull over to a safe location.)