A recent poll has shown that the number of drivers who say that they become uncontrollably angry while behind the wheel has more than doubled since 2005. Even more unfortunate than this poll is the fact that aggressive driving and road rage are some of the most common causes of serious auto accidents. This is why every driver should know what signs to look for that show an individual is driving aggressively, what they should do around these drivers, and how to find legal advice if they are involved in an accident.
1. Weaving Through Traffic
One of the most common signs of an aggressive or dangerous driver is weaving in and out of traffic or passing on the right. This is especially common on freeways with multiple lanes, as some drivers feel they have more room to get past cars they believe are driving too slow. Depending on the state of traffic, all drivers should wait at least 10 seconds when changing lanes, they should always use their turn signal, and they should never change lanes too close to the front or back of other vehicles.
Speeding is probably the single easiest way to identify an aggressive driver. Many drivers will find themselves accidentally going up to five miles an hour over the speed limit, but aggressive drivers will chronically speed in unsafe areas, often 20 miles an hour or more above the speed limit. In addition to going at these high speeds, they will also accelerate and decelerate quickly. This may include peeling out when lights turn green.
3. Tailgating and Brake Checking
All drivers are required by law to stay far enough away from a vehicle that they have time to come to a complete stop if the vehicle in front of them stops suddenly. Unfortunately, aggressive drivers often ignore these laws and follow extremely close to vehicles in front of them. This is one of the most dangerous maneuvers on the road. In addition to this, they may also brake check other vehicles by pulling in front of them and then putting on their brakes to scare or intimidate the other drivers.
4. Honking, Flashing Lights, and Rude Gestures
When aggressive drivers feel as if other drivers are not driving well, they will do anything they can to get their attention. This often includes honking, flashing their lights, yelling at them, and making rude gestures. When they do get their attention, they may scream out profanities or simply attempt to stare at them as an act of intimidation. If the situation escalates, they may even begin to threaten them physically.
5. Rude Parking
If an aggressive driver ends up at the same location with someone they believe has wronged them or they feel as if someone parks incorrectly, they may attempt to punish them by how they park. This often involves blocking a car in with their own car or parking so close that they cannot open their doors. Aggressive drivers may also park in multiple spaces or in handicap spots even if they are not handicapped. These drivers rarely care for the safety or well-being of other drivers or their parked vehicles.
What To Do
If you have identified an aggressive or dangerous driver on the road, it is important to get away from them in a quick and safe manner. Even if it involves being a few minutes late to your destination, it is always best to slow down or pull over if you are in a safe location and can let the other driver go. If the aggressive driver attempts to get your attention or distract you, the best option is to always ignore them and to never return rude gestures or eye contact. If you have a phone and are in a position to make a call, notify the police with the street they are on, the direction they are going, and the type of vehicle they are driving. If you witness an accident caused by one of these drivers, it is best to park a short distance down the road, wait for the police to arrive, and then make a report on what you saw take place.
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