From your peripheral vision you see a car swerving and zooming around other vehicles on the highway. Something is clearly the matter, and the simple answer is that you may have noticed an aggressive driver. “This person is also probably yelling and cursing, making obscene gestures to other drivers and or following and tailgating other vehicles,” says Thomas Bumgardner, attorney with the Bumgardner Law Office. “While at first this may seem unintentional, an aggressive driver will continue this behavior throughout the drive, and there is a chance you may come across them again.”
How to Spot an Aggressive Driver
In case you catch up or are in another altercation, here are the main signs you’ve spotted an aggressive driver:
- Following too closely to other cars
- Participating in rude behaviors such as addressing other drivings with yelling or physical symbols
- Repeated honking at cars who are not violating rules of the road
- Cutting off other cars by weaving through traffic
Now what should you do? You’re trying to get to work or wherever you need to go, but this aggressive driver is possessing a danger to you and your passengers. Calmly wait until they are done and do not switch lanes to get closer.
Thomas Bumgardner says that, “an aggressive driving may try to block your path and rapidly change their speed so that you can’t move over. Wait until they are out of your way and continue to follow the rules of the road to change lanes.”
Definition of Aggressive Driving
An aggressive driver is someone who drives too closely to other cars, drives at excessive and dangerous speeds, and weaves through traffic to run various stop lights, signs and participates in other inappropriate acts.
What are the causes behind it?
There are various reasons why someone would participate in aggressive driving (bad mood, running late), but traffic and the congestion and snail pace that come with it is a major factor. The sea of unmoving cars, dancing along the highway with their red taillights can send some people over the edge. As people head back from work and want to rush home, their aim may be slowed down by everyone else trying to do the same.
Cars can also make people feel territorial, and if a driver feels threatened or uncomfortable they may react with aggressive driving, incorrectly believing they are participating in defensive driving.
Another factor is learned behavior: children become susceptible to aggressive driving when they watch their parents drive.
Can you avoid it?
Always give yourself enough time to get from point A to point B, so even if there is some type of hold up along the way, you won’t feel panicked or stressed about being late and won’t resort to aggressive driving. Another helpful tip is to look up alternative driving routes to your location. If you believe you’re driving close to an aggressive driver, avoid eye contact with them and don’t respond to any hand gestures. Resist the urge to try to cut them off, this may lead to a car accident. If the driver begins to follow you, drive to your closest police station or public area – do not let them follow you to your home.
If you believe you suffer from aggressive driving, here are some ideas of how to keep a cool head on the road:
- Give yourself plenty of time to get to your location – that way you won’t be sending your frustration level through the roof
- Avoid driving when you’re stressed or angry
- Adjust your driving schedule to avoid major traffic times
- Download a traffic report app to help find alternative driving routes
- Don’t take things personally
- Listen to music or an audio book
If you or a loved one has gotten in a car accident caused by an aggressive driver, please contact Thomas Bumgardner at (704) 870-4779 to learn more about the legal services we offer. We are here to help you.