Aggressive Driving: What You Need to Know

Posted on by Defensive Driving | in Defensive Driving Tips

So you’re driving along minding your own business when all of the sudden you notice a car abnormally close to your rear bumper. “How annoying,” you think to yourself. You’ll teach him. If he wants to follow you so close, you’ll just slow down. Right? Wrong! By purposely slowing down yourself you are now just as guilty of aggressive driving as the guy behind you.

What exactly is aggressive driving?

Aggressive driving covers a large range of driving behaviors that are stemmed from hostility, competition, or selfishness. You already know that aggressive driving can be seen in the form of tailgating or purposely slowing down when being tailgated, but it can also be seen in speeding, quickly changing lanes multiple times, and any other behaviors that disregard the safety of others around you.

Why should I care?

Well, for starters, if you are caught driving in an aggressive way you will at the very least get a traffic ticket. The tickets for aggressive driving can range from a minor infraction like careless driving up to a much more serious offense of road rage. Depending on the severity of the charge, this will include a fine and may even cause you to have to go to court. It may also result in increased insurance premiums and a mark on your permanent record.

If a ticket is not enough of a scare tactic, what about a car accident? Not just a fender bender, but a full-on, potentially fatal car accident. In fact, according to the Center for Problem-Oriented Policing “aggressive drivers kill two to four times more people than drunken drivers.” If your aggressive driving causes a fatal accident that you are lucky enough to survive, you will be faced with criminal charges that will undoubtedly change the outcome of your life.

How Can I Prevent Aggressive Driving?

I’m glad you asked! There is actually a lot you can do to calm yourself down on the road so you can stay safe.

  1. Plan ahead. The main reason people drive aggressively is because they are in a hurry to get somewhere. When traffic does not go exactly as they had hoped, the aggression starts to build. If you leave extra time for the unexpected you can rest easy knowing that even if there is a traffic build up you will be okay.
  2. Don’t take it personal. Another cause for aggressive driving is another driver doing something stupid. If you get cut off, remember that it’s not about you. Do not retaliate. Instead, assume they have a screaming kid in the car or they are on their way to the hospital.
  3. Pretend there are no barriers. Oftentimes people get so mad by other people’s driving that they get physically upset, and the anger quickly translates into their driving. Instead, pretend like all the physical cars are gone and it’s just you and the people around you standing in the road. If someone cuts you off in line at a movie theater, you wouldn’t make a scene by screaming and yelling at them, would you? So why do it in your car?
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