If you live in Atlanta, Georgia, I am certain you are familiar with aggressive drivers. Unfortunately, Atlanta is known for its rude drivers and its high accident rates. As a personal injury attorney in Atlanta, I am very familiar with the catastrophic results caused by aggressive drivers. Well, February is Aggressive Driving Month, the purpose of which is to increase awareness of this hazardous behavior in others on the road, and to serve as a reminder to each of us that we should be more aware of our own driving habits and make sure we are not contributing to the problem.
According to the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA), aggressive driving is the cause of 6 million crashes each year in the United States. That’s a huge number, and it certainly underlines the fact that aggressive drivers are a very real threat to anyone sharing the road. The NHTSA’s definition of aggressive driving is “when individuals commit a combination of moving traffic offenses so as to endanger other persons or property.” Aggressive driving would include things such as tailgating, failure to yield the right-of-way, erratic lane changes, no turn signal, distracted driving, and making obscene gestures to other drivers.
They do differentiate between aggressive driving and road rage, though aggressive driving can certainly lead to road rage, depending on the frame of mind of the parties involved. NHTSA defines road rage as a criminal offense that is “an actual assault with a motor vehicle or other dangerous weapon by the operator or passengers of one motor vehicle on the operator or passengers of another motor vehicle, or is caused by an incident that happened on a roadway.”
Aggressive driving first began to be recognized by officials as a problem in the ’90’s. It has become more prevalent over the years due to multiple changing social factors. An overall increase in traffic congestion has been a contributing cause, as it increases driver frustration, which anyone can attest to who has driven in downtown Atlanta rush hour traffic. Other contributing factors across the U.S. include more licensed drivers on roads than ever before, individuals dealing with longer commutes, and a marked decrease in the number of law enforcement officers available to monitor roadways and enforce traffic laws. People are also under tremendous time pressure in today’s society, with less downtime where they can just relax. With modern technology, it’s very easy to be distracted by cell phones, iPads, etc., while driving, and many people multi-task as they drive along on their journey.
For your own safety and the safety of your passengers, do everything you can to avoid aggressive drivers on the road, and don’t do things yourself which may trigger aggression in other drivers. Most people can tell you about a hostile driver they have encountered at some point, but many times they don’t see that they may have contributed to a potentially hazardous situation by careless driving on their part, such as texting or talking on a cell phone and perhaps missing a light, blocking an intersection, eating while driving or even worse, putting on makeup while driving, and the list continues ad infinitum. Anything that can take your attention away from being alert and aware of what is going on around you.
Would you consider yourself an aggressive driver? Here’s an interesting quiz developed by AAA that you can take to see how you rate out of a maximum 120 points.
If you do encounter an aggressive driver do the following:
- Don’t agitate them further. Do not reciprocate with any hand gestures or honking of the horn.
- Get out of their way. Let them pass if that’s what they are trying to do. The further away from them you are, the safer you and your passengers are.
- Don’t make eye contact with them. This can make them angrier.
- If they are driving in an extremely aggressive, erratic, or dangerous manner, get their tag number and pull over to call the police. In doing so you may be preventing an accident that is just a few minutes from happening, and you may even be saving someone’s life.
It’s not enough to be a good driver yourself – you must always be on the lookout for other drivers who are not. Sometimes people who are meek and mild-mannered at the office or the grocery store seem to act out their aggressions once they get behind the wheel of a car. I know such people myself. Observe those around you and behind you when in traffic. Are they tailgating, speeding, or perhaps going too fast for conditions? These are all considered aggressive driving.
If you or a loved one has suffered catastrophic injuries as a result of an aggressive or careless driver, call us for help. Here at the Tyrone Law Firm we represent clients all over the state of Georgia and throughout the United States who have been seriously injured and are dealing with life-changing catastrophic consequences through no fault of their own. Nelson Tyrone handles Catastrophic Injury, Brain injury, Spine Injury, and RSD/CRPS cases throughout the United States. He involves only the top medical, rehabilitation and life-care plan experts in the field. His results on behalf of clients include several of the largest settlements and verdicts on record. In 2012 he obtained a $575,000 Personal Injury verdict against the City of Clayton County for an employee who was driving aggressively and severely injured another driver. This verdict was three times their highest pre-trial offer to settle.
The Tyrone Law Firm is located in Atlanta, Georgia. Our number is 404-377-0017, and our email is email@example.com. We will talk to you and review your case for free. If we can’t help you, we will do our best to put you into the hands of lawyers who can.