What Is Aggressive Driving? The 7 Most Common Examples

The Brown Firm

The Brown Firm

Let's be honest; we've all been there.

You're running late for work. Your kid is late for football practice.

You got held up at work, and your family is waiting for you to eat dinner.

Whatever the reason, you're driving your car, and you're not in a very good mood.

You're rushed, you're stressed, and you don't want to be on the road anymore.

Then it happens. The car next to you switches lanes really quick, cutting you off.

You have to slam on your breaks to keep from hitting him, narrowly avoiding an accident.

Your face turns beet red. You can count the veins popping out of your forehead.

You let out a few choice words, pound the steering wheel a little bit, but then you calm down.

No harm was done. Everyone continues with their day.

What you just experienced was road rage, a widespread form of aggressive driving.

Luckily you didn't let things get out of hand. However, it doesn't always end up that way.

Aggressive driving and road rage often causes accidents and is one of the leading causes of accidents.

In this article, we'll take a more in-depth look into road rage and aggressive driving.

What Is Aggressive Driving?

According to the National Highway Safety Administration (NHTSA), aggressive driving is when "an individual commits a combination of moving traffic offenses to endanger other persons or property.”

The types of dangerous driving may include, but is not limited to:

  • Failing to obey stop signs, yield signs, and other traffic signals
  • Driving illegally on the shoulder or sidewalk
  • Passing in zones where passing is prohibited
  • Failing to signal turns or lane changes
  • Speeding
  • Tailgating
  • Erratic and unsafe lane changes
  • Running red lights
  • Ignoring other drivers
  • Failure to yield the right of way
  • Driving reckless or negligent 
  • Taking frustrations out on other motorists

What To Do If You Meet An Aggressive Driver

It's never fun being on the receiving end of a road rage rampage.

We all make honest mistakes, but some people don't see it that way.

You might not have done anything wrong, but the other driver is so blinded by his rage he decides to take it out on you.

So what should you do if someone decides to take their anger out on you?

Here are a few suggestions that will help keep you and your family safe.

  1. Always remain calm and relaxed.
  2. Do your best to get out of the way safely. Don't escalate the situation.
  3. Swallow your pride. Don't challenge an aggressive driver by speeding up, slowing down, or attempting to hold your position.
  4. Wear your seatbelt and encourage everyone else to wear theirs.
  5. Don't make eye contact.
  6. Ignore them.
  7. If necessary, report aggressive drivers by providing a vehicle description, location, license plate number and direction of travel to authorities.
  8. If the aggressive driver is involved in a crash, stop a safe distance from the scene. Report the behavior you witnessed to the authorities.

Road Rage

Although very similar, aggressive driving and road rage are two different things.

According to the National Safety Council (NSC), road rage is "a physical assault of a person or vehicle as a result of a traffic incident."

It involves turning your vehicle into a weapon with the intention of harming other people or their property.

Road rage is typically exhibited by young males, and 37% of the time firearms are involved.

That's why it's essential never to escalate the situation.

About half of the drivers on the receiving end of road rage reciprocate the behavior and become aggressive themselves.

Because of that, 12,610 injuries and 218 murders over a recent 7 year period were attributed to road rage.

Yes, that's 218 murders caused by road rage.

So next time you get angry in traffic, remember it' not worth your life.

Aggressive Driving Accidents

The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety reports that 106,727 fatal crashes, just over 55% of the total, involved aggressive drivers.

The study was done over four years, and the most common aggressive actions were:

  1. Erratic or reckless driving
  2. Failure to obey traffic signals or signs
  3. Illegal turns
  4. Speeding
  5. Failure to yield the right of way
  6. Illegal passing
  7. Tailgating

Aggressive driving also causes countless nonfatal accidents that often result in serious injuries.

It's best to stay calm behind the wheel.


Nearly one-third of all traffic fatalities are speed related.

In 2010, 10,530 people died as a result of speed-related car accidents.

Speed always has, and will continue to be a significant contributing factor in fatal crashes, and crashes resulting in injuries. 

Every year, $40.4 billion is spent on speed-related traffic accidents.

That's $76,865 every minute, or $1,281 every second of every day. 

That's a lot of money to spend on accidents caused by people who were in a rush or just plain careless.

When you speed, you have less opportunity to react in dangerous situations.

Your ability to steer safely around curves and dodge objects in the road is significantly reduced.

It also increases the force of the impact in the event of an accident.

Overall, speeding is a terrible thing to do, and speed limits should be respected no matter what the situation.

Aggressive Driving Victims

Aggressive driving happens all the time, and it is nothing to joke about.

If you or someone you know has been involved in an accident due to aggressive driving, you need to contact an attorney.


DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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