Aggressive driving means operating a vehicle in a way that endangers or is likely to endanger people or property. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), two-thirds of nationwide traffic fatalities involve behaviors commonly associated with aggressive driving. In 2020, Utah crash statistics show that aggressive driving and speeding caused 103 fatalities.
They fly past you and then cut you off with inches to spare. They might make an offensive gesture when they feel you haven’t been cooperative enough in their rush to get where they’re going.
We all know what an aggressive driver looks like. Or do we? Do the examples below sound familiar?
- You’re 10 minutes late for work and driving a little over the speed limit when the signal light ahead of you turns yellow. You’re not close enough to make it but you feel you can’t afford to wait, so you step on the gas and run through the intersection just as the light turns red.
- You merged to the right when you saw the sign indicating a lane closing ahead. After waiting 10 minutes in line, someone comes driving down the empty left lane and tries to merge in front of you. You step on the gas and close the gap between you and the car in front. You are not going to let that cheater in!
Responding to Aggressive Driving
- Wear your seatbelt. If your encounter with an aggressive driver results in a crash, your seatbelt will significantly reduce your chances of being injured or killed.
- Don’t play their game. Back off and let them go on their way. Remember, it’s not a competition and it’s not your job to teach them a lesson.
- Ignore honking and rude gestures. Don’t respond and don’t make eye contact. It will only escalate the hostile feelings.
- If you can do so safely, contact police with the vehicle description, license number, the location, and direction of travel.
Courteous Driving Tips
- Plan to avoid the worst congestion and allow yourself plenty of time to travel.
- Relax. Take a deep breath, chat with a companion, listen to music. Getting stressed and upset will not get you there any faster and it might shorten your life.
- Don’t drive when you are feeling angry, upset, or tired.
- Driving should not be a race. Leave your competitive instincts at home.
Treat others the way you’d like to be treated. Courteous driving encourages other drivers to be courteous. Aggressive driving influences others to drive aggressively.