Protecting You and Your Passengers from Aggressive Drivers

man getting upset while drivingAggressive Driving is a huge problem in Missouri. In fact, the Missouri Statewide Traffic Accident Records System indicates that aggressive driving was involved in more than 60% of all accidents so far this year.

What Is Aggressive Driving?

Many people may think of aggressive driving as road rage. While that can lead to aggressive driving, there are other ways people can be aggressive drivers, sometimes without even knowing it. Here are some examples of aggressive driving, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration:

  • Passing during congestion or bad road conditions
  • Passing on the shoulder
  • Passing in the right lane
  • Speeding significantly over the speed limit
  • Going too fast for road conditions
  • Disregarding signs or lights
  • Tailgating
  • Weaving in and out of traffic
  • Making unsafe lane changes

Who Drives Aggressively?

Drivers tend to think that aggressive driving is something that other people do. But, the reality is that most drivers probably drive aggressively on occasions. It is very easy to drive aggressively without even realizing that you are doing it.

Take a close look at the list above. If you find yourself doing anything on that list, you are endangering yourself, your passengers and other people. Be mindful of how you are driving and don’t let your mood change how you drive. If you are angry or frustrated, you may want to wait until you calm down before getting behind the wheel.

Don’t drive when you are impaired in any way. If you are too tired or experiencing uncorrected vision issues, don’t drive.

Also, depending on when and where you learned to drive, your following distance may need to be adjusted. In Missouri, the “Three Second Rule” applies. Some drivers may have learned the Two Second Rule, while other drivers may have learned to stay a certain number of car lengths back. Others may have learned the correct rule, but after years of driving may not think about it much anymore. Chapter 8 of the Missouri Driver Guide says:

3 second driving rule

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A good way to measure your safe following distance is to use the “three second rule.” Choose an object near the road ahead, like a sign or telephone pole. As the vehicle ahead of you passes it, count slowly, “One thousand one, one thousand two, one thousand three.” If you reach the object before you finish counting, you are too close to the vehicle ahead.

Most drivers, even drivers who try to drive safely, probably drive too close sometimes just because they don’t realize how far back they really should be. Unfortunately, following too close is dangerous for you, and everyone around you. Practice the three second rule occasionally when you are driving to make sure you are following at a safe distance. Challenge your loved ones to do the same when they drive.

When Others Drive Aggressively

There are also things you can do to help protect yourself and your passengers from aggressive drivers. One of the best things you can do is wear your seatbelt, and make sure your passengers do too. If there is an aggressive driver near you, try to get out of his or her way. Don’t respond to other people’s bad driving by driving poorly yourself – don’t be tempted to keep up with that car who just sped by you, or tailgate the driver who was tailgating you earlier.

Avoid eye contact with an aggressive driver. If another driver is gesturing to you rudely or cursing at you, don’t respond. Responding will only make the angry driver more upset, which can make things more dangerous.

If you have a cell phone in the car and can have a passenger call the police, do it. If you can call safely, you can call yourself. If you aren’t sure if you can call safely while driving, get to a safe place and make the call.

What if the Driver Passes Me, Then Wrecks?

Many people have experienced a situation where you witness a driver speeding and driving erratically, and you expect that they will have an accident soon. Sometimes, you go a few miles down the road and see that the bad driver has had an accident. Often, people may want to help or at least be witnesses for the innocent victims, but often people are afraid to get involved. After all, the person may have been threatening people or acting violent.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, you should stop a safe distance from the crash scene, wait for police to arrive, and then report the driving behavior that you witnessed. Consider the bad driver’s behavior and then use your judgment to determine how far away you need to be to stop safely.

In Conclusion

Aggressive Driving has been a factor in nearly 70% of all auto accidents in Missouri so far this year. To protect yourself and your passengers, remember to constantly be mindful of how you are driving. Make sure you follow at a safe distance and that you aren’t driving aggressively or following too closely. If you are upset, consider taking a walk to calm down before driving. Always make sure you and your passengers are wearing seatbelts.

If you see an aggressive driver, try to get out of his or her way. Do not make eye contact or return rude gestures. If you, or a passenger, can report the aggressive driver to law enforcement safely, please do. If you witness an aggressive driving accident, make sure to stay safe and not confront the aggressive driver.

Again, remember that aggressive driving has contributed to more than 60% of all accidents in Missouri this year. If you find yourself in an accident involving an aggressive driver, please contact us – we are here to help.

Share this article with your friends and family, so they can stay safe as well.

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Ryan R. Cox & Associates, LLC

Ryan R. Cox & Associates, LLC is a litigation law firm that represents individuals and families in serious personal injury and wrongful death claims throughout Missouri. We help people who have been injured in all types of accidents—including car or truck accidents, motorcycle accidents, slip and fall accidents, and much more. Whether your injury is something that can cause long-term issues like a brain injury or spinal cord injury, or it is something you’ll likely make a full recovery from, we are here to help.

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