Aggressive driving has become an all-too-common and dangerous problem on California highways. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has named aggressive driving as a factor in a significant number of fatal automobile collisions.
The NHTSA definition of aggressive driving is operation of a motor vehicle that puts people or property in danger (or is likely to). Aggressive driving includes speeding, excessive and/or improper lane changing – including not signaling or not ensuring that the lane change can be safely performed, and improper passing, such as on the shoulder or passing on the right.
Aggressive driving differs from road rage. NHTSA defines road rage as a significant elevation of aggressive driving to an “assault”, either with the motor vehicle itself or some other dangerous weapon by a driver or passenger, or an assault that is sparked by a driving incident. Beyond being potentially citeable as “aggressive driving”, road rage is a criminal offense.
Aggressive driving can occur when a driver acts selfishly, interpreting their being in a hurry as more important than other vehicle’s right to exist safely on the roadways. If you notice an aggressive driver, it is best not to act in kind. Just move out of the way, if possible. Do not engage him or her in gesturing or similar aggressive behavior. If you have a bad habit of changing lanes too closely to others, i.e. “cutting them off”, work on breaking that, as it can set off an aggressive driver. Drive defensively, but courteously.
If you or someone you know has been injured in an accident with an aggressive driver, call me at (916) 921-6400. If you are outside the Sacramento area, you can call us at (800) 404-5400 for free, friendly advice.