When it comes to serious car accidents, aggressive driving is a huge contributing factor. The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety reports that aggressive driving is a contributing factor in 56 percent of fatal crashes.

But aggressive drivers are hard to avoid. Chances are, you’ll encounter at least one aggressive driver on the road every day.

How should you react to these drivers and keep yourself safe? Follow our tips to protect yourself from aggressive drivers.

What Is an Aggressive Driver?

First, it’s important to understand what an aggressive driver is. An aggressive driver is someone who deliberately breaks traffic rules. Many aggressive drivers display anger, impatience, or competitiveness on the road.

Aggressive drivers may feel frustrated with the state of traffic and anxious to get to their destinations. Or, they may feel entitled to aggressive driving and seek after the adrenaline rush that comes with it.

Common aggressive driving actions include:

  • Speeding
  • Running a red light
  • Speeding through a yellow light
  • Changing lanes frequently
  • Cutting in front of another driver
  • Tailgating
  • Disregarding right of way
  • Driving on road shoulders
  • Honking
  • Pressuring other drivers to increase speed
  • Turning from the wrong lane
  • Passing on the wrong side or in non-passing zones
  • Ignoring traffic signs
In extreme cases, aggressive drivers might try to race or challenge other drivers. Aggressive driving can also turn to road rage, where an aggressive driver targets another driver.

Unfortunately, aggressive driving is extremely common. The AAA reports that 78 percent of people surveyed said aggressive drivers were a serious problem. However, many of these same people admitted to driving aggressively themselves. For example, half of those surveyed admitted to driving over the speed limit in the last month.

What Should You Do Around an Aggressive Driver?

It’s important to know how to react around an aggressive driver. Reacting appropriately can help protect you from car accidents.

  • Stay out of the way. The best way to avoid a collision with the aggressive driver is to let him or her pass. If you see the driver coming up quickly behind you, switch on your turn signal and exit the lane.
  • Leave plenty of room. Leave about three seconds of space between your car and the car in front of you. If the aggressive driver decides to cut in front of you, he or she can do so without invading your car’s space.
  • Stay safe. Make sure you seat belt is buckled and your car doors are locked.
  • Let it go. If an aggressive driver cuts in front of you to take a parking space, let it go and let him or her take the space. Don’t take the action personally and try to fight with the aggressive driver.
  • Stay calm. Try to calm yourself down by listening to classical music and breathing slowly. Hold the steering wheel lightly—gripping it tightly won’t relieve your stress.
  • Pull over and call the police. If you feel that the aggressive driver is likely to harm others, pull over to the side of the road. Call your state’s aggressive-driving hotline if there is one. If not, call 911.
Following these tips should help you steer clear of problems.

What Should You Not Do Around an Aggressive Driver?

Reacting angrily to the aggressive driver won’t help you and may actually escalate the situation. Thus, you should not:

  • Honk, yell, or make hand gestures at the aggressive driver
  • Make eye contact with the aggressive driver
  • Respond with aggressive driving, such as cutting off or blocking the aggressive driver
If you decide to match the aggressive driver with your own aggressive driving, you’re now breaking the law as well and endangering other drivers. You could be pulled over by police and ticketed or arrested.

Plus, aggressive reactions could increase your risk of getting in an accident. If you get in an accident while driving aggressively, you might be held responsible for the accident.

What Should You Do If You Get in an Accident with an Aggressive Driver?

Even if you follow all the rules of the road, you can still get in an accident with an aggressive driver. If an accident occurs, pull over to the side of the road and call 911 right away. Don’t yell or blame the aggressive driver for the accident—it’s law enforcement’s job to determine the cause of the accident.

Unfortunately, a car accident caused by an aggressive driver can leave you with physical and psychological damage. You can seek legal action to obtain compensation that covers your medical bills and lost time from work. Seeking legal action also punishes the aggressive driver and discourages him or her from driving aggressively in the future.

You must pursue your auto accident case within three years of the accident. Call D Chadwick Calvert Law Office today for legal assistance. We don’t charge you any legal fees until we win your case.