Dealing with the stress and annoyance of being stuck in traffic or navigating another motorist’s mistake is something that virtually every driver in Austin, TX has dealt with. Unfortunately, some people let their frustration get the best of them—driving aggressively, or even dangerously. The last thing you want is for you or your loved one to be injured by a reckless driver in Austin.
Aggressive driving puts everyone at risk. In fact, aggressive driving is one of the leading causes of serious crashes in the United States. Here, our Austin car accident attorneys provide an overview of aggressive driving, as well as tips that you can use to keep yourself and your family safe on the road.
What Is Aggressive Driving?
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), aggressive driving is “any combination of traffic offenses or general behaviors that endanger persons or property.”
Examples of Aggressive Driving
In practice, aggressive driving can come in a wide range of different forms. Some of the most common examples of aggressive driving include:
- Tailgating or following too closely;
- Yelling at other drivers;
- Angry, unnecessary honking at other drivers;
- Making rude or threatening gestures at other drivers;
- Cutting off other vehicles;
- Excessive speeding; and
- Weaving in and out of lanes;
Left unchecked, aggressive driving can quickly escalate into full-blown road rage—which is extremely dangerous. In the very worst cases of road rage, drivers may stalk other parties, follow other cars home in order to physically confront a person, or even intentionally strike other vehicles.
What is the Root of Aggressive Driving?
Regardless of the reason, aggressive driving is a selfish act, choosing to drive recklessly without considering the consequences. Though there is always a chance that the person driving aggressively might be in an urgent situation (think, rushing to the hospital), the likelihood that this is the case a majority of the time is small.
More likely, aggressive drivers are operating from a place of anger, stress, or pure recklessness. The issue is that this is incredibly dangerous. Not only do you need to make sure that you yourself are not driving aggressively (running late is not an excuse), but you also need to keep an eye out for other aggressive drivers on the road.
What To Do When Forced to Share the Road with a Reckless Driver
It is best to think of aggressive driving as something that can happen to almost anyone. Every driver in Texas should monitor their own behavior behind the wheel. Not only is aggressive driving dangerous in the sense that it makes a crash far more likely, but it is also associated with a wide range of adverse health outcomes, including anxiety, stress, high blood pressure, and heart problems.
If you find yourself on the road with an aggressive driver, remember the following tips. They could save your life and the lives of your passengers.
Stay Alert and Be a Defensive Driver
Defensive driving is the answer. As defined by the National Safety Council (NSC), defensive driving is the practice of a set of strategies designed to predict road hazards and minimize the risk of an accident. Here are three tips to help you avoid aggressive driving accidents in Austin:
- Be sure to proactively watch out for aggressive drivers on the road. When you do see an aggressive driver, avoid them—give them more than enough space.
- Notice the early warning signs of aggressive driving in yourself. When you feel yourself getting frustrated, slow down, and try to relax. If necessary, pull over and take a breath.
- Plan your route, check traffic conditions, and give yourself more than enough time. Aggressive driving is far more common in people who feel “late” or “rushed”.
Avoid Escalating the Situation
If someone cuts you off, don’t tailgate them and flash your lights. That will only antagonize someone. It is also a good way for you to get so angry that you begin to experience road rage.
Remember to mind your own lane. If someone starts making obscene gestures, just ignore them and let them get away. Aggressive drivers are usually in a hurry to get somewhere, anyway, and within seconds they will be out sight and out of mind.
Allow Aggressive Drivers to Pass
If someone has been tailgating you for minutes, you should allow them to pass at the first available opportunity. If you see a stretch of open highway, don’t suddenly hit the accelerator to toy with the driver. Just slow down and make sure the driver has enough room to get by you.
One way to do this is to honor the rule that the left lane is for passing. Unless you yourself are passing another car, stay in the right lane so that faster drivers can get past you without incident.
If you find yourself getting angry, just tell yourself that the person probably didn’t intend to cut you off or almost hit you. Some drivers are distracted, which is also dangerous, and others are simply inexperienced. As AAA reminds us, some aggressive drivers are normally very careful but might be having a bad day. One source of road rage is taking every slight personally when, in reality, few drivers are trying to harm you.
If you must, pull over to the side of the road to create as much distance between you and a reckless driver to ensure your safety.
Report Reckless Driving in Texas
If an aggressive driver is scaring you on the road, you can try to get to where there are other people—preferably the police station or, if you don’t know where that is, then a gas station or shopping mall. There is safety in numbers. Once you are parked, you can call 9-1-1 and report the dangerous driver.
If a reckless driver has put you in a situation that has compromised your safety, it’s likely that they’re doing to the same to others.
Stay in Your Vehicle If Involved in an Accident
Some aggressive drivers might get into a collision, which is usually their fault. You can pull over to the side of the road, but we advise staying inside the vehicle until the police officer arrives. This provides you with protection. Whatever you do, avoid getting out of the vehicle.
Holding Aggressive Drivers Accountable in Austin, Texas
Aggressive driving can cause a number of dangerous car accidents. When drivers ignore the speed limit or general rules of the road, the chance that they might injure themselves or others increases greatly.
Some accidents caused by aggressive driving include:
DC Law is committed to obtaining fair and just compensation for motorists injured by aggressive drivers. We have built our reputation by providing passionate legal guidance in our clients’ time of need, and we are eager to help you as well. To speak with one of our attorneys, or to schedule a free consultation, please call us today.