Rush hour is stressful enough without aggressive drivers making it worse. Unfortunately, there’s always at least one driver on the road who demonstrates a reckless disregard for you and your fellow motorists. Millions of drivers take to the nation’s highways and byways every day to travel to-and-from work. Aggressive drivers can their lives upside down in an instant.
Understanding how to recognize aggressive driving and what to do—and not do—after a crash with one is important information for every commuter in Florida and throughout the United States. If a crash leaves you with a serious injury or mourning a loved one’s death, contact our Florida car accident lawyers as soon as possible.
Aggressive Driving Defined
The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration defines aggressive driving as: “When individuals commit a combination of moving traffic offenses so as to endanger other persons or property.” Aggressive driving includes road rage, which is driving motivated by anger and triggered by a specific event. Florida law defines committing two or more of the following acts simultaneously or in succession as “aggressive careless driving.”
Watch out for the following signs of aggressive driving during your next rush hour commute:
- Speeding – Aggressive drivers who speed do so constantly, ignoring any posted speed limits. These types of drivers are always racing the clock and trying to push other drivers out of the passing lane.
- Weaving – Continuously changing lanes to get just one more car ahead is a sign of aggressive driving. Drivers who weave in-and-out of traffic stop at nothing to get ahead, even if it means passing on the left.
- Never yielding the right-of-way – Aggressive drivers will step on it to turn in front of other drivers. It’s a “me first” world for them and it places others at great risk for serious injury and even death.
- Failing to signal – Arriving at the destination is an aggressive driver’s only priority. They often fail to use their signal lights because their lane changes are last minute, leaving no time to signal.
- Tailgating – Tailgating is another way aggressive drivers intimidate other drivers. Aggressive drivers often drive up behind another car, flash their lights, and honk their horn. In effect, tailgating is a form of bullying. It is also one of the surest ways to trigger a crash.
- The horn – Most drivers rarely use a car horn. Aggressive drivers, in contrast, misuse their horn by sounding it in anger in response to another driver or merely to express their own stress or rage.
- Lane blocking – Deliberately blocking a lane change or a merge is another sign of aggressive driving. Ironically, it is also a type of behavior that causes aggressive drivers to act rageful when other drivers do it.
Why Rush Hour Is Prime Time for Aggressive Driving
Traffic congestion during rush hour takes away your control over how fast you get to work or arrive home. There’s nothing you can do about stopped traffic. If sitting in traffic is part of your daily commute experience, you’re not alone. The Texas A&M Transportation Institute reports that the average American commuter spends 42 hours per year stuck in rush hour traffic.
As common as traffic congestion is, it’s not always consistent. Your commute to work might go smoothly while your return commute home is full of unexpected delays. This unpredictability adds to a driver’s irritability. Driver anger, according to a recent government study, relates to driver aggression.
Driver anger gives drivers a false sense of control and leads to them taking greater risks. Anger impairs certain cognitive behaviors such as reasoning, decision making, and judgment. Anger increases driver errors, risky driving, and aggressive driving.
Rush hour stress also serves to compound the stresses drivers are apt to feel when they arrive at their destination, be it work or home. Drivers feel anxiety about arriving late for work or about missing a child’s school event at home.
What to Do When An Aggressive Driver Collides With You
A car accident is a sudden and traumatic experience. For commuters, an accident is additionally stressful during rush hour, which is an inherently stressful part of the day. Heavy traffic congestion can delay the response of emergency vehicles and law enforcement.
The following tips are helpful for ensuring your safety following a crash with an aggressive driver at rush hour:
- If possible, pull your vehicle off the road and call 911. On the 911 call, tell the dispatcher that the accident involved an aggressive driver, so that first responders know what to expect when they arrive at the scene.
- Check yourself and your passengers for injuries. If there are other vehicles involved in the accident, ask other drivers to check on the occupants.
- Do not exit your vehicle unless the vehicle is on fire or unsafe. An aggressive driver is often an angry one. Avoid any interaction with an angry driver and wait for law enforcement to arrive.
Once it is safe to exit your vehicle—and if you are uninjured—document your surroundings. Try your best to remain calm and cooperative, and to gather as much information as possible. This includes:
- Providing a statement to police.
- Getting a copy of the police report and the officers’ names, badge numbers, and contact information.
- Asking witnesses for their contact information and ask responding officers to collect the other driver’s insurance and contact information. There is a possibility that the aggressive driver who hit you is, in fact, an uninsured motorist.
- Documenting the accident scene with pictures and/or video. Smartphones are an incredibly important tool for collecting information that may help with future litigation. As a commuter, it is vitally important that you remember to charge your smartphone. You don’t want to miss the opportunity to take important pictures due to a low battery.
If you or a loved one experience serious injury in a rush hour accident with an aggressive driver, your next step should be to contact a Florida personal injury lawyer. Depending on the circumstances of your case, you may be entitled to compensation for lost wages, medical expenses, and pain and suffering.
What Not to Do When An Aggressive Driver Collides With You
For most people, care and concern for others is their first thought after a crash. Do call 911 immediately after the collision. Do not, however, do the following:
- Don’t approach the aggressive driver. The crash resulted from their reckless behavior and aggressive driving and they are most likely still angry. Ask witnesses to approach the driver to check on them until rescue arrives on scene.
- Don’t escalate the situation by yelling at the driver from your vehicle. Emotions run high after an accident and it is important to keep them in check to prevent the situation from becoming worse.
- Don’t leave the scene. Stay in your vehicle and keep your doors locked. Rescue and law enforcement will arrive as quickly as possible. If necessary, ask to remain on the line with the 911 dispatcher until help arrives.
- Don’t speak with representatives from the other driver’s insurance company. These representatives will offer you a low dollar amount in an effort to settle the case quickly.
- Don’t delay in contacting Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA. The sooner we can review your case, the sooner we can help you determine the best course of action.
No one should suffer financially, physically, or emotionally because of the negligent behavior of an aggressive driver. The sooner accident victims speak with an attorney, the better their chances of recovering the compensation they deserve for their injuries and losses.
How Common Is Aggressive Driving?
Every time we get behind the wheel, the chance of encountering an aggressive driver is a real possibility. A recent study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety discovered that 80 percent of drivers expressed anger and/or aggression at least once during the previous year. Additional research by the foundation discovered:
- 104 million drivers purposely tailgate
- 95 million drivers yell at another driver
- 91 million drivers use the horn to demonstrate annoyance or anger
- 67 million drivers make angry gestures
- 49 million drivers try to block another driver from changing lanes
- 24 million drivers cut off another vehicle on purpose
A 2017 Gallup Poll showed that stress affects eight in 10 Americans. Children and work were found as the two largest stress factors in people’s lives. A total of 79 percent responded that they feel stressed sometimes or frequently throughout their day.
Another cited factor as causing stress in people’s lives is the feeling of not having enough time to do things they want to do. The added pressure of finding time results in doing everything faster, including driving, which can lead to careless or reckless accidents.
Aggressive Driving Causes Serious Injuries
When an aggressive driver suddenly changes lanes or chooses to ignore posted speed limits, the driver’s actions put your life at risk. It is difficult to avoid an accident when aggressive drivers act unpredictably. Even if you practice defensive driving techniques, you may still suffer a serious injury because of a crash caused by an aggressive driver. Such injuries may include:
- Traumatic brain injury (TBI)
- Spinal cord injury
- Broken bones
- Back and neck injuries
- Torn ligaments
Any of the traumatic injuries above could require a lengthy hospital stay, multiple surgeries, and the need for rehabilitative services. There is often no immediate recovery from a serious car crash. Taking time to heal can be the most important step toward regaining your health.
A long hospital stay can cost a lot of money, even if you have insurance. No one should pay out-of-pocket for medical expenses caused by the actions of a negligent driver, but without adequate legal representation, they may not have a choice.
When a rush hour accident with an aggressive driver leaves you contending with hospitalization, medication, and rehabilitation, place your legal strategy in the hands of an experienced car accident injury attorney. At Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA, we take pride in helping our clients in their recovery by relieving them of the stress of worrying about legal issues like insurance claims and the statute of limitations.
Aggressive Driving Is Deadly
A stressful day combined with a road rage incident can turn lethal for unsuspecting commuters. Consider the following statistics:
- More than 50 percent of deadly collisions are caused by aggressive driving
- Collisions are the leading cause of death for people ages 3 to 33 years old
- Aggressive driving is a deadly contributor to the 5 million yearly car accidents
At Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA, we believe no family should suffer financially due to the reckless behavior of another driver. Depending upon the circumstances of your case, you may be entitled to wrongful death compensation.
The loss of income from your family member can have a tremendous impact on your family’s future. If your loved one was killed due to the negligent actions of an aggressive driver during rush hour, contact us without delay.
Call Our Trusted Car Accident Injury Lawyers
The legal team of Sibley Dolman Personal Injury Lawyers, LLP, takes cases involving aggressive driving very seriously. We take great pride in providing our clients with personal attention. We keep our clients informed of the status of their cases and we fight to recover the largest and fairest compensation the law allows.
Everyone experiences some level of stress throughout the day. Losing control of that stress in an angry and aggressive way while operating a vehicle, however, is inexcusable. No one should suffer from the negligent behavior of another driver during rush hour.
Schedule your free consultation for our main office in North Miami or at one of our other four locations: Aventura, Doral, Boca Raton, and Fort Lauderdale. You’ll find our approach caring and respectful to your situation. Don’t hesitate to fight for the justice you and your family deserve. If you’ve suffered serious injuries or have lost a loved one due to a negligent and reckless driver, call (833) 552-7274 (833-55-CRASH) or contact us online to schedule a free consultation with one of our experienced car accident injury lawyers.
Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA
1820 NE 163rd St 306
North Miami Beach, FL, 33162