You’ve likely heard the saying “patience is a virtue,” and that is never truer than when you are operating a motor vehicle. Especially during rush-hour traffic, drivers may take risks they wouldn’t take if they were not in a “rush” (hence the term), such as failing to safely yield when making a right on red. Other drivers may not be prepared for such aggressive driving, which is why drivers surveyed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration stated that they found impatient and aggressive drivers to be the No. 1 danger they encountered when driving – even greater than drunk drivers.
One of the deadliest types of car accidents is called a “T-bone,” or intersection accident, and impatient and aggressive driving causes many such accidents. The reason these accidents tend to result in serious personal injuries or fatalities is that impatient drivers will accelerate, as opposed to proceeding cautiously as required under Florida law, when they see a light turn yellow. This results in many aggressive drivers proceeding through a red light at a higher rate of speed, and if the opposite light has turned green and a slow-moving vehicle begins to proceed through the intersection, the aggressive driver may crash directly into that vehicle. Because the aggressive driver is generally moving more quickly while the safe driver is moving more slowly, the aggressive driver’s vehicle may do more damage to the slower moving vehicle, causing the slower moving vehicle to absorb more of the impact and even overturn.
Further, not all vehicles are equipped with side airbags, and this may result in serious traumatic brain or limb injuries for drivers and passengers of the impacted vehicle. As a matter of course, driving experts recommend fighting the urge to accelerate immediately after a light turns green and waiting approximately two seconds before moving through the intersection. This is intended to protect you from impatient drivers and will also help ensure you are not held partially liable for the accident.
It is often easy to spot an aggressive and impatient driver when you see him making fast and unsafe lane changes on multilane highways. Florida statutes prohibit drivers from overtaking, passing, or changing lanes unless the driver has determined that his or her vehicle is not being approached or passed and taking such action would not interfere with the safe operation of other vehicles on the road. For example, if you are late to work and impatiently weaving in and out of the left, right, and center lanes on I-4 West and another vehicle has to slow down or change lanes when it is unsafe to do so in order to avoid your vehicle, then you are in violation of Florida law. It can also be argued that weaving between lanes at an aggressive rate is a violation of the law if it results in the fear or distraction of other drivers. Accordingly, even if you do not impact another vehicle as the result of your aggressive driving, you may still be held partially liable for causing an accident.
“Failure to yield” accidents come in a variety of forms, but they all share something in common: impatience. Such accidents include but are not limited to:
Especially in Florida coastal cities with higher rates of foot traffic, driving down pedestrian-heavy roads can be difficult and result in increased aggressive or impatient driving. However, pedestrians crossing the street in a crosswalk have the right of way, and even if you hit a pedestrian when he or she is not crossing the road safely, you, as the operator of a two-ton vehicle, are likely still going to be partially responsible.
Unfortunately, when traffic conditions are heavy, it may be increasingly difficult to yield when merging or making a right on red. This may result in impatient drivers “cutting off” drivers in the right lane with the right of way, and this can often result in rear-end or side-impact accidents that may cause serious neck injuries, such as whiplash.
Aggressive tailgating accidents also occur in heavy traffic conditions, but it is often the case that such traffic may prohibit an aggressive driver from weaving between lanes. This may cause drivers to “ride” the rear of the vehicle in front of them as a means of forcing the vehicle to change lanes. This is prohibited under Florida law, as drivers are required to keep a safe distance between themselves and the drivers in front of them. Failing to do so can result in rear-end collisions, and if you rear end another vehicle as the result of tailgating, often you will be deemed 100 percent liable for the accident and any injuries that occurred to the other driver.
Even when moving at high speeds, tailgating can occur if you wish to travel in a lane that you cannot yet cross into. High-speed tailgating is exceptionally dangerous because if you impact another vehicle in the rear at high speeds, you may cause both your own vehicle and the other vehicle to lose traction and spin out of control. This may cause a chain reaction accident that can result in multiple injuries and even fatalities.
Florida law enforcement officials are taking an assertive stance on aggressive and impatient driving accidents, as they can be avoided. As of last year, Florida fatalities due to aggressive and impatient driving were reported to be on the rise, and law enforcement is on the lookout to help keep the roads safe. We all witness aggressive driving on a daily basis and must take whatever steps we can to avoid an accident.
If you are injured by an impatient driver, do not allow him or her to get away with abusing his or her driving privilege. Contact Dolman Law Group today. We are your premier personal injury attorneys in the greater Tampa Bay area, and we are here to fight for your right to compensation. Contact us online or at (727) 451-6900 for a free, no-risk consultation about your car accident.