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Road Rage vs. Aggressive Driving: Is there a Difference?

Categorized as Auto Accidents

What is Road Rage?

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) defines road rage as “ angry and violent behaviors.” Road rage can be a contributing factor in aggressive driving, which we explain later in this article.

Common Road Rage Behaviors

  • Using profanities and obscene gestures to other drivers
  • Throwing objects
  • Laying on the horn
  • Getting out of the vehicle to confront another driver
  • Purposefully ramming or bumping into another vehicle
  • Purposefully side-swiping another vehicle
  • Deliberately forcing a driver off the road

When road rage leads to assault, assault with a deadly weapon, or harassment, it will be considered a criminal offense.

Tips on Preventing Road Rage

You’ve probably, at some point, been a passenger in a vehicle with someone who has displayed road rage or may have road rage tendencies. Here are some tips on how someone who regularly displays road rage can prevent this behavior while driving:

  • Take your time, and don’t rush. When in a hurry, you can be more inclined to display behaviors of road rage.
  • Stay calm. Whether it’s a traffic jam or a malfunctioning traffic light, keep your cool. Getting angry won’t change the situation.
  • Lay off the horn. Honking loudly and aggressively can only escalate your anger, as well as anger other drivers. Only “tap” on your horn when its use is necessary.
  • Don’t stop to confront another driver. You never know who you are approaching, and you could put yourself in harm’s way.
  • Refrain from using obscene hand gestures. Instead, use positive hand gestures such as waving to other drivers in front of you to signal that you are letting them in.

What Is Aggressive Driving?

According to the NHTSA, aggressive driving is defined as “dangerous on-the-road behaviors.”

Common Aggressive Driving Behaviors

  • Following behind another vehicle too closely
  • Driving at excessive speeds
  • Weaving in and out of traffic
  • Running stop lights and signs
  • Tailgating
  • Changing lanes without signaling
  • Blocking cars attempting to pass
  • Using headlights or brakes to “punish” other drivers

Although aggressive driving isn’t a criminal offense like road rage, it is a traffic violation.

Tips on Preventing Aggressive Driving

Just like we mentioned earlier, under road rage, it’s likely that you’ve been in the presence of someone who has displayed aggressive driving behavior. Here are some ways a person prone to regular aggressive driving can combat this behavior and drive safer when on the road.

  • Maintain a car’s length distance to the driver in front of you.
  • Always use turn signals.
  • Allow other drivers to merge in front of you.
  • Don’t flash your high beams at other drivers.
  • Don’t respond to other aggressive drivers in retaliation for their destructive driving behaviors.
  • Be considerate of other drivers moving slowly. Keep in mind that they could be lost.

Road Rage and Aggressive Driving Statistics

The latest data from The American Automobile Association (AAA) reports the following stats on road rage and aggressive driving in 2016:

  • Male and younger drivers between the ages of 19 and 39 were significantly more likely to engage in aggressive driving behaviors.
  • Male drivers were more than three times as likely as their female counterparts to have gotten out of a vehicle to confront another driver or purposefully ran into another vehicle.
  • Driver’s living in the Northeast were highly likely to yell, honk, or display angry gestures than people living in other parts of the country.
  • Drivers who reported other unsafe drivers were also more likely to show aggression on the road.

Unsafe driving behaviors that are deliberate and intend to cause harm can be considered aggressive driving, and aggressive driving, coupled with road rage, is a surefire way to cause a severe car crash. Staying calm and obeying traffic rules can reduce your risk of being involved in an accident.

Hurt in a Car Accident? We Can Help.

When bad driving behaviors cause a car crash, and you’ve sustained a severe injury, the experience is a frightening one. Not knowing what to do after being hurt in a car crash can make it that much more scary and stressful. At , we are here to help you get through a difficult time after being involved in an accident. Insurance companies are notorious for using tactics in offering the lowest settlements possible. We are on your side and aren’t afraid to combat insurance companies who give pushback on deserved settlements. We work tirelessly to bring you the maximum compensation you deserve. Our experienced attorneys are available to answer all your questions and guide you through the process of filing a car accident claim.

Call Peterson & Associates, P.C. today at 816-888-8888 to speak with an attorney about your potential case. We are offering consultations via phone, email, and video conferencing for your convenience.