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What Are the Top Factors that Contribute to Aggressive Driving?

Posted on in Car Accident

Schaumburg auto accident attorney aggressive driving

The issue of aggressive driving on our highways is certainly not a new issue, but as our nation experiences the changes brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, aggressive driving of all kinds, especially speeding, has been reportedly on the rise from coast to coast. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that speeding alone – a major hallmark of aggressive behavior – caused over 9,000 car accident fatalities in 2018, and it continues to be one of the most dangerous behaviors people engage in while behind the wheel. 

Other aggressive driving behaviors, such as tailgating, weaving through traffic, and running red lights or stop signs, are also dangerous, and they can pose a great risk for motorists and pedestrians alike. Even something as simple as failing to yield the right of way is considered an aggressive driving act, and it is often a significant hazard on the highway. While you may not be able to completely avoid reckless drivers when you are out on the road, you can practice certain defensive techniques to reduce the likelihood of a dangerous encounter.

What Fuels Road Rage?

Everything from the complexity of human behavior to current events can cause angry driving, but the following factors have been found to be some of the top reasons for road rage and reckless driving:

  • Anonymity – The NHTSA reports that people tend to feel less constrained in their behavior while driving, as they get the sense that they are more of an observer on the highway and less of a participant. This causes them to take greater risks and push their limits. Because they are shielded inside their vehicle, some motorists feel like they are invincible. The idea that they will likely never see any of the drivers they interact with ever again further encourages the mindset that their actions behind the wheel do not matter as much. 

  • Congested roadways – From traffic delays to simply more people on the roads in general, studies show that traffic congestion is one of the leading contributing factors to drivers becoming aggressive behind the wheel. Studies also show that in addition to more motorists on the streets, people are driving more miles today than in the past. Combined, these factors lead to increased instances of road rage. The NHTSA has found that some instances of aggressive behavior are due to drivers stretching themselves too thin with their schedules and running late when they get in the car, while others are due to people feeling tired and on edge after driving long distances or being stuck in stop-and-go traffic for longer periods of time.

  • Lack of concern for others – Over the years, various research has shown that there has been a general decline in respect for authority and the law, as portrayed in different facets of our society and culture, particularly the media. Rude, reckless attitudes with little regard for others and for the law are more evident today, as studies shared by the NHTSA indicate, which is yet another major contributing factor to driver aggression. Drivers who are less invested in the well-being of those with whom they share the roadway are also less invested in the consequences of their actions.

Tips for Protecting Yourself

When you spot a risky driver on the highway, keep the following in mind to protect yourself from accidents and injuries:

  • Remain alert – It is important to be aware of the road around you throughout the entirety of your journey. Staying observant is the key to being able to drive defensively, as aggressive drivers are unpredictable and can quickly re-enter your space after they have disappeared from your line of sight.

  • Steer clear – Whether an angry driver is tailgating you, weaving in and out of your lane, or racing to get ahead of you, avoiding them is the best thing you can do to protect yourself. Slow down and pull over if necessary, and be sure to get out of a driver’s way if he or she is harassing you in any way.

  • Go with your gut – Trust your instincts. If you feel that an angry driver is intentionally intimidating, threatening, or harassing you, do not hesitate to call the authorities.

Contact an Arlington Heights Personal Injury Attorney

If you have been the victim of a car accident due to someone else’s aggressive driving behavior, speak with a Palatine car accident lawyer right away to arm yourself with the knowledge you need to protect your best interests. The competent, seasoned team at Newland & Newland LLP is equipped and ready to help you pursue the compensation you deserve for injuries caused by an aggressive or negligent driver. Call us today at 847-797-8000 and schedule your personal consultation.





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