Car accidents are an unfortunate reality on the roads, with a variety of factors contributing to vehicle crashes. One significant and often overlooked cause of car crashes is aggressive driving behaviors. Driving aggressively or recklessly vastly increases the likelihood that a collision may occur. But even worse than that, this type of behavior also tends to result in more severe accidents and injuries.
Types of Aggressive Driving Behaviors
Aggressive driving refers to various moving traffic offenses that endanger other persons or property. The National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA) defines it as “the operation of a motor vehicle in a manner that endangers or is likely to endanger persons or property”. This type of driving is characterized by risky behaviors that ignore the safety of others on the road.
Some common examples of aggressive driving behaviors include:
- Running stop signs or red lights.
- Failure to yield to other drivers when they have the right-of-way.
- Weaving in and out of traffic via excessive lane changes.
- Honking at other vehicles in non-emergency situations.
- Displays of anger to other vehicles.
- Switching lanes quickly or very closely behind another car.
- Making rude gestures.
- Driving 15 mph or more over the speed limit on a freeway.
- Passing in front of a vehicle at less than a car’s length.
- Speeding up when another vehicle tries to pass.
Aggressive driving is typically motivated by impatience, annoyance, hostility, or an attempt to save time. For example, someone who is running late for an important appointment might be more inclined to take unnecessary chances while driving in order to get back on schedule. But this is a shortsighted approach.
While they may legitimately have something important to get to quickly, it is much safer to pull over, contact the people they are seeing, and let them know that they will be a few minutes late. In most non-emergency situations, being a little bit late is not going to be a big deal.
The Impact of Aggressive Driving on Car Accident Severity
Aggressive driving significantly contributes to the severity of car accidents, as the risky behaviors involved often lead to dangerous situations on the road. A study analyzing the effect of aggressive driving behavior on driver injury severity at highway-rail grade crossings in the US found that such behavior could have a considerable impact on the outcomes of accidents.
Aggressive driving is also likely to be perceived as negligence if this behavior results in a crash. However, you still must prove a connection between the motorist’s driving and the accident.
There are four main elements of negligence that must be established in an auto accident case. They are:
- The defendant’s duty. The defendant has a duty to exercise reasonable care while operating their vehicle to prevent harm to others on the road. In relation to aggressive driving, this duty entails avoiding behaviors that endanger other drivers, such as speeding, tailgating, or cutting off other vehicles.
- Breach of that duty. A breach of duty occurs when the defendant fails to uphold their duty of care, acting in a manner that a reasonable person would not under similar circumstances. In an aggressive driving case, a breach of duty could be demonstrated by the defendant engaging in aggressive (bordering on reckless) behaviors, such as any of those mentioned previously.
- Actual and proximate causation. To establish causation, it must be proven that the defendant’s breach of duty directly caused the plaintiff’s injuries and that those injuries were a foreseeable result of the defendant’s actions. In an aggressive driving case, causation could be shown by proving that the defendant’s unsafe driving led to a collision, resulting in the plaintiff’s injuries.
- Compensable losses/damages. The plaintiff must demonstrate that they suffered actual harm or damage as a result of the defendant’s negligence. In an aggressive driving case, damages could include medical expenses, lost wages, lost earning capacity (when injuries are permanent and debilitating), pain and suffering, emotional distress, and property damage caused by the collision.
Preventing Aggressive Driving-Related Accidents
Given the potential consequences of aggressive driving, it is crucial for drivers to recognize the dangers of such behavior and take proactive steps to avoid being involved in an accident as a result:
- Manage Anger and Stress: Aggressive driving can be triggered by anger or stress. Practice relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing, and maintain a calm and focused mindset while driving.
- Be Patient and Courteous: Avoid tailgating, excessive speeding, and unsafe passing, as these behaviors can escalate into aggressive driving. Give other drivers plenty of space and respect their right-of-way.
- Obey Traffic Signals and Signs: Running stop signs, red lights, or disregarding traffic signals can lead to accidents caused by these actions. Always follow traffic rules and regulations.
- Avoid Engaging with Aggressive Drivers: If you encounter an aggressive driver, do not engage or retaliate. Instead, maintain a safe distance and avoid making eye contact or responding to any rude gestures.
Injured in an Aggressive Driving Accident in Alabama? Contact M Adam Jones and Associates for Assistance
If you or a loved one has been injured in an aggressive driving-related accident in Alabama, it is important to speak with an attorney as soon as possible about your case. At M Adam Jones and Associates, we understand that getting injured in an auto crash can turn your life upside down, and we are here to provide strong legal guidance and moral support during this difficult time.
Once you retain our services, our legal team will thoroughly investigate your case, gather evidence, and build a strong claim on your behalf. And we take all personal injury cases on a contingency fee basis, meaning that you never have to pay upfront attorney fees to receive the experienced representation you need and deserve.
Take the first step today by contacting our office for a free consultation and case assessment. We look forward to serving you!
- Adam Jones,
- Adam Jones & Associates, LLC
206 N. Lena St.
Dothan, AL 36303