AAA: Most drivers have driven aggressively

A majority of drivers have expressed aggression at some point, according to a AAA study. Aggressive driving can quickly escalate into a deadly situation.

Many people are impatient these days, due to stress and busy lifestyles. If impatience or anger occurs behind the wheel, the results can be deadly. Many drivers in Missouri and elsewhere have had frightening experiences with upset drivers. Whether these incidents resulted from aggressive driving or full-out road rage, they can be terrifying and dangerous.

A recent study from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety has revealed disturbing statistics. Almost 80 percent of drivers polled admitted they had expressed anger at another person while driving. Out of all fatal crashes across the country, 56 percent of them involve some form of aggression.

Understanding aggressive driving and road rage

Aggressive driving can involve speeding, cutting someone off, tailgating and swerving between lanes. An angry driver may escalate a situation by making eye contact, shouting or using obscene gestures at another driver. According to the American Safety Council, aggressive driving differs from road rage, although both forms of driving are dangerous. Road rage is a criminal offense that involves a driver deliberately using his or her vehicle or a weapon to try to harm another person. Aggressive driving is a traffic offense that may result in unintentional but dangerous consequences that hurt others.

One recent event in St. Peters illustrated how a road rage event can occur quickly and without warning. According to KSDK News, drivers recorded cellphone video of a man at an intersection kicking the car door of the vehicle next to his. The other driver did not respond or exit the vehicle, and the angry driver eventually drove away. The reason for the altercation was unknown. Authorities from the Missouri State Highway Patrol say that the man may be charged for assault and property damage.

Preventing a conflict

Like the driver in the above example, it may help to de-escalate a road rage situation by refusing to engage in the conflict. The following measures may be taken when someone is confronted by an angry driver:

  • Do not exit the vehicle or reciprocate in the violent behavior.
  • Avoid driving home or pulling over in an isolated area.
  • Drive to a police station, a well-lit parking lot or other area where there are numerous people nearby.
  • Use a cellphone to call 911.
  • Remain calm and attempt to drive carefully away from the angry driver, without putting others in danger.

Despite precautions, it is not always possible to escape damage or injury caused by an angry or careless driver. Contacting an experienced St. Louis personal injury attorney may be beneficial.