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Aggressive driving and car accidents: What you should know

As a California motorist, you know firsthand the aggravation of navigating the busy roadways during rush hour. Whether you are stuck behind a slow driver or are rushing through traffic to get to an important meeting, you may have felt agitated, angry or even enraged.

AAA reported that at least 80% of American motorists have felt angry or enraged at least once within the past year. It is when this aggravation and agitation turns to hazardous road rage that peoples’ lives are at risk.

What is road rage?

According to the Insurance Information Institute, road rage can present itself in several ways. People with road rage may display hazardous driving behaviors, hit into other cars or even get out of their cars and approach another driver to initiate an altercation.

It is critical to identify the signs of road rage so you may be able to avoid a potential accident. These hazardous driving behaviors include the following:

  • Failing to yield to pedestrians, traffic lights and other drivers’ right of way
  • Speeding or racing
  • Tailgating or following too closely behind another vehicle
  • Cutting off other drivers and swerving through lanes
  • Blocking drivers from changing lanes
  • Excessive honking, yelling or using obscene hand gestures

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that some aggressive driving behaviors, such as speeding, are major contributors to fatal accidents. Over 20 years, at least one-third of all deadly car accidents involved speeding.

What to do with the problem?

If an angry driver is following too closely, cut off your vehicle or is yelling at your car, you may feel like reacting. However, law enforcement officers suggest avoiding interacting with angry drivers at all costs. Never make eye contact with an angry driver. Instead, contact law enforcement and alert them to the issue.