There probably isn’t a car or truck driver out there who hasn’t at one time or another experienced the effects of aggressive driving. Whether you travel Maryland’s highways for a living or commute to school or work in Annapolis, Columbia, Washington, D.C., or anywhere else for that matter, auto accident statistics point to aggressive and otherwise dangerous drivers as one of the most frequent causes of traffic accidents.
In fact, the American Automobile Association (AAA) stated last year that more than 55 percent of all fatal car, truck, SUV and minivan wrecks in the Maryland area (as well as across the nation) were caused by some kind of aggressive driving. These accidents more than likely resulted in numerous personal injuries and related claims.
As experts in the area of automobile accident and injury law, I and my colleagues have personally dealt with individuals caught up in the unfortunate aftermath caused by aggressive drivers, such as traumatic brain injuries and even death.
Drive anywhere in Maryland and you will likely see the actions of a small but dangerous minority of drivers operating their vehicles in what can only be described as belligerent and aggressive behavior. For the majority of careful and thoughtful motorists, these scofflaws can cause us more than a few headaches, literally.
According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, which has conducted numerous analyses of National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) statistical data, found in 2009 that one in every three fatal automobile accidents can be directly linked to excessive speed; one of the hallmark characteristics of an aggressive driver.
Sadly, society being as fast-paced as it is only contributes to the problem. While AAA produced a survey in 2009 that found eight out of 10 people polled said that aggressive driving is a serious traffic safety concern, the organization also learned that at least half of those surveyed said they exceeded the posted highway speed limit by 15 mph over the last 30 days.
While it is obvious that even the driving public at large needs some introspection on the subject, there are things most of us can do to help make our streets and highways safer. First is to identify aggressive driving and stay clear of that individual.
Some of the behaviors that accompany aggressive driving behavior include, ignoring red traffic signals and stop signs, blocking or otherwise preventing other drivers from legally passing, driving illegally on the shoulder of a roadway, failure to yield right of way, and speeding.
But be careful. Those well-intentioned motorists who have tried to counter the actions of aggressive drivers — such as getting in front of the offender and slowing down — can sometimes cause an escalation in that person’s anger level, which can lead to a dangerous confrontation. All in all, it’s better to simply report instances of blatantly aggressive driving to the local law enforcement agency and keep yourself and your family out of harm’s way.